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Graduate School


Many students grapple with the question of whether or not to pursue a graduate degree. For some programs (typically those more rooted in health and technology), a graduate degree is necessary to practice in the field. For other programs, there is no right or wrong answer—it depends on the interests of the individual.

Talk with professors in your field to learn more about their personal career path, how a graduate degree could affect your competitiveness within the industry, and the different options available to you.



  • Is there a specific subject area I want to learn more about?
  • Could gaining knowledge in a focused area, in addition to my undergraduate knowledge, benefit me in the job market?
  • Am I passionate enough about this material to continue studying and producing work in the field?
  • Would it make more sense for me to go directly to graduate school, or take a few years off and reconsider the option in the future?

NEVER be afraid to ask professors or advisors these questions. They were in your shoes once, and know better than anyone what answers and advice to give. 


When it comes to applying to programs beyond the undergraduate level, understanding the difference between a Resume and CV, and which one is appropriate to use can be confusing. Allow us to simplify:



A resume is a document, usually no longer than one page in length, designed to give employers a quick and targeted overview of your skills and qualifications for a specific position within an organization.  When applying for a job, your resume is the appropriate document to send.



A CV, (also called a curriculum vitae or a vita), is much longer, and can be anywhere from 2-20 pages, depending on an individual’s level of education and list of accomplishments. CVs are designed to inform readers about your life accomplishments, especially within the realm of academia. When applying to graduate, professional, law, or medical schools, submitting a CV will give readers a more complete idea of your ability to thrive in their program.


TIP: A program will usually specify which document they want attached to your application. In instances where this is not the case, use your best judgment as to which document makes more sense for the context, or simply ask a recruiter politely which one they would prefer to see.


Click here for more specific guidelines on how to write effective resumes and CVs.


Personal statements and statements of purpose are documents that typically carry a lot of weight within your application package. Your grades, test scores, and accomplishments give recruiters an idea of how likely you are to succeed in their program, but your statement is a chance to tell recruiters:

  • Who you are beyond your test scores and grades?
  • What differentiates you from other applicants?
  • Why should they put their faith in you as a candidate?

Though personal statements and statements of purpose sounds very similar, there are subtle differences between the two.


A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE is a focused explanation of why you are applying to a specific program. You may want to explain details such as how your research interests align with a professor in this particular program, or how this program offers a unique focus or combination of disciplines that fit your academic goals more closely than other programs. When writing a statement of purpose, avoid using flowery language or analogies that do not directly address why you wish to study in this particular program.

A PERSONAL STATEMENT has more flexibility, and is often designed to gain more insight about your character and aspirations, rather than the program itself. Personal statements tend to be better for describing your passion for your field, why you are choosing to pursue a graduate degree, and where you would like to go with it. While you should still touch on why you are a good fit for this specific program, you have more freedom in how you choose to convey that message.


Occasionally, programs will ask for both types of statements. This can seem especially daunting having to craft two distinct pictures of yourself, but is manageable as long as you’re sure to organize your thoughts. When asked for both types, the best path to follow is to write your statement of purpose first, laying out all the specific details and describing your intent. It will then be easier to move on in the personal statement to describing why you chose this path, or what indirect experiences may have impacted your journey.


Want to know more? Check out the PURDUE OWL to view tips on how to write a Personal Statement and examples!  


When it comes to preparing for graduate school, the earlier you start to research your options, the easier the process will be for you later on when the deadlines begin rapidly approaching.  Some students start to speak with professors and advisers about suggested paths or programs as early as their junior year.  Of course, students who do not know they intend to go graduate school early on can still get accepted to programs, but simply must be more organized as they have shorter amounts of time to prepare application materials.

The majority of PhD program applications are usually due in December or January, while Masters program deadlines can be as early as November, or as late as March. Each program is different, so be sure to check with your specific program and mark important dates on your calendar. A good graduate school preparation timeline to follow can be seen below:



  • Begin consulting advisers and professors to discover if graduate school is right for you, what path you might take, and which schools have strong programs for your area of focus.



  • Begin putting together your list of programs that you want to apply to, adding or cutting schools as you go along.
  • Figure out which standardized test your field requires –the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT—and take a practice test to gauge how much time you’ll need to study before you take the real test.
  • If your scores on the practice test are lower than where you’d like them to be, consider registering for a test preparation course.
  • Register ahead of time for the real test. Slots fill up quickly at testing centers, so don’t save this step until a few days before you intend to take the test.



