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Graduate & Professional School

Many students choose to pursue graduate or professional school beyond their undergraduate degree.  Graduate education delivers specialized knowledge in a concentrated discipline – be it a Master’s or PhD program, medical school or law school.  The Career Center provides advising, resources, and programming in the following areas:

  • Assessing if graduate school is right for you
  • Identifying programs that align with your interests and career goals
  • Navigating the application process (timelines, requirements, letters of recommendation)
  • Review of personal statements and essays
  • Specialized advising for Pre-Law and Pre-Health tracks

As you embark on this journey, we encourage you to make an appointment with a member of our Career Development Team on Handshake and review the resources and information below.

Your Pre-Professional Counselors

Pre-Health: John McGranaghan

Pre-Law: Alex Karlesses

To find workshops, events, jobs and internships in your industries of interest, log into Handshake.  Fill out Career Interests on your profile to receive targeted emails about relevant opportunities. You can also make an appointment with your Pre-Professional Counselor through the platform.  

  • Select the Career Center option that aligns with your current student status
  • Select one of the Pre-Health Advising or Pre-Law Advising appointment options
  • Find a date and time that works for you

Getting Started & Overview

  • Discuss possible programs with your advisor, professors, deans, counselors, etc.
  • Decide on type of program in which you are interested.
  • Utilize graduate school reference books and catalogues.
  • Check into accreditation, assistantships (teaching/research/administrative) ,fellowships, and financial aid.
  • Contact schools for additional information and answers to specific questions.
  • Apply to a "workable" number of programs (Average: Approximately 6.)
  • Applying to graduate school is much like applying to colleges: you want to apply to a few "reach" schools, a few schools you will be relatively competitive to get into, and a few schools you feel you have a good chance of getting into.
  • Specific resources when researching:
    • Professors
    • Peterson's Guides (Career Center Library)
    • Professional Associations (Online)
    • Other Students & Alumni
    • Academic Journals in your field
    • Grad School Open Houses/Fairs
    • Don Asher's Book: "Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice" (Career Center Library)
  • Confirm undergraduate course requirements/proper prerequisites.
  • Determine the required graduate test (will be noted in Peterson's Graduate Guide as well as at the academic institutions online site).
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination): primarily required by arts & science, engineering, nursing programs, etc.
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): primarily required by business and management programs.
  • Identify number and types of references needed.
  • Open credentials file at Career Center  which will hold and send your letters of recommendation for you. Your transcript can be added to your file by contacting Registrar's Office.
  • Meet deadline and registration dates.
  • Please note that some programs may require other exams, so check the admissions requirements of the schools you are interested in.
  • Follow the directions set by each school.
  • Your admissions essay or personal statement (if required) should meet all of the specific parameters such as length and set-up. It will probably be revised a few times before you send it. Have someone proofread your essay.
  • Double check all your application materials before sending; including letters or recommendation, transcripts, written statements, and any other additional forms.
  • Photocopy what you send and date them (for your records.)
  • Attempt to send all materials together.
  • Contact the school to verify that your application has arrived.
  • Some schools interview potential candidates as a part of their admissions process. To prepare, a practice interview can help to develop your interviewing skills. Practice interviews with a counselor in Career Center will help you to better discuss and sell your skills and abilities.

Application Checklist

Application deadlines may range from August (before senior year) to later Spring/Summer (during senior year). Most deadlines for the fall's entering class are between December and March. You should plan to meet all formal deadlines; beyond this, you should be aware of the fact that many schools with rolling admissions encourage and act upon early applications.

  • Research areas of interest, institutions and programs
  • Talk to your advisor and professors about interests and application requirements
  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests
  • Investigate national scholarships
  • If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendations
  • Contact school for application materials
  • Take required admissions tests
  • Visit institutions of interest, if possible
  • Write your application essay
  • Check on application deadlines and rolling admission policies.
  • Register for the national application or data assembly service most programs use, if needed for medical, dental, osteopathy, podiatry, or law school
  • Obtain letters of recommendation
  • Take graduate admission tests if you have not already done so
  • Send in completed applications
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE, if required, as early in January as possible
  • Check with all institutions before the deadline to make sure your file is complete
  • Visit the institutions that accept you
  • Send a deposit to your institution of choice
  • Notify other colleges and universities that accepted you of your decision so that they may admit students on their waiting list
  • Send thank-you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success

Professional School Applications

The procedure for applying to professional schools (law, medicine, pharmacy, etc.), is relatively similar to those for applying to graduate school. Provided below is additional information specific to law and medical schools.

  • Meet with Villanova’s Pre-Law Advisor, Alex Karlesses by scheduling an appointment with her via Handshake and select “Pre-Law Advising” as the appointment type. You can reach her at and 610-519-4067.
  • The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is required by most law schools. LSAT information, application materials and the CAS (Credential Assembly Service) is found through LSAC (Law School Admissions Council). Students need to register with LSAC to manage their applications, as well as research schools, learn about financial aid options, and much more.
  • Join the student run Pre-Law SocietyBlack Law Student Association, and Mock Trial
  • Schedule a tour or sit in on a class at Villanova's Law School
  • Students interested in medical school should speak with Dr. Louise A. Russo, Assistant Biology Professor/Pre-Med Advisor (191C Mendel Hall, 610-519-4869)
  • Begin the process as early as possible!!
  • Most programs in medicine require the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test.)

Essays and Personal Statements

Writing an essay or personal statement is an important component of your graduate/professional school application. Career Center counselors are available to assist you with these documents as well as other aspects of the application process.

Peterson’s - Your graduate school personal statement may initially get only five minutes of an admissions officer's attention. In those five minutes you have to show that you are a good pick for the school. What will you say? How will you catch and hold the reader's interest? If you know the answer, then you have a good idea of how to prepare a short but effective graduate school essay that will stand as your personal statement to a graduate school admissions committee when you apply to graduate school. - The admissions essay is a required component of all graduate school applications. Typically it is written in response to a prompt. Graduate programs will often assign specific topics that applicants must address in writing their essay. Sometimes they ask for a generic "autobiographical statement" in which the applicant discusses his or her life, experiences, and goals. The admissions essay is sometimes referred to as a personal statement. The graduate admissions essay is a critical part of the graduate application because it is through this essay that applicants can speak directly to the committee and demonstrate their unique fit to the program. - It is an essay that demonstrates your qualifications for and your commitment to your chosen academic field. You do this by discussing the people, events, and experiences that have inspired you to bring you to this junction in your life. The essay should be vibrant with details and examples, and should scream to the admission’s committee readers, "This is a person worth getting to know!"  That's a tall order for a 2-3 page essay!

Additional Resources & Information

Test preparation can be as easy as purchasing a book of past tests, forming a study group, or hiring a tutor.  The following list is offered in response to the many inquiries we receive.  The Career Center does not endorse a particular test preparation service.  Examinees should call the agency or visit the website for information on services, schedules, and fees.  Be sure to inquire about any discounts or scholarships.

Test preparation can be as easy as purchasing a book of past tests, forming a study group, or hiring a tutor.  The following list is offered in response to the many inquiries we receive.  The Career Center does not endorse a particular test preparation service.  Examinees should call the agency or visit the website for information on services, schedules, and fees.  Be sure to inquire about any discounts or scholarships.


Graduate Prep Course Help
Prep Course:
Ph: (610)-449-6311
Advantage Education
Prep Course:
Ph: (888)-737-6010
Educational Testing Services
Prep Course:
Ph: (609)-921-9000
DAT Prep
Prep Course: 
DAT Prep Resources
Certification Exam & Job sites.
Get Prepped
Prep Course:
 LSAT Fall Classes
Ph: (800)-508-4473
Focus Approach
Prep Course: 
LSAT Prep Course
Ph: (914)-741-0452

The Study Center
Tips & information for preparing for exams

GMAT Prep Now
Prep Course:
 GMAT Online
Ph: 604-842-5327
Prep Course: 
Ph: 1-866-333-3138
Prep Course:
Ph: (800)-Kap-Test
Huntington Learning Center
Prep Course:
Ph: (610)-354-8600
Prep Course: 
Ph: (212)-563-986
LaSalle University
Prep Course:
Ph: (215)-951-1063
Manhattan Prep
Prep Course: GMAT, LSAT, and GRE

MJ Test Prep LLC
Prep Course:
Ph: (610)-525-2840


Parliament Tutors
Prep Course: 
Ph: 215-839-9202
LSAT Proctor DVD
Prep Course:
 Timed Practice LSAT
Ph: 1-877-TOP-LSAT
LSAT Intensive Review
Prep Course: Classroom & Home Prep
Ph: (800)-325-5728
Princeton Review
Prep Course:
Power Score
Prep Course:
 LSAT Preparation Courses
Ph: (800)-545-1750
Sherwood Test Prep
Prep Course: 
Ph: (866) TEST-PREP
St. Joseph University
Prep Course: GMAT
$250 - 2/day workshop
Temple University
Prep Course:
Ph: Center City: (215)-204-6946
Temple University
Fort Washington
Ph: 215-238-1304
Test Club
Prep Course: GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, MCAT, LSAT, SAT and 50 other major tests
Test Masters
Prep Course: 
Test Sherpa
Prep Course:
 Free LSAT Prep
Ph: no registration required
University Test Prep Services
Prep Course: MCAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT  Ph: (215)-Fun-Test

Varsity Tutors
Prep Course: GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT
Ph: (215) 510-6413


Exam Focus
Prep Course: