Applying to Graduate Schools


Applying to graduate programs in exercise science, health promotion and wellness, public and community health, athletic training, health administration, dietics and related fields.

When should I apply? 

Application deadlines vary from university to university. In general, applicants who want to be considered for a graduate assistantship must apply early (probably before January of their senior year in college).

Often, you must be granted admission to the Graduate College, and then must apply directly to the department in which you want to study for an assistantship.

Read admission requirements carefully, and contact the university and department for a campus visit well before applying if possible.

Is there financial aid for graduate students other than assistantships? 

Yes. It is specific to each university. If you want to be considered for financial aid, start researching the possibilities in the summer before your senior year.

Which admission requirements must be completed by the time I apply? 


Most graduate schools require the Graduate Record Exam. You should score at least the equivalent of 1,000 on the verbal and quantitative parts combined, and must request that GRE send the official results to the schools to which you are applying.

Reporting of the GRE results may take several weeks, so plan to take the GRE in the summer before your senior year. Check the admission requirements for each school that you are considering. Some may require other admissions tests.

Reference letters 

You must be able to supply the contact information for three academic professionals who have agreed to write reference letters for you, and usually, you must supply the reference form to each of your references and have them mail their reference letters directly to the graduate schools.

It is best to supply your references with a resume (vita) and offer your career aspirations so that they may write to your potential in that regard. Be sure to sign the form yourself. 

Required classes and GPA for admission

All graduate programs require an undergraduate degree, a minimum grade point average and, oftentimes, specific prerequisite classes. They will often consider the GPA on the last 60 hours of coursework if the overall GPA is lower than the norm.

Some programs grant incoming students conditional admission, which gives them a probationary period to show that they can succeed in graduate work. Be prepared to make up any deficiencies in summer school if necessary.

Departmental requirements 

Check with the department for specific dates and guidelines, and to see if you are required to submit any additional information.

Essay on why you want a graduate degree in the particular area of study

You should spend considerable time drafting a very good essay and have it ready to upload or send. Don’t leave this until last. It may be the discriminating factor in student selection.

To how many schools should I apply?

You should apply to all of the schools that have the specific graduate program that would best prepare you, and that you would consider attending for two years. At a very minimum, apply to three schools; call for an appointment and visit them before applying.