FSU Biology - Application Tips
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Biological Science - Graduate Studies

Florida State University

Application Tips

Tips for a successful application:
  1. Communicate with prospective faculty mentors prior to and/or after applying to the program.

    Identify your potential faculty advisor in advance and keep them updated on your application process to ensure that your application is directed to the proper individuals for review.

  2. Apply for external fellowships.

    Applying for external fellowships shows initiative but also allows prospective students’ to substantially improve the competitiveness of their application by potentially reducing the departmental or grant resources they may need. Common examples that include a full stipend and tuition and are available to prospective students include:

  3. Clearly demonstrate in your application and essay:
    • Who are you as a person (your background, unique experiences, strengths and weaknesses)

      Assessing prospective students’ potential to acclimate to and thrive in the graduate school environment requires an evaluation of their academic qualifications as well as their non-academic attributes. Attributes considered important for success in graduate school include conscientiousness, self-control, grit, growth mindset, the ability to multitask and collaborate, critical thinking and problem solving skills, independence, emotional maturity, persistence, creativity and flexibility. Evaluation of some of these qualities is a difficult and subjective process. A personal statement that clearly describes who you are as a person, discusses your unique experiences, strengths, weaknesses, challenges you may have faced and overcome will allow a better-informed assessment of you as a prospective graduate student.

    • How your background has prepared you for success and how your presence can enrich the community

      Successful graduate students come from all backgrounds. Some students have extensive prior research experience, some come from other professional fields, and others bring non-traditional experiences. Your application should clearly demonstrate how your experiences have prepared you for the challenges of graduate school and how your qualities and background can help enrich both our department and the field to which you hope to contribute.

    • Why you want to attend graduate school

      You should explain why you have chosen to attend graduate school and demonstrate commitment to your professional and intellectual development over the course of a multi-year program. In doing so, you should show that you understand pursuit of a graduate education presents significant challenges and sacrifices

    • What makes you excited about our graduate program and how can it help you reach your long-term goals

      Our goal is to train graduate students and help them reach their aspirations. You should carefully research, consider, and explain how faculty in Neuroscience, the Department of Biological Science, and Florida State University in general can help you in your development and in pursuit of their goals.