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Prepare for Further Education

Further education can be a rewarding experience which contributes to your personal and career development.†If you are thinking about post-graduation options, the Explore Options section in the Career Guide will outline some considerations and will provide resources to research programs.

If you have decided on further education, this section presents information on some common requirements such as references, Curriculum Vitae, Personal Statement, and more. Each graduate or professional program has its own set of requirements, so itís crucial to check each school you are interested in.

Common Application Elements

Tip:  Prepare for graduate school during your undergraduate studies by strengthening your grades. Although many programs look primarily at your final two years, grades that are consistently high will impress admission committees.


Curriculum Vitae

You will probably have to submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) with your application.  A CV is like a résumé with an academic focus. For information on creating a CV, check out the Career Centre's CV or Résumé  Tip Sheet.  You can book a CV critique appointment at the Career Centre.

Personal Statement

Depending on the program and the school, you may have to submit a personal statement or a Letter of Intent/Plan of Study.  Make sure you research what the exact requirements are regarding content, form, length, etc.

View the PowerPoint presentation from the Career Centre's Personal Statement workshop.

You can book an appointment at the Career Centre to have your Personal Statement critiqued. You should also have your professors/supervisors and others in that field review what you've written.  Their feedback will help you craft a strong document.

References/Recommendation Letters

When applying to graduate programs, you will be required to submit references. Your referees should be able to write about your academic ability and qualifications.  The reference could be in the form of a hard copy letter, a specific form, or an electronic reference system.  Check the individual graduate program's web site for the required number and format of references to be submitted.

On the Trent University Graduate Studies Department's Scholarships & Bursaries website, you'll find tips on how to get the right reference letter and there's also some tips for those people writing reference letters for you on how to write scholarship references.

Admission Tests

For entrance to most graduate and professional school programs, you will have to take some sort of standardized test.  Scoring well on these tests has positive impact on the likelihood of being accepted into the program.  So preparation is key to success.  The websites of the common admission test have many resources to help you practise and become familiar with what's expected.  They may also have links to blogs where people share tips.  Here are some common admission tests:

  • GRE - for individuals hoping to pursue a graduate degree in humanities, social, physical, and biological sciences
  • GMAT - those who wish to pursue a business degree
  • LSAT - for applicants to law school
  • MCAT - for applicants to medical or veterinary school
  • DAT - for admission to dental school

For more information, access the websites for these tests on our Links page.




At the federal level, there are several scholarships such as:

  • Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) scholarship
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) scholarship
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

There are scholarships and student assistance programs at the provincial level that vary between the provinces.  For example, Ontario has the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

Don't forget to check for entrance scholarships at the school you will be attending.  Also, external funding sources are available from a diversity of organizations in all institutional sectors (i.e., not-for-profit, private firms, and industry).

Each school will have specific information about scholarships and bursaries so visit the Graduate Studies website of the school of interest to you.  There you will find information about what's available and how to apply for them.  As an example, check out Trent's Graduate Studies Department's very informative website.


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