Some FYI in Choosing a Graduate Program:

  • Do your research, check out the schools’ websites
  • Dig around the program: requirements, classes, professor’s likes and specialties ** MA, PhD, either available [this varies by institution]
  • Check out the facilities of the University/College at large, as a grad student, they are there for you too.
  • Find out stats of town/city in which the school is located
  • Local places & activities of interest
  • Cost of living
  • Best and safest places to live
  • Arrange a visit the school &/or talk with current students in the program
  • See if any faculty or students at your current institution have any affiliation with the programs or institutions to which are being applied.
  • Pick programs and schools that interest and meet your needs. Don’t limit yourself to 1 or 2 choices, especially since those on site visits make or break many preconceived notions about the program.
  • Also note, that the program wants the prospective students to also fit their agenda of study and research, which may not be obvious from the different websites. So don’t limit the number of choices and applications sent out.

Basic Components of Graduate School Process & Application

Letter of Intent

  • Customize each letter to fit the application program, and do some research into the program and what it offers.
  • A universal body to the letter can be adjusted to meet the prerequisites and personality of each program.
  • This letter is your chance to sell yourself, so don’t be shy
  • Have someone [or several people] proof read

Writing Sample

  • Keep the sample to the # of pages requested, extra volume may be more of a detriment no matter the quality of the work.
  • Senior thesis are usually not ready for this process, unless they are in their finally stages prior to November.
  • Proof readers

Letters of Recommendation

2-4, depending on the program

  • NEED to have relationship, several classes, to obtain a good letter
  • Ask if the instructor is willing to write a recommendation
  • Ask if they feel they can write a good recommendation
  • Provide the envelopes, addressed to the proper institutions and stamped
  • Also provide a list of the institutions to which you are applying, especially if your instructors have contacts there
  • List of deadlines with the schools
  • For programs with multi-tracts, consider letters from instructors in each discipline/tract of interest
  • Most institutions require letters only from your last school, others may request letters from more than one, depending on your academic history

Reading List

  • Materials translated – Ancient authors, specific selections
  • Modern Languages – extent of study, proficiency


  • Although some schools claim that they place little or no value on this test, it would be difficult to see an application which does not ask for your scores
  • Check for mailing dates when register for the test in order to get the results to the institutions by the deadlines
  • Be aware, the writing sample takes several weeks to process


  • Schools require that these be sent directly from all the institutions you have attended, even if for only one class.
  • These forms also take up to several weeks to process. This time increases in November, since there is an influx in number of requests for transcripts.
  • Check price, if any, per transcript
  • If mailing in a transcript, check that the request was received.
  • Check that the institutions from which the transcripts are being sent have the correct addresses.

Time Considerations and Follow Up

  • The process takes quite some time, be sure to budget appropriately
  • Many programs have individual sites on-line which allow the progress of the application to be reviewed by the prospective student, especially important, as those deadlines loom closer.
  • Department administrative assistance/secretaries are a resource that will continue to be important, if not vital, to your graduate career. Make efforts early to develop a good rapport with these individuals, and many are also the contacts for checking on the status of your packet of application being complete.

Financial Considerations

  • Keep in mind how much this process can cost – not inexpensive
  • There are a lot of incidental costs, and depending on the number of copies being sent out: transcripts, additional GRE requests, the large scale mailing of the writing sample, postage on letters of recommendation, ect.
  • Financial Aid – FAFSA
  • Fill out in February for following scholastic year
  • Make sure you include all the institutions that are receiving applications


Sophomore/2nd Year:

It is never too early to begin thinking about Graduate School.

This time in the process can be fun – take a close look at the classes that appeal and keep you interested. Think about what you like about classics: research, teaching, or both. Begin to look at what type of school would fulfill those needs and provide the best post-graduate opportunities.

Junior/3rd Year:

Now is the time to think about what classes you may need to have in order to round out you transcript. Also, usually your writing sample will come from a project or paper written the last semester of your junior year – the first semester of the senior term. It is easier to work on a paper over the summer and finish the final draft during the fall prior to submissions, than to try and tackle a project from scratch during the semester.

  • Reading List
  • Courses
  • Writing Sample [?] - summer
  • GRE

During Summer:

Begin those graduate school application packets.

Senior/4th Year:

Crunch time:

  • Ask for those recommendations early, follow-up in case there any delays arise.
  • GRE, if not already completed or retake
  • Sending off the packets

Summer prior to Graduate School:

Begin or refresh your modern languages [French, German, Italian, Modern Greek]