  • Begin crafting your personal statement and/or statement of purpose, brainstorming ideas for the best ways to accurately portray yourself.
  • Take your standardized test, leaving time in the coming months to retake it if you’re not happy with your scores on the first time around.
  • Research financial options. Consider government agencies, philanthropic organizations, campus fellowships, teaching assistantships, professional organizations, and honor societies as potential sources and funding.



  • Meet with faculty members in your department to discuss your personal statement, program options and potential funding sources.
  • Finalize the list of schools you will apply to.
  • Get organized and create a file for each school and retain all related application material for your records.
  • If needed, take your standardized tests again and ensure your scores are sent to the appropriate schools.
  • Complete your personal statement and have it reviewed by the CCO staff during Drop-Ins.
  • Set up IN-PERSON meetings with faculty to request letters of recommendation. Arrive prepared and provide them with a copy of your statement of purpose, resume/curriculum vitae (CV), and the recommendation letter submission process and deadlines for each school.



  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions and request official copies be sent to the schools you have applied.
  • Submit application materials one month before the application timeline.
  • Remind your recommenders of when your letters of recommendation must be received.



  • Follow-up with the schools you have applied to and verify they have received all your application materials.
  • Conduct informational interviews with students who are currently in the programs you applied to in order to better understand the program and consider scheduling campus visits to the schools you’re most interest in.
  • Send thank you notes to your recommenders and update them on your application status.


The Center for Pre-Professional Advising at Purdue University provides you with the information you need to prepare for a career in a professional field -- from choosing the right career for you to determining what credentials you need to enter that field and applying to various programs. They also offer a professional file service that stores and distributes your collected letters of recommendation to certain health programs.


What is myCCO?

myCCO is a portal where Purdue students and alumni can apply for internships, full-time and part-time opportunities.


How can myCCO help me?

Employers posting jobs, internships, and other opportunities on myCCO want YOU. Using the myCCO service allows you to take advantage of Purdue University’s reputation and vast network of industry connections.

How do I get a myCCO account?

  1. As a first time user enter your PUID as both your user name and password.(NOTE: the first 2 digits MUST be a double zero (00) even if they're not included in your current PUID. For example: 0012345678). Your PUID (with the double zero) will always be your username to log in to myCCO. Once you have completed your myCCO profile, the system will send an email with your "NEW" password.
  2. Read the “Participation Agreement” and “Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy” before clicking “I Agree to Terms.”
  3. Complete all required fields when completing your profile.

Video Instructions


How can I make the most of myCCO? 

Upload Your Resume

  1.        Click on “Resumes ETC” on the top navigation bar.
  2.        Select “Add New.”
  3.        Add a descriptive label to help you remember each document. Employers will not be able to see the label.
  4.        Select your document type. Use “Other Documents” for your transcript.

Edit Profile Privacy to be included in Resume Books and receive emails from myCCO

  1. Resume Books are a feature of myCCO that allows employers to pull resumes from students who meet the criteria of a position they’re looking to fill. If you opt-in for resume books, you have the chance to receive an email or call from an employer about a position!
  2. CCO Career Consultants will email you every time there is an on-campus interviewing opportunity that hasn’t received a lot of applicants so you know about the opportunity. You will also receive the Inside Track-a weekly career newsletter that updates you on career events happening that week.

Search and Apply for Jobs & On-Campus Interviews

  1. Hover on “Jobs” on the top navigation bar.
  2. Click on “myCCO Interviews and Job Listings” on the drop-down menu.
  3. Use the search bar and the advanced search options to find job postings relevant you.
  4. Apply to a positing by clicking the “Apply” button and submitting the required documents. For some positions, you may not be able to apply. These positions are on-campus recruitment postings and you must meet all screening criteria, including major, degree, graduation date, and work authorization.
  5. Note: Read the job posting carefully as the employer may refer you to the company website to apply.

Create Job Search Agents

  1. After running an “Advanced Search,” Click “Saved Searches.”
  2. Give your search a title and set a schedule for new job posting to be sent to you.
  3. Select “Yes” for “New Results Only.”
  4. Click “Save.”

Video Instructions

Follow Purdue Internships on Twitter

  1. Purdue Internships keeps you connected to myCCO internship postings on a daily basis!


What else comes with a myCCO account?

