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Upcoming Graduate & Professional School Information Sessions & Workshops

How to Ask for Letters of Recommendation
Monday, September 24, 12:15–1 p.m.
Lazarus Center Workshop Room
Learn how to effectively ask your teachers and mentors for the letters of recommendation that your applications require to be successful! Experienced advisers from career development, fellowships and prehealth programs will share proactive strategies to help your teachers and mentors write letters that are tailored to you and the particular opportunities that you are pursuing. Open to all years.

Becker College Graduate School Information Table
Wednesday, September 26, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
Smith College Campus Center Main Level
Learn about Becker's graduate programs: Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program and Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media program.

Applying to Grad School
Wednesday, September 26, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Lazarus Center Workshop Room
Discover how to best position yourself for admission into a master's or Ph.D. program.

Hopkins Nanjing Graduate Program
Information Session

Thursday, September 27, noon-1 p.m.
Smith College Campus Center 003

Applying to Law School
Thursday, September 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Lazarus Center Workshop Room
An overview of law school basics: When to apply, the LSAT, selecting schools and more.

University of Connecticut College of Engineering
Information Session

Tuesday, October 2, noon-1 p.m.
Smith College Lazarus Center Workshop Room

Yale Law School Information Session
Tuesday, October 2, 4:30 p.m. 
Smith College Campus Center 103/104
Meet with representatives from Yale Law School for a discussion and Q&A about their program and the application process. 

Columbia Law School
Information Session

Wednesday, October 3, 12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Smith College Campus Center 103/104

Personal Statements for Graduate & Professional School
Thursday, October 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Lazarus Center Workshop Room
Does the thought of writing a personal statement for graduate or professional school make you panic? Relax and attend this session on crafting a winning personal statement.

Harvard Law School Information Session
Friday, October 12, 4-5 p.m.
Smith College Campus Center 205 
RSVP here. Session includes a presentation and Q&A with Tina Lagerstedt, Admissions Officer.

MGH Institute of Health Professions
Information Session

Monday, October 22, 1-2 p.m.
Smith College Campus Center 102
Entry-level and post-professional programs in Nursing, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Genetic Counseling, and Physician Assistant Studies are among the Institute’s offerings. Other programs, including a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences and a Master of Science in Health Professions Education, have been added in recent years to meet rising demand for highly educated health care professionals, educators, and researchers.

Health and STEM Professions Lunchbag Series Fall 2018
Smith Prehealth hosts a weekly lunchbag series for students interested in careers in STEM, including the health professions. Students exploring career options are urged to attend presentations on a variety of topics.

The Application Year

  • Research graduate programs based your criteria (area of interest, faculty and mentors, facilities and resources, research or experiential opportunities, financial aid and funding, geographic location, size of program, etc.)
  • Review graduate schools’ brochures and application materials (from the previous year)
  • Speak with professors, alumni, mentors and other professionals about your interests
  • Study and plan when you will take the appropriate admission test
  • Review the recommendation process and carefully select your recommendation writers
  • Study and take the appropriate admission test
  • Research, contact and visit graduate schools
  • Contact letter writers for updates
  • Draft personal statements/statements of purpose and have them reviewed and critiqued by a Lazarus Center adviser
  • Request current brochures, application and financial aid materials
  • Study and take the appropriate admission test
  • Contact letter writers to insure completion and submission
  • Create list of schools to which you will apply
  • Complete and submit application and financial aid materials at least 1-month before deadline
  • Confirm completed application files
  • If waitlisted, send additional supporting materials
  • Evaluate acceptances and pay deposit

Deciding to Attend

Graduate school is a mental, physical, financial and emotional commitment. Consider carefully your reasons for wanting to continue your education (academic or employment). Consult with faculty and evaluate your abilities, the strength of your candidacy and the outcomes of an advanced degree.

  • Go to graduate school with an intended purpose, not because you don’t know what else to do.
  • Go to graduate school for your desire to learn more, not to please someone else.

Deciding to attend graduate school may mean you will attend the fall after graduation or at some point in your future:

  • Will your application profit from a year or two of experience?
  • Is your momentum strong to keep you focused on your graduate school academics?
  • Will a part-time graduate program allow you to both work and attend graduate school?

