Can I Get Into Grad School With an Online Undergraduate Degree?

Students today are sometimes so worried about getting into graduate school that they think where they went to college matters more than anything.

Graduate schools generally look at hundreds of applications every year and narrow down the pool to just a handful of people. A school may receive more than 500 applications for a program that only has 10 spots available.

Even if you attended an online college for your undergraduate degree, you still have a chance at getting into grad school. As long as you attended an accredited college or university, graduate schools will focus on a few key things when deciding if you have a worthy application.

Professional Statement/Resume

Though graduate schools often require different things of prospective students, most require that you submit a resume and/or a professional statement. Your resume must show any and all jobs, volunteer positions and other roles you held that relate to your grad school studies. This might include the volunteer work you did in a local hospital, a position you held in a student club or an internship or independent study project you did as a senior in college. The professional statement is similar to a cover letter and asks you to write a short statement that explains your reasons for continuing your studies and any future goals you have.

Standardized Test Scores

Whether you study psychology, law, medicine, business or any other topic, grad schools will want you to submit scores from one of the advanced standardized tests. The score you receive on that test is just as important and maybe even more important than where you went to school.

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The GRE is often a requirement for attending social sciences graduate schools, while the MCAT is required of those medicine. As you need to submit your scores as part of your application, make sure you give yourself enough time to take one of these tests and for the board to score your test.

Letters of Recommendation

Getting into graduate school often requires a few letters of recommendation as well. Grad schools want to know that you are a well rounded applicant and that you have experience both in and out of the classroom. You usually want to include letters from professors and those who worked with you in school, but you should include at least one letter from someone familiar with your work in the field, including an adviser who oversaw your independent study project or a supervisor who oversaw your internship.

Other Information

Dr. Don Martin suggests in U.S. News that you go over your application several times and check for errors. Dr. Martin points out that grammar errors and misspelled words can seriously hurt your chances of getting a spot in grad school. You also want to ensure that you complete all the necessary steps and get all the paperwork to the university in advance of the application deadline. Applying early may increase your chances of getting a TA or RA position at the grad school.

Though some worry that going to an online school will reduce their chances of getting a graduate degree, grad schools generally care more about your experiences and skills than where you went to college. Getting into graduate school with an online degree is easy when you know how to apply and what to focus on in your application.