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Are you ready for graduate school?

Tips for successful admission to the PSU Graduate School of Education

prepare for grad schoolSo you want to make a difference
You are interested in exploring new possibilities; advancing your career; improving the lives of people young and old; and learning new strategies to help people succeed. Earning an advanced degree is the first step on your journey. A challenge that is both personally and professionally rewarding is ahead of you.

Start early
Make sure you give yourself time for exploration. There is a wealth of information on program websites that explains the focus of each program, the coursework involved, the credentials of the faculty, the time commitment, and the cost. You will be making a big commitment in terms of your time and finances, so make sure you are applying to a program that will help you meet your goals.

Graduate school admission is different from undergraduate admission in that you submit an application to both the university and the specific department or program to which you are applying. Admission at the graduate level is selective and competitive, so you must meet the minimum requirements in order to be considered. This does not guarantee you will be accepted, so be sure you put time and consideration into each part of your application.

Gather information

  • Attend an open advising session. These are free of charge and held frequently in the GSE. See the schedule on our website.
  • Talk to your current professors or coworkers about your plans. They will be able to make recommendations and can be valuable resources.
  • Review the program materials and website carefully. Find out specifically what items are required for each program: test scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.
  • Find out precisely which tests are required and don’t spend money and effort on those you don’t need. Take a practice test.
  • Begin to compile costs, set aside funds for application fees and tests, and create a budget for financing the program.
  • Collect official (unopened, sealed) transcripts from all institutions of higher learning you have attended. Order an extra copy for yourself so you can review it.

Prepare your application

  • Do exactly what the application asks for!
  • Be mindful of deadlines! Turn your application in on time. Earlier is better.
  • Submit only the items that are specifically requested.
  • Have someone review your materials before you submit them.

The GSE uses an online application system (TK20) for most programs. Send appropriate materials through the online system and clearly label the rest. The GSE gets hundreds of applications, so be sure to put your name, contact information, and the program name on each item so that it gets included in your file.

The letters of recommendation

  • A good letter of recommendation should be customized for you and for your program. It should address what qualities you have that are a good fit for the program for which you are applying.
  • Allow your sponsor enough time to write a thoughtful letter. These are busy people who are doing you a favor. Respectfully include the date you need it and where to send it.
  • Include an envelope so that they can sign, seal, and return it to you!

Testing requirements
As you begin to investigate graduate school, you will hear about entrance exams and skills tests. Test results are a critical part of the admission packet. Tests are determined by the program you select and what you want to teach, so be sure to review the test requirements for each program. Tests are administered by several testing vendors outside of PSU. See the program website for details.

Students interested in entering an education-oriented profession should have at least some "experiences" in the field prior to applying, and they should speak of those experiences in their personal statements.

Good luck!
Leading, learning, life changing… this simple phrase guides everything you will experience as a student at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education (GSE). Here you will gain the skills necessary to become a leader and prepare for a great experience. By the time your studies are complete, you will have had a life-changing experience that points you down the path of a successful future.

Next steps
See an academic advisor for more information. Whether you are a brand new university student, finishing an undergraduate program, or transferring in to PSU, it’s a good idea to have as much information as possible. Our on-campus open advising sessions are open to everyone and are held year-round on the second floor of the Fourth Avenue Building, 1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, Oregon. Please see the schedule below or call 503-725-4819 for an appointment.

Open advising sessions

GSE application deadlines