Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Grad School
Graduate school is a destination for many people in undergrad, so competition is high. Preparation to apply for grad school should start as soon as your second year in college. The greatest recommendation I have is to utilize the career center - the website goes over this deeply, and there is also advising for graduate school as well. There is also a detailed list of what to do from 12 months out all the way up until getting accepted to a graduate program, which can be found here: http://careercenter.tamu.edu/Resources/Professional-School.
One thing that can help add to your resume is internships. Gaining real world experience through an internship is incredibly helpful in several ways. Even if you discover through your internship that you don’t like what you are doing, that can be very helpful in preparing for the future. Through an internship, you not only gain another line on your resume - you gain valuable skills and experience. Having internships on your resume showcases how serious you are about your future, and that you are actively preparing to be in graduate school.
Another step you can take to help your application along is participating in different organizations. Being active in organizations that are focused on volunteering or are focused on professional development, or even joining a sorority or fraternity shows you care about where you are going to school and want to be involved. It also shows that you can handle having several responsibilities at one time. Being involved in an organization for several years can also show your commitment, and if you are able to advance in leadership positions throughout your time in the organization, even better. Again, holding a leadership position can show that you are a competent, well-rounded student.
Working in a research lab can also be very beneficial, this can create a foundation for a relationship with a professor that will allow you to possibly add them as a reference in the future. Building relationships with your professors and taking classes that correlate with what you go to grad school for is also advisable. Make sure to gather recommendations that truly reflect your personality, and that come from those who know you well.
Above all, prepare for grad school like you should for exams - starting before you even think you need to. Looking at the programs you would like to get into and understanding the different requirements that these programs might have will save you time and frustration later on. Researching the programs and looking at who is getting in and what they are looking for ahead of time allows you to tailor the internships, organizations, and research you do in order to prepare yourself for grad school.