As the newest member of the staff in the Full-time UST MBA Admissions Office, and someone new to admissions in general, after a few weeks on the job I am gaining a lot of insights into the whole process of getting in to grad school. After the jump are three things I’ve discovered that could be useful to know in applying for a graduate degree.

The competition is different. Applicants for grad school are in a much more self-selective group: they are all college grads and all share a common interest in furthering their education in a specific area. So percentiles on standardized tests are different too—when lots of smart people take a test, a lower percentile score is less consequential than compared to the SAT/ACT.

The numbers are different. Undergrad programs often have tens of thousands of applicants to enroll widely diverse classes of thousands of students. Grad programs tend to be smaller. This means admissions staff can better get to know each applicant and consider their background and experiences in crafting the incoming class.

The geography is different. When I applied to college I looked everywhere except Minnesota, it seemed. When it came to grad school, I looked at programs in my own backyard. Though many grad students will travel to a new city for a full time program, a large number end up going to school where it is convenient and where they are establishing themselves professionally.