Graduate schools offer advanced academic degrees in specific areas of study. Professional schools include law school, business school, medical school or any of the medical arts schools, such as pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.
Graduate schools encompass a wide variety of disciplines. Each one has a different set of criteria for admissions, but most require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or another standardized test. The GRE takes about 2.5 hours to complete, and is offered frequently thoughout the year. Scores are based on verbal, mathematics and analytical writing skills. Visit www.gre.org for more information.
For a master's degree, plan to spend about two more years in school, and to write a thesis to graduate. Many employers consider a master's degree to be a positive attribute when hiring and promoting.
For a doctoral degree, plan on at least five more years of school beyond your bachelor's degree. At the end of your studies, you will work on your dissertation, while spending time teaching and/or researching. Many people who attain a PhD. plan to teach in a university setting or do additional research in their field.
To prepare for a career in the medical profession, you may have any major in college, but know that there are certain required classes to take. Many factors are taken into consideration in the medical school selection process.
The MCAT is the test used to determine readiness to get into medical school. Students should take the test their junior year or a year prior to entrance into medical school. Do not underestimate this exam and allow adequate time for preparation. For more information, visit www.aamc.org/students/mcat.
Applying to medical schools should begin in your junior year or a year prior to entrance. You should have your applications in by the summer before your senior year. After applying, begin preparing for interviews.
Other medical arts you may consider are allied health, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, optometry and physicians associates. These each have different admission requirements, so check with your academic counselor for more information.
For the class that entered fall 2010, 75.6% of those who submitted applications to medical school and completed a Premedical Committee Interview were accepted somewhere in the US. The national average typically is about 45% accepted. The University of Oklahoma is the 6th largest producer of premed students in the United States.
Deciding whether to attend law school and pursue a legal career is a big step and should be considered carefully. Law school is expensive, requires hard work and dedication, and is a three-year time commitment.
Students trying to make this decision can explore the legal field in several ways:
- Talk to the Pre-law advisor, law students, and practicing attorneys
- Pursue a law-related internship
- Join the Pre-law Club, which has monthly meetings about the law school admission process and also hosts practicing attorneys who speak about the different fields of law.
For more information on the law school admission process and the LSAT, the standard admission test, visit www.lsac.org.