Just as admission requirements vary by program and institution, so do application processes and deadlines. Consult admissions staff from the institutions and programs to which you are applying for specific questions.

Common Elements
of the Application


Admissions Tests

To determine which admission tests (if any) you must take, consult the specific institution and programs to which you are applying. The most up-to-date information about the format and registration process are available on-line. The most common tests are:

Computer-based Testing - With the exception of the LSAT and the GRE Subject tests, which are still administered on the UNL campus in paper and pencil format, all of the above tests are administered by computer. While you may take the tests at any established center, in Lincoln:

Prometric Testing Center
5715 S. 34th St. #300
Pearson Professional Center
300 N. 44th St. #104

Academic Resumes

Academic Resume SampleAn effective resume for graduate or professional school differs from one used for a job or internship. Academic resumes highlight your academic achievements, campus involvement, leadership and relevant experience. They are also useful for scholarships, fellowships, research programs, honor societies and academic awards.

Academic Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The primary differences between a resume, even an academic resume, and a curriculum vitae (CV) are the length, content and intended use. A resume is a one or two page summary of your skills, experience and education. A CV tends to be longer, more detailed and most often used when applying for academic, scientific and research career positions. An academic resume may go beyond a single page, but should be clear, concise and perfect in grammar and spelling in a format that is easy to read.

Possible Headings

Organize your academic experience to highlight your strengths in the classroom as well as any involvement in or contribution to the campus community or a larger community. Possible headings for an academic resume include:

  • Education
  • Academic Honors
  • Awards and Scholarships
  • Study Abroad Experience
  • Honors Thesis
  • Research Experience
  • Language Skills
  • Internships
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Campus Activities
  • Leadership
  • Work Experience

Personal Statements and Essays

Most programs will require an essay, personal statement or answers to specific questions as part of the application. The purpose is to evaluate your written communication skills, motivation and commitment for entering a particular field as well as your ability to succeed academically and professionally. When developing your essay or personal statement:

  • Adhere to length, organization and content instructions.
  • Identify your main message and focus on that throughout the essay.
  • Make your main point early and support it using specific examples.
  • Tailor each essay for its intended institution and program.
  • Seek feedback from faculty, academic advisers and Career Services.

Recommendations Letters

Graduate schools usually require two or three letters of recommendation from past employers or university faculty. Develop solid relationships with your academic adviser and professors. Choose people who can accurately assess your abilities in relation to the graduate program you plan to pursue. Then approach them in a professional manner with a generous amount of time, your most recent resume and a stamped, addressed envelope.

Admission Interviews

Some graduate and professional programs, require an admissions interview. To gain valuable practice and feedback, schedule a mock interview with Career Services.

  • Research each program and institution thoroughly and tailor your answers. Evaluate your interests, skills, experience and strengths/weaknesses for each program/institution.
  • Be prepared to indicate why you are interested in a specific program/institution.
  • Talk with current or recent students from that program to learn what to expect including format and questions.
  • Review your application, resume and personal statement prior to the interview so that you are prepared to answer questions about them.
  • Dress professionally for the interview.
  • Focus on your professional skills and goals.
  • Bring a list of questions to ask about the program that show you are serious about the profession.

CalendarSample Timeline

A suggested set of actions for a May graduate applying to graduate school. Research and set your own timeline according to your circumstances and program.


  • Research potential programs and institutions
  • Review application process of programs of interest
  • Arrange a visit if possible
  • Develop a personal timeline for the application process
  • Draft an academic resume
  • Research test preparation resources


  • Draft personal statements according to each application’s instructions
  • Review your academic resume and personal statements with Career Services, faculty and advisers
  • Take required admissions tests
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions


  • Begin filling out applications
  • Re-take admissions tests if needed
  • Choose and ask writers of letters of recommendation
  • Provide all forms and information at least a month ahead
  • Submit application forms
  • Obtain appropriate interview attire
  • Schedule a mock admissions interview with Career Services


  • Accept or decline offers
  • Finish and submit financial aid paperwork
  • Write thank you notes to letter writers and others who helped you throughout the process
  • Share your plans with Career Services by filling out a brief survey for new graduates