for Students

Whether you are a working professional thinking about heading back for a graduate degree, an undergraduate exploring career options, or a high school student thinking about the future, this section of the website has much of the information you will need

Applying to graduate school is a complex process, but we’ve broken it down into steps and processes. There are suggestions, links to resources and examples of essays of successful applicants. The information is based on our many years of working with former foster youth and helping them apply for advanced degrees, first through a pilot project at UC Davis called the Guardian Professions Program (GPP), and now through MAPS.


If you are considering graduate school, but aren’t sure what you want to do or what degree to pursue, you are not alone. To start planning your next step, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT A DEGREE OR POSITION. You do not have to name a profession or a job. The important thing is to have a direction. This could be a precise objective or a somewhat vague plan. It just needs to be an idea that orients you towards the future. 


As you begin to explore advanced degrees and get a good idea of what kind of a program and career you wish to pursue, you can start to make a timeline as to how you are going to complete the many tasks associated with putting together a competitive application. This preparation work can involve deciding what kind of test you will need to take, how to get relevant pre-professional experience and who you might ask for recommendations.

Application Process

We have found it useful to think of the graduate school application as a portfolio of work. Your grades and test scores are important, but there are many other achievements that should be included in the documents you submit. Applying for an advanced degree is an opportunity to describe your past accomplishments, express your goals for the future, and generally attest to your strength and determination in meeting life’s challenges.


You may receive funding from the programs that offer you admission. These monetary awards are often fellowships based on merit or need. Or you might be offered a job as a teaching or research assistant, positions that provide tuition and a stipend. Make sure you ask questions about what other kinds of financial assistance will be available to you during your graduate program. Exploring resources outside the university is also an option.

We help California’s former foster youth apply to graduate programs and professional schools by providing the knowledge each applicant needs to create a competitive application and succeed.

MAPS is a California non-profit