Grad school is a smart move for those who may not have majored in what they want their career to be in college or for those who may just want to further their education. However, it can be a nerve-wracking process where your future feels like it is on the line. Here are some tips from the pros on how to get through the application smoothly and get into your top choice!
The first thing you’re going to want to do if you are even thinking about grad school is do some research. Look into all different types of schools that offer your program. What does each school’s program focus on? What opportunities outside the classroom will you have? What can you afford? These are all important questions that will go into choosing schools. Making a spreadsheet with this information and anything else that may be important for you will make the whole process much easier. This will also allow you to attend school fairs and have specific questions for the representatives.
Once you have a list of where you want to go, create a list of deadlines and what is required for each application. This will allow you to pace yourself and not be rushed right before a deadline. You will be able to edit and perfect every aspect of your application if you plan your time well! Organization is half the work!
Now to the actual application! Focus on your personal statement! This is your way to stand out among your competitors and emphasize anything that might make you a more desirable candidate. Talk about your past achievements or activities and how they will make you a productive member of their school.
References are a great way for other people to talk, and hopefully brag about what working with you is like. This can be anyone including professors, bosses, or a mentor. Choose people who know you well and know how to write well. Bonus points if whoever is writing your letter is familiar or involved with your area of study.
Making a personal connection to someone in the program your applying to at different schools will take you a long way! This will help your application go beyond what you have put down on paper, as impressions you have made on others may work in your favor. This will also make you more memorable, as you become a person rather than an application. This person may even become your mentor or a very helpful person throughout your career!
Finally, a helpful tip is to be proactive. Make sure these schools know how much you want to be there and try to get them to feel the same way. Your opportunity to show this may be in your personal statement, an interview, or a school fair! Be yourself and do whatever you can to make yourself stand out and be a suitable scholar at their school.