Engineering Grad School Applications – Application Overview

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Grad school applications are a big project to tackle. It can feel like taking on a whole ‘nother class or major assignment, but now is the time to start, get organized and get them done so there is no last minute stress. Over the next 6 weeks I’ll be giving you all of my tips and resources to help you tackle grad school applications


Let’s start with what you need to know before you even start applying.

  1. A general idea of what you want to study – This doesn’t have to be a specific field, just a general directions and an understanding of what you like and dislike studying

  2. The type of degree you want to earn. Do you want a masters of engineering, Masters of science or PhD? If you are doing a masters, do you want to t a thesis or non thesis option.

  3. A sense of who you are and what type of environment you want to be in. I have some blogs on this topic that you can check out here &  here 


It is really important to have an idea of who you are, which parts of engineering you enjoy, which parts you don’t, and why you want to go to graduate school. Graduate school is still engineering school. It is hard and can be frustrating at times, but it is also such a unique experience to extend your student experience. Just be sure you know why you want to go to grad school.


For me, I knew I wanted to work in the research field to have a little more control over what I work on. I also saw a PhD as a guarantee that I would always be learning, even after graduation. I  knew I didn’t want to be at the most prestigious university where I would just be a number. I wanted to be in a well funded, competitive but supportive university that made real efforts to provide an inclusive environment.


Once you have done some soul searching, you can start working on the mechanics of your application. Below is a list of what all you need to get through the application process. I’ll touch on each of these individually in the next few weeks. This is just an overview to get you thinking! 


  1. The list of schools you are applying to and the labs you want to work with at each school

  2. A strong personal statement that indicates your research experience, career goals and accomplishments

  3. An extended resume that shows everything you have accomplished as an undergrad and in any work experience you have

  4. GRE scores

  5. Transcripts from every university you have attended

  6. Solid recommendation letters from people who can speak to your unique value as an engineer

  7. An organization system

  8. Accountability and support – this could be from the writing center at your university, your favorite professor, your parents or a coach!

  9. A budget – application, test and transcript fees add up. Be prepared for this extra cost during the application cycle.


There are so many things that go into grad school applications so stick with me over these next few weeks to learn how I got organized, structured my applications and communicated all of my experience! 

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