Starting out a graduate school application can be a puzzle, most applicants know zilch about when to apply, how to apply and several other prerequisites to make their journey less challenging. In this article, we’ll be taking you through seven core ways to start your graduate school application right.
- Start Early
When is the best time to start? A year ahead especially for the U.S. and Canadian universities and if you’re targeting scholarships. If you want to begin graduate school in Fall (Aug/Sep) 2021, then you want to begin now in July and by September latest. Also, there are several things you’ll need to work on for your graduate application such as your personal statements, recommendation letters, your CV, and so on so starting early is key.
- Research Each University
If you want to secure admission and funding then you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching your universities. You’ll need to look up the school requirements, acceptance GPA, grades, and test scores you’ll need to gain admission. You’ll also need to look at the curriculum/classes, the specializations available for your degree of interest, the opportunities for internships, and job prospects afterward.
- Create an Application Roadmap or Blueprint
What do I mean by a roadmap or blueprint? It just means creating a strategy or plan ahead of time that helps you achieve your desired goal. It can be on word or excel but you’ll need it to stay on top of your applications and deadlines. It will also stop you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, you’ll need to request recommendation letters from your professors so put a deadline for that on the roadmap. Ensure that you check this roadmap regularly to stay on track and haven’t forgotten anything.
- Create Time to Prepare for the Required Exams
If you want to get admission and a substantial scholarship then scoring high on the required exams like the GRE or GMAT is important. It’s even more important when your undergraduate GPA is on the lower side. There are no shortcuts to excelling on the GRE, the only way to excel is to create time for studying. Most people need tutorials or coaching so if you’re one of those then get the help you need. Tutoring can be expensive but it’s an investment in yourself.
- Be Specific on Your Personal Statements or Essays
Each essay has to be tailored to each school even if you’re applying for the same degree for all of them. This is why it’s important to do proper research on all your schools so you are able to give specific examples of why you want to apply to each school’s program. Avoid using generic statements and rather than tell, show you are passionate about the degree or school of choice by using examples.
- Spend Time Creating A Theme for Your Application
One of the ways your application will stand out is if you’ve given a lot of thought to how you want to tell your story or the identity you’ll like to portray in your essays and your online application. We all have a story to tell and experiences we’ve been through that make us all unique. Whether it was a challenge or obstacle you overcame, how you overcame them, and what you learned from that experience. The more authentic you come across, the more memorable you’ll be.
- Ensure Someone Proofreads Your Application
You’ve worked hard on ensuring that your application is strong, the final step is to make sure that someone you consider as a detail-oriented person and a great writer looks over your whole application especially your essays. Even the best writers struggle to edit their own work. The last thing you want is to have your application filled with grammatical errors so get at least one person to look over it and give you detailed feedback and comments and make the necessary changes.
Follow these 7 tips and your graduate application will be smooth sailing.