Application tips

Apply to graduate school: 

Tips for acceptance and survival in graduate or medical school 

Find out what you need to know to be an undeniable graduate school applicant. Explore the ASU Graduate School Seminar (EGSS) Series or call 480-727-7627. Seminars include but are not limited to:

  • Getting into graduate school
  • Financing graduate school
  • Preparing for the GRE, LSAT, MCAT and more

Finding a graduate program

Prepare your statement of research interest with care.

  • This statement is used to identify students who exhibit critical thinking skills and a mature sense of the type of research they want to pursue in graduate school.
  • The statement does not tie you to a specific research project, but is used for assessment. 
  • Make sure to include faculty you would like to work with.
  • Include specific projects that interest you and reference journal articles published by the faculty you would like to work with. 
  • Don't begin your statement with, "Ever since I was a child..."

Faculty mentors and your research

  • Think about which faculty mentors you might like to work with
  • Use references from their journal articles in your statement of research interest (see below for more information on this).
  • Identify these faculty on your statement of research interest
  • When faculty is noted, those individuals will be asked to review your application. 


  • Email the faculty you would like to work with ahead of time
    • Ask them about projects that are currently in progress in their lab
    • Tell them about your interests and your reasons for wanting to work with them.
    • Ask if they are accepting additional students for the coming year. 
  • Making a connection with a faculty member helps to better determine if ASU and the person you wish to work with will be a good fit. 


  • The most competitive applicants are invited to attend one of two recruitment weekends in February.
    • This gives students an opportunity to see the campus and the School of Life Sciences, meet current graduate students, meet faculty, and make sure ASU will be a good fit for them. 
  • We encourage students to spend as much time as possible with potential faculty mentors to get to know them.

Comparing opportunities and tough questions

  •  Ask your potential mentors and our current graduate students tough questions about what will be expected and provided during your time in a program. Potential topics to cover are:
    • Graduate stipends
    • Ask current graduate students about quality-of-life issues
    • Try to gain an understanding of the student culture 
    • Investigate student support systems

How to be a good graduate student