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Graduate & Professional School Exploration

Graduate school can be an important step in your future as more career fields are demanding post-secondary education as a condition of hiring. Additionally, choosing to go to graduate school can broaden your job prospects to thousands of careers that aren’t necessarily related to your undergraduate major.

The time to start thinking about graduate or professional school is early in your academic career. Most programs require you to take entrance exams by the fall of your senior year. Application deadlines fall between October and March for fall entrance. Begin your research for different types of programs, locations, and other vital information on hundreds of graduate programs and schools at these websites:

Your career coach can meet with you individually to discuss your graduate school options and some tips on researching and applying. You can learn more about scheduling an appointment here.

For more information about graduate school visit our YouTube Channel.

Law School

The Law School Admission Council is a great place to start your investigation into law school. This website helps you understand law as a career and gives you tools to investigate law school options. Find out about:

  • American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools
  • The application process and admission
  • The LSAT and timelines for being admitted
  • Financial aid options for law school

It also provides information about the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), which centralizes and streamlines application processes for nearly all ABA-approved law schools. Most law schools require that you submit your law school applications through this service.

We also host a Pre-Law Week event on campus in November to answer a lot of questions about admissions, financing law school, areas of practice, and more. To see the list of event from the 2019 Pre-Law Week, click here.

Health Professions

There are many health-related careers to choose from. Check out Explore Health Careers to find out about a range of health-related fields.

Professional associations are another way to learn more about a potential career path. Explore several options below. 

Master of Business Administration

You don’t have to be a business major to pursue your MBA.  But if you are, some schools have accelerated programs for applicants with undergraduate business degrees.  MBA programs tell us they are more interested in applicants having relevant work experience than having an undergraduate business degree, and the work experience does not have to be in your major.  Check for accreditation of the program; the more revered programs are accredited by the AACSB.

For more MBA-related information, visit these websites:

Teacher Certification and Master of Education

The Office of Teacher Education prepares students to teach in secondary schools (grades 6-12). Students major in a content area (English, History, the Natural Sciences, Mathematics, or Foreign Language) and take education courses to fulfill state requirements for the Teaching Certificate. Loyola partners with some of the best public, private, and parochial schools in New Orleans and the metro area. The Office of Teacher Education offers Loyola students an opportunity to help change the fabric of the New Orleans community by engaging them in the lives of the children of New Orleans.

Dr. Glenda Hembree
Director of Teacher Education
College of Arts & Sciences
Bobet Hall, Room 202
(504) 865-3081

Loyola University New Orleans has a Teaching Certification program as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching program. To find out more about the curriculum and requirements for graduation, see the Office of Teacher Education

Other Routes to Teaching

Teaching can be a very rewarding career, even if you didn’t get a degree in education. Teaching certification rules and parameters vary from state to state; this University of Kentucky website can give you certification information for each state. There are a variety of education programs offered through college and university education departments aimed at providing teaching certification and master’s program options to people who did not pursue teaching as a major while in college. You could receive your certification in as little as one year.

Want to stay local? You can help rebuild our city by participating in teachNOLA, a program dedicated to the schools of New Orleans.

Nationally, Teach for America is a great program that aims to provide teacher certification and assistance to ailing public school systems.

Praxis Exam

The PRAXIS Series are exams often used as part of teaching licensure and certification. Many teaching certification programs require PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II exams to be taken before a person can begin certification training.

The PRAXIS I measures basic academic skills in reading, writing, and math. The PRAXIS II tests knowledge of a particular content area and teaching skills.

The PRAXIS I exam is offered in both paper-based and computer-based forms. Paper-based tests are offered on certain dates of the year. Computer-based tests can be arranged when it’s most convenient for both you and your chosen testing center.

The PRAXIS II exam is only offered in paper-based form on certain dates of the year. As you prepare for these exams, study guides are available at many bookstores.

Find out more about the PRAXIS Series.

Most graduate programs require an entrance exam for admittance, but which exam do you need to take? Your safest bet is to check with each program you are applying to. Even if programs at two schools seem similar, each may have different testing requirements.

When you decide on your exam, remember it’s important to study. Many exams are expensive or are only offered a few times a year. Additionally, some schools average multiple test scores or will only accept the first try. Many exams have study materials available at bookstores or online, as well as courses to help you prepare. Take advantage of these before test day arrives.

Below are some of the graduate school entrance exams available. Others do exist, so check with your program for details.

Loyola's Student Government Association offers to reimburse students up to $100 for fees related to graduate entrance exams, such as the GRE or MCAT. SGA also offers reimbursement to students for fees associated with prep courses related to their entrance exams. You can apply for reimbursements by following this link and completing the Budget Request Form.

Many graduate school programs require resumes and a personal statement from applicants. It can be difficult to create documents selling yourself to a graduate program. The Career Development Center is happy to help with these pieces of the application process, and we encourage you to make an appointment with us.

Personal Statements
Career Development Center staff have written a handout Writing a Personal Statement for you to use.  We also encourage you to have your personal statement proofread at the Office of Writing and Learning Services (OWLS).

As you get started, download the Career Development Center Resume Handout. This handout provides information about the types of information to include in a resume, experiences to consider, and how to use formatting techniques to your advantage.

Choosing people to write graduate school recommendation letters on your behalf can be difficult. Who do you choose? When thinking about whom to ask, make sure to choose someone who knows you and your work well. If you sense any hesitation from them, thank him or her and ask someone else.


Regardless of the type of graduate program you are applying to, it’s important to have at least one professor write a recommendation. Graduate programs are educational in nature, and they need to hear from people who have known you in an academic setting. Create authentic relationships with your professors. Participate in class. Meet during office hours. Ask for advice on or share your career plans. Have them give feedback on your resume. These personal experiences will provide a foundation for when they write your recommendation.


If you have practical experience related to the graduate program you are applying for, have your supervisor write a letter of recommendation. Other options for recommenders would be administrators and clients.

Spiritual Leaders

Using your parish priest or other spiritual leader is recommended only when they have supervised you or collaborated with you on a special project, committee, community service, or other experience when they experienced your professional abilities. If you are applying to a program that focuses on religion or spiritual issues, this may be appropriate.

Family and Friends

Recommendations from family members and friends are generally discouraged.

Regardless of who you choose, it’s important to ask them early. Give them time to write a thoughtful recommendation that will show off your best assets for the program.

Refer to the Career Development Center’s Strategic References handout for more information on references and recommendations.

Financing graduate school can be a challenge. Here are some resources that offer insight and ideas about financial aid options for graduate students.

The Office of Financial Aid at Loyola can also be of assistance as you investigate financial concerns.

Scams do exist! If it sounds too good to be true, check out the facts at the Federal Trade Commission's Scholarship Scam website.

For more information on financing graduate school visit our YouTube Channel.