  • Live Online Resume, Interview and Job Coaching: Brainfuse Job Now
  • Ability to practice interviewing using Big Interview
  • Access company data using Mergent Online
  • Access to listings of company information sessions
  • Network with company contacts who have recently recruited at Purdue
  • See what companies are coming to upcoming career fairs


Having trouble creating your account?

  • FORGOTTEN PASSWORD: If you think you have an existing account in myCCO but don't remember your PU-ID, email with the subject line: Existing myCCO Account Forgot PU-ID.
  • ALUMNI: If you need to request your PU-ID: Click here to submit the Alumni PU-ID Request form and the CCO will respond to your request within 3-5 business days.
  • FUTURE STUDENT: We look forward to seeing you on campus. Your PU-ID will work at the beginning of the semester that you start your full-time classes.
  • REGIONAL CAMPUS: Students attending any of the Purdue Regional Campuses or Statewide Technology locations pursuing a "Purdue" degree are eligible to utilize myCCO. Please contact your campus Career Services office.
  • POST DOC FELLOWS: Please complete the PU-ID Request form. In the Problem Description area please enter CURRENT POST DOC and the department that currently employs you. Note: When you create your myCCO account, select the graduation year you will finish your post doc position at Purdue University.

Have questions? Please contact the CCO at

I agree to:

Accurate Information: Certify my job search documents to be truthful and accurate

Grant Access: Allow CCO to provide my job search documents to prospective employers

Honor Commitments: Keep all appointments that I've scheduled with employers and CCO Staff

Genuine Interest: Sign up for interviews with only employers with whom I'm interested in working

Professional Conduct: Accept an offer of employment in good faith and immediately notify employers of acceptance or non-acceptance of the offer. Withdraw from interviewing process and no longer pursue positions with other employers

Report Suspicious Inqueries: Understand that job seekers can be deceived by organizations posing as legitimate employers. Evidence of this behavior includes requests for personal information (i.e. social security numbers or credit card numbers) and requests for money. If you're suspicious of such an organization, do not respond to them and please share details with us at

Consequences for Non-Compliance: Accept that failure to adhere to any point in this agreement may result in the removal of my interview privileges in the Center for Career Opportunities

The CCO agrees to:

Provide Services: Assist you with your career decision-making and job search activities

Access of Information: Provide access to a range of career opportunities and types of employers

Non-Discrimination: Provide access and reasonable accommodations to prospective employers without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability

Protect Confidentiality: Exercise sound judgment and fairness in maintaining your confidentiality

Student Advocacy: Respond to employer EEO non-compliance concerns and unethical behavior. Follow-up with those posting suspicious vacancies, when possible, and consult with students and alumni affected by this dubious behavior

On-campus Interviewing: Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy

If you must miss an interview, you are required to cancel it in advance. When you fail to cancel your interviews in a timely fashion or do not appear for your interviews, your actions reflect poorly on you as an individual and on the University as a whole. Not only do you inconvenience the employer, but you may also deprive another student of a valuable interview opportunity. These situations, if unchecked may also have more serious implications on the University's relationships with employers overall.

Therefore, the Center for Career Opportunities treats these incidents very seriously and advises you to take special note of the following Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy.

Interview Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellations will NOT be accepted via email or voice mail.
  • Students must appear in person in Young 132 to complete paper work before an interview can be cancelled
  • Students are required to give three business days or 72 hours notice to cancel an interview
  • Always investigate an alternate date with the employer before you cancel an interview
  • It is your responsibility to speak personally with the employer representative and explain why you will not be attending the interview. Be aware, however that the employer may still report you to the CCO
  • If you cancel an appointment directly with an employer, remember to also contact the CCO
  • Regional Campus Students ( Purdue Calumet, IUPUI, Purdue North Central and IUPU Ft Wayne ) are required to work through their Regional Career Services office to cancel interviews. The Regional Campus Liaison will forward the information regarding the cancellation

Sudden Illness or Serious Personal Emergency on Interview Day

  • Students are expected to contact the CCO (765) 494 - 3981 prior to their interview time. Employers check-in between 8 and 8:30 AM and should be notified prior to that time

Employers typically are not in the office on weekends. Monday appointments should be cancelled no later than Friday morning.

If you miss an interview:

  • Your myCCO account will be locked
  • You will receive an e-mail from CCO with instructions to come to Young 132 immediately to resolve this matter
  • You will be required to meet with a walk-in counselor and discuss the reason you missed the business appointment to which you committed
  • The discussion and your reason for missing the interview will determine whether or not your file will be reactivated and if you will have the opportunity to use myCCO in the future.