Does your Undergraduate Degree Matter for Grad School?

While the college application process is certainly difficult to navigate, there are a lot of resources available to college applicants to help them through the process. Applying to graduate school is no simple task either, but depending on which graduate school you’re considering, the information is limited.

For students interested in pursuing an MBA or a JD from business school and law school, chances are you’re set. Business school and law school application strategies are available for you once you get through the GMAT and the LSAT. Applying to medical school is a lot tougher simply because of all the pre-med requirements, but majority of aspiring doctors apply during their senior year of college with the help of the pre-med committee at their respective schools.

While all graduate schools have a different application process, there is still one thing that they have in common – your undergraduate degree doesn’t really matter. Even for business school, law school, and medical school, what you majored in undergraduate career does not affect your graduate application chances. Whether you apply for a master’s in education or communications, it’s all about how you tell your story and demonstrate the passion you have for the specific subject.

The biggest question you’ll have to answer is how well do you match their program. Does your work experience and career goals align with the graduate program’s orientation? If not, have you taken the appropriate steps to demonstrate that you have made a career transition? While your college degree may not affect your application chances, many graduate school programs have requisite courses that you have to enroll as a post-bac to make up for classes you’ve never taken.

Much like your undergraduate personal statement, use your graduates admissions essay to explain the directional change (if there is one) in your career and pull all the relevant pieces in your life to demonstrate your fit. If the undergraduate personal statement is to write about who you are personally, the graduate admissions essay is to write about who you want to be professionally. Make links between your previous degree and the one you wish to gain. If you majored in math and attend graduate school for marketing, draw links and explain how the degree you earned in math can prepare you for the one you want to pursue. Reflect on your work experience and use concrete examples to show how it has prepared you to succeed in this new field.

Finally, explain the transition you’re making if there is one. The graduate admissions will be curious as to what triggered this decision for you to switch fields and what you plan to do if you were accepted into the program.

So, whether you’re just settling into your college dorm room for the last time, or tired of looking at your work cubicle everyday, know that there’s a possibility for you to attend graduate school and take a step closer to the field you’re most passionate about.


  • Frances Wong

    A math major turned growth hacker, Frances has worked in PR and marketing in Hong Kong, New York and San Francisco. ​AdmitSee is her third edtech startup, coming from Course Hero and Purpella.​ Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. ​Fun Fact: ​Frances was a certified and licensed EMT during her time at Georgetown.

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