Prospective Students - Graduates

Finding the Best Program Match

Identifying the best programs for you to apply to is a formidable task. You should start as soon as you begin to think about graduate school. By learning about graduate programs, you will have a sense of the nature of individual programs (for example, small or large, reputation, specialties, graduation rates). Similarly, if you are familiar with the requirements of a program, you can also align your current coursework to strengthen your preparation for graduate school. Please consider the following activities:

Academic Preparation

As you consider graduate school programs, note the requirements and the backgrounds of competitive students. Keeping this information in mind, review your courses and experiences. Please consider the following as your evaluate your academic preparation:

Getting Ready for Graduate School

It's never too early to begin preparing for graduate school. In fact, many of the choices you make throughout your time as an undergraduate will influence your readiness for graduate studies. UC Berkeley offers these tools and opportunities to help you make the most of your undergraduate experience.

Demystifying the Application Process

Applying to graduate school can be a formidable process. Improve your chances of securing a spot in the right graduate program by reviewing the following tools and tips to assist you in the application process.

Tips on Writing the Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose is the single most important piece of the application.

  1. Things to Keep in Mind
    • Remember that you are writing for an audience who cares about one thing and one thing only: they want to recruit graduate students with a great deal of intellectual promise.

    • Remember that your statement has to stand out among countless others.

    • Don't tell it, show it. That is, don't say how dedicated or committed you are; show it by describing your accomplishments. Use positive language and avoid the passive voice.

Planning Ahead

Ideally you'll want to plan as far ahead as possible. Freshman year in college is not too early.

  • Nurture strong ties with faculty who will know you well enough to write you strong letters of recommendation.

  • Keep all your class papers and research projects in case you need to reproduce them for the professors writing for you.

  • Seek out research opportunities, one-to-one tutorials with professors, summer programs, and job opportunities that fuel your intellectual interest.

  • Maintain a strong GPA.

Identifying Your Schools of Choice

Identify ten schools to which you might apply. Visit the career center in your school and speak with counselors who may help you with university guide books and other resources. Speak with professors in the area of your interest for their recommendations. Look at the overall ranking of the institution as well as the specific ranking of the department. For each institution, identify faculty members with whom you might find an intellectual match.

Finding the Right Social Sciences Graduate Program

Where do your interests lie? Which program is right for you? What is your academic future?

Social Sciences at UC Berkeley. UC Berkeley is home to 12 top-ranking, internationally renowned social science departments, offering a broad range of opportunities.

Application Etiquette

As you move through your undergraduate years and into graduate school, you will have increasing contact with graduate students and faculty in your discipline. Knowing how to interact with them can be helpful as you begin to negotiate a larger sphere with future colleagues and mentors. Building strong relationships begins with your initial interactions with busy faculty members and graduate students. As you begin to apply to graduate school, please keep the following suggestions in mind: