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How Hard Is It to Get Into Grad School?

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There are a number of reasons to consider applying to graduate school. Maybe you’ve been in the workforce for a while and concluded that advancing your education will help further your career. Or perhaps you’re finishing your undergraduate degree and looking to focus your specialization in your field. Whatever your reasoning or current situation, you may have some questions about the application process. For starters, how hard is it to get into a graduate program? We’re here to clear up some of the initial confusion by addressing some of the elements that factor into admissions.


One of the factors each program will evaluate is your undergraduate GPA. Depending on how satisfied you are with your grades upon graduation, this may or may not boost your confidence. If you’re just graduating with a bachelor’s degree and are concerned that your GPA is not high enough to compete for a spot in your desired graduate program, don’t panic just yet! Check out our tips for getting accepted to grad school if your grades are below average. For students interested in pursuing a graduate degree after taking a hiatus in your education, GPA may be even lower on the admissions office’s list of priorities. In either situation, relevant experience, a strong work ethic, and glowing recommendations all make GPA weigh less heavily.

Variations in Programs

There is no universal set of requirements that is the same for every individual school and program. They will all weigh each qualification differently; one school may consider your GRE scores to be extremely important, while another may not even require you to submit them—even for the same degree. The best thing to do is to research your programs of interest and learn which parts of your application need the most focus. You can reach out to alumni and the admissions office, search the college website and, of course, check out programs on Abound’s website for more information.

When Should You Take the GRE?

Acceptance Rates

Another factor that affects acceptance (and also varies per school) is the rate at which students are admitted. Prestige, funding, and degree type all determine which applicants will be offered acceptance. Highly ranked schools with fully funded tuition can afford to be the most selective about their students—everyone wants a great education without acquiring debt. To find statistics about each program and how their acceptance rates compare, you can consult school websites (or other independent sites if you cannot find the information) or contact the individual schools directly.


This may go without saying, but earning a place in a graduate program can be more difficult than in undergrad. There may be fewer students who apply to graduate school overall, but there are also fewer programs to choose from, which makes them more competitive. Make sure you are pleased with every response to each component of your application:

  • GRE scores (if applicable)—for more information about the GRE, reference these articles about when to take it and how to understand your test scores.
  • Résumé—review, edit, and update; if you’re not confident in your writing abilities, there are services that can help!
  • Interview Skills—research the program to get an idea of the type of person they are looking for so that you can stand out.

Gaining acceptance to a graduate program is an exciting accomplishment. More and more people are choosing to further their education to advance in their career, get and an increase in pay, and pursue new opportunities. If you are worried about how difficult admission is, look no further! We want to boost your confidence and answer any questions that you might have about the process. Check out all of our advice and find your way to the program of your dreams!

Get our weekly advice

Keep up-to-date with the latest advice from Abound Grad School.