Tips when Applying to Graduate School for Child Life

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The Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) will soon require specialists to have an advanced degree in child life in order to sit for the certification exam. As you begin your journey to become a Certified Child Life Specialist or if you are currently working with an undergrad degree and would like to strengthen your academic and skill set, graduate school might be something to consider.

Our guest blogger today is child life students at the University of Georgia, who are part of Little Lives Matter, a student led organization. They will be sharing tips in applying to graduate school.

1. Research, Research, Research 

Not every graduate school and program and going to be right for everyone so make sure you do your research and see what you are looking for in a program, how the program is set up, and which programs are going to be best for you and what you want to get out of the graduate experience

2. Contact the Program Directors

Call or email program directors and ask questions concerning the curriculum, what they look for in graduate students, what the admissions process is like, tentative dates on finding out if you got an interview and when you would find out acceptance, and how you can prepare for an interview if you were to receive one

3. Apply to multiple schools

Decide on a few schools that suit you and apply to multiple. Expand your search and don’t be scared to apply to programs outside of your comfort zone.


Once you have decided on where you want to apply, get organized. Go to each program’s website and see exactly what you need to get in, know what you have to submit and when the deadline is. Most schools require letters of recommendation, it’s best to ask for these letters in advance from when they are due. Make a list of each school in order of when their application deadline is and start working on each application.

5. No Procrastination

Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on applications and reaching out to the program directors. It’s a long process and it takes time.


Even though it’s a very stressful time of trying to meet deadlines and making sure not to forget things, it can get overwhelming at times. Just relax and have patience.

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Little Lives Matter is a student led organization at the University of Georgia that exists to create community among all undergraduate and graduate students in the field of Child Life. We exist to empower students in professional development and identity through networking and learning opportunities to connect with those in the profession of child life and other related fields. We exist to educate our campus and community on the importance of the field through awareness, public relations and community outreach. Finally, we exist to encourage the pediatric community through service towards the patients, families and staff.

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