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3 Keys to Networking for Graduate School

June 30, 2021 :: Jacob Allison

Elite graduate school admissions is competitive, and applicants have to work hard to juggle the many different elements that go into making a competitive admissions profile.

Things like great grades, excellent GRE scores, and a polished resume oftentimes can only get you in the door to being considered for acceptance. One of the most important differentiators for applicants seeking admission to an elite graduate program is having an influential network and being able to demonstrate strong networking skills. Below, find out a few ways graduate school applicants can start boosting their admissions profile through networking.


A great way to grow your professional academic network is by attending and presenting at conferences. There aren’t as many opportunities for undergrads to actually present at conferences as there are for graduate students, but there are some undergraduate poster presentation opportunities that can be found with a little research.  

Simply attending an academic conference and talking to as many people as you can is a great way to expand your professional network. This requires some bravery, especially if you’re not a natural extrovert. Remember, one of the main reasons people go to conferences is to network, so most attendees will welcome the opportunity to engage with you about your academic interests. Remember to connect with everyone you meet either through email or through social media.

Campus Visit

A campus visit, while potentially costly in terms of travel and lodging expenses, is an experience that if executed properly can be well worth the cost. The key to making the most out of your campus visit is to explore as many resources of your target school as possible. That includes sitting in on a class, attending social events and meeting with current students, visiting labs that you’re interested in working in, and of course, meeting with professors that you’d like to work with and finding out how your academic interests align with their work. Be sure to ask about the best and most unique courses, and take notes after your conversations and meetings, these encounters can be valuable resources when crafting your statement of purpose and admissions essays.

Reaching Out

Our last suggestion may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how few people actually do this. Simply shooting off an email or even making a phone call can go a long way in establishing a valuable connection with a professor or current student at your target university. With professors, let them know what your research interests are, and ask them about research opportunities either with them or with colleagues doing work that would be interesting and valuable to your academic growth.

It’s also a good idea to get in contact with current students who hold leadership positions in clubs and organizations. They know their organizations best, and can help you figure out how your talents and experiences could be of most value to growing and expanding the impact of their organizations. Just like conferences and campus visits, take notes following these conversations so you can reference them when writing your admissions essays. You can manage your contacts with a personal CRM. It allows you to keep all of your contacts in one place as well as additional information about previous discussions and action points.

Adcoms are reading hundreds of essays each admissions season, and we here at Admissionado think that one of the best ways to help your profile stand out is to communicate that you’ve already engaged with your target school’s community and begun developing meaningful relationships with faculty and current students. Keep these networking strategies in mind as you’re formulating your graduate admissions plan.


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