Planning Your US Grad School Application
In order to successfully gain admission to US graduate schools, there are a number of key elements that you will need to have as you move forward in the application process.
Once you have decided where and when you would like to apply, the next big step is to obtain application forms for the schools you have selected. Most universities have mailing lists which you can sign-up for through their websites or by contacting the admissions office directly. Mailing lists are useful for requesting paper applications and prospectus brochures which will include more about academic curriculum, campus activities, and general information about the city of the university. Many schools also offer downloadable applications which are ideal if you are more comfortable with uploading documents digitally and do not want to submit anything that is handwritten.
Learn to ‘Market’ Yourself
When it comes to applying for graduate school, you are the ‘product’ that is on the market for the prospective ‘buyer’. You should think of your application as the key marketing document that will help finalize the sale. Everything in your application should contribute to the overall picture of who you are and clearly demonstrate that you belong on the course and demonstrate how you can make a solid contribution to those around you during your time on campus. Make sure to sell yourself honestly without embellishing the facts. You should frame your life experiences in a way that truthfully portrays who you really are and also who you would like to be, the following completion of your studies.
US Graduate Admissions Essays: Understanding Their Purpose
The Personal Statement, Statement of Purpose, or Candidate’s Admission Statement, depending on the university you apply to, it may have a different name but they all serve to work in favor of you showing the admissions officers what you’re made of!
Personal statements have two basic purposes: To indicate whether or not you can write a clear and coherent essay and also to illustrate a ‘three-dimensional’ portrait of you to prove you are indeed a candidate that deserves admission to your chosen course. This is essentially the opportunity for you to fill in the missing gaps between grades and test scores and also to explain your chosen career path and why you feel pursuing the course will enable you to achieve these goals. Your essay is also the perfect chance to explain hardship such as a bad grade in your first year or a semester away from school in more detail.
Gathering Letters of Recommendations
One of the most important items in your admissions portfolio is the recommendation, so start thinking about them as soon as possible. The whole process of identifying good recommenders, lining them up, and then making sure they provide winning letters can take a great deal of time. If you're still in college or a recent graduate, your college professors are likely to make the best references. This is especially true if you wish to study the same subject in grad school.
Been out of school for a while?
If you have been out of college for some time, it can be harder to find someone to write a letter of recommendation. The majority of graduate schools often make reasonable compromises for older students by accepting letters from line managers or colleagues who can attest to the intellectual abilities that specifically relate to success in graduate study.