Selecting a Graduate School

Gather information about graduate programs through a variety of resources:

  • Faculty: Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of programs and where former Smithies have attended.
  • Alumni: What advice can they offer you about their graduate school experience? Contact graduate school admission offices for lists of current students or recent graduates who previously attended Smith.
  • Scholars and professionals: Who has authored papers and books of interest? Which programs did they pursue?
  • Websites: Peterson’s guide to graduate schools,,

Narrow the field of graduate schools to a reasonable number, taking into account the following considerations:

  • your personal criteria
  • the time involved to complete well-thought out, competitive applications
  • your ability to pay admission fees (or seek fee waivers, if available)

Applying to Graduate School

Craft your application specifically for each program to which you apply. Admissions officers want to understand who you are, what you bring to the program, what is your academic preparation and interest, and how their graduate program meets your needs.

Test Scores

Select professors who will best support your application to a graduate program. Read the graduate program’s application guidelines as to how many letters are required and how they are to be submitted. Read the Lazarus Center Guide to recommendations and if appropriate, use Interfolio.


Most graduate programs require transcripts from any college where you had taken a class. Requesting your Smith transcript.

Personal Statement

Read the Personal Statement prompt and take the time to write your statement accordingly. Attend the Writing a Personal Statement Workshop, or schedule an appointment with an adviser. Learn more about writing your personal statement.

Financial Aid

Check the financial aid guidelines for each program to which you are applying. For additional information, consult AccessGroup, FastWeb, FinAid or the U.S. Department of Education.


Some programs (PhD level), will ask you to come for an interview (which may include several sessions) with faculty members in your field and with current students. This is an opportunity for the department to get to know you and to ask questions and determine whether the department is a good fit for you. Prepare for the interviews with a mock interview with the Lazarus Center staff.

Interested in Law School?
If you'd like to be added to the Law School email list, contact Daryl Gehman at

Smith College Guide to Law School

Legal Career Information

LSAT Information

Selecting Law Schools

Application Resources

Financial Aid and Scholarship Sources

Books and References in the Lazarus Center

  • The Best Law Schools, Princeton Review
  • The Ultimate Guide to Law School Admission by Carol L. Wright
  • Get into Law School, Kaplan
  • Law School Essays, Princeton Review

Applying to Health Professions Programs

We can help you explore health professions through advising, internships, career opportunities, personal statement review and mock interviews.

You may also research Smith alumnae who work in various professions and conduct informational interviews to learn more about their experiences.

For information regarding curricular programming and health professions graduate application advising, contact Elly Mons, Director of the Prehealth Professions Advising Program, or 413-585-2582.

Go to Prehealth Advising—Tools to help you prepare for the GMAT, including free test prep software, information about scores, test scheduling and more.—Information on everything from deciding if an MBA is for you to paying off business school loans.

The Princeton Review MBA Programs by Specialization—This site offers a guide to business schools as well as advice on graduate and business school preparation.

Deciding To Apply

The decision to attend a graduate or professional school and when to attend are questions with answers that are unique for each individual. There is no timeline of when or if one is supposed to attend a post-Smith education. For many, the reason to attend a graduate program is to satisfy a personal journey:

  • it is a subject that one purely wants to study in depth as a scholar, or
  • it is needed for employment or advancement in a particular career field

When your reason to attend a graduate program has motivated you, begin to evaluate your credentials and explore the various graduate programs. Consult with others who can assist you in your endeavor:

  • Speak with faculty who can advise you on programs in your field of interest.
  • Meet with a Lazarus Center adviser to help coordinate the logistics of your application.
  • Network with Smith alumnae and other professionals in the field who can share their personal experiences.
  • Contact admission representatives of your selected graduate programs about their programs.

Your decision to attend graduate school should be carefully planned and strategically crafted. Schedule an appointment with a Lazarus Center Adviser at 413-585-2582 or schedule via Handshake.

Funding Graduate & Professional School

  • Smith College Fellowships Information—Fellowships provide funds for study, research, interning, self-designed projects or participation in programs.
  • Fellowship Finder Database—Features over 1,100 curated listings of grants and fellowships for graduate students.
  • Yahoo Financial Aid
  •—Internet's leading scholarship search service
  •—Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of an educational loan. Visit this link to find out if you qualify for loan forgiveness.
  • Grant Forward is a searchable grant and funding database for undergraduates and graduate students. Access via the Smith College Libraries Databases.
  • Bridging the Dream Scholarship—This scholarship was established for students who will be enrolled at least half-time in postsecondary graduate study at an accredited graduate college or university in the United States for the entire academic year. Four awards of $20,000 will be granted. One award will be granted to students in each of the following fields of major: Business, Law, Medical/Dental, Other graduate field of study. See the Bridging the Dream website for eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Personal Statements

Most graduate programs will ask you for a personal statement, which is an informal letter to the admissions committee. Your personal statement is also a sample of your writing, attention to detail, and logic.

Questions are usually variations on:

  • Why our school/program?
  • What has prepared you for it?
  • Why now in your life?

Graduate schools have several reasons for giving you a chance to “speak” to them through a personal statement. They already have plenty of concrete information about you. What they don't know is why you're applying for this particular program, where it fits in your ideas about your future, what you bring to the department as a person and scholar, and what you hope to take away when you graduate.

Need more help? Attend a Personal Statement workshop, make an appointment with a Lazarus Center Adviser 413-585-2582 or schedule an appointment in Handshake.

Crafting Your Personal Statement
  1. Outline: Start by listing the pieces of information you want to convey, then move the items around until they flow in a logical, often chronological, way. Talk it through with friends or a Lazarus Center adviser, and have them write down the main themes they hear.
  2. Write: Elaborate on each item briefly, using the first person active voice (I) as much as possible, as well as a simple, direct style.
  3. This is not an academic essay. Avoid long or formal words and phrases. Admission committees read hundreds of essays each year; they're delighted when an applicant addresses them as human beings and gives them a clear picture of her readiness for—and awareness of—their field, program and expectations.
  4. You may choose to mention courses you're looking forward to taking, and professors with whom you'd like to study, if that will help your readers understand your interests.

The Lazarus Center for Career Development partners with Interfolio, the premier dossier, credentials and online portfolio service.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Interfolio work?

Interfolio gives you the power to collect, deliver and showcase your most important documents in an easy online system that you manage. You're able to store letters of recommendation, resumes, writing samples, evaluation forms and much more. Learn more about Interfolio.

Will the Lazarus Center send out references on my behalf?
No. If you need confidential references sent, you must set up an Interfolio account.

Do ALL graduate schools and organizations accept credentials from Interfolio?
No. Although most graduate schools and organizations will accept letters from Interfolio, some do not. It's important that you read and adhere to all application instructions for the schools or programs to which you are applying.

How much does Interfolio cost?
See the Interfolio website for subscription options.

Alternatives to Interfolio
Carefully consider your personal reference needs. For instance, if you're applying to graduate school or a job, you may not need Interfolio at all. Your recommenders can send their letters directly to the graduate school or employer of your choice.

How do I request that someone write a recommendation for me?
Read the Lazarus Center's quick guide to Requesting Letters of Reference:

Read this article from the Chronicle for Higher Education: “How to Ask for a Recommendation and How to Supervise the Faculty Member Writing It.”

Information for Letter Writers
Interfolio helps ease the burden for faculty asked to compose letters of recommendation. Learn more about Interfolio's direct uploading of documents. Learn more about submitting letters to Interfolio.

Committee Letters for Medical & Dental School Applicants

  • Applicants to Allopathic (MD) medical schools use Interfolio to store their individual recommendation letters and to deliver their committee letter packet to AMCAS.  

  • Applicants to Osteopathic (DO) medical schools use Interfolio to store their individual recommendation letters, but the committee letter packets will be submitted to AACOMAS through Liaison CAS. 

  • Applicants to Dental schools use Interfolio to store their individual recommendation letters, but the committee letter packets will be submitted to AADSAS through Liaison CAS. 

For more instructions on submitting your committee letter for medical or dentail school, visit Interfolio or Liaison.
Questions? Contact

Law School Applicants

Law references should be sent directly to LSAC by your recommenders. 


Official Transcripts are available through the Smith College registrar's office. Currently enrolled students can view their unofficial transcripts through BannerWeb.