School is in full swing, and for many, it’s officially time to start thinking about graduate school applications. Navigating admissions requirements, studying for the GMAT or GRE, and filling out application after application can be just as time-consuming as a full-time job. Stay afloat with these seven simple steps – all the work will be worth it when you have an acceptance letter in hand.
- Start early and check deadlines.
From standardized tests to transcripts and letters of recommendation, there are many hoops to jump through. Start early, make a list of all the documents you need, and highlight important deadlines – including those for scholarship applications. Annotate a calendar or set up reminders on your phone to keep track.
- Figure out funding
Make a budget and factor in the application fee, the amount you would need in order to attend (think tuition, room and board, day-to-day expenses etc.), and the funds available to you from various sources. Be sure to update this throughout the application process.
- Book your standardized tests.
Find out which standardized tests you need to take. Most grad schools in the U.S. require GRE General Test scores, while some ask for a relevant GRE Subject Test. When booking your test date, allow plenty of time for your scores to be sent to various schools before the application deadline. You may also want to allow time to retake the test if you’re unhappy with your score the first time.
- Prepare for the GRE.
Like most standardized tests, the GRE is an acquired skill. The best scores go to those who spend time reviewing past papers, using specialized preparatory resources, and developing strategies. To keep costs down, look for second-hand test prep books online, and use free online resources such as QS Leap.
- Perfect your personal statement.
A strong personal statement is essential to your graduate school application. Enlist the help of your classmates, professors, friends and family. Your essay should sum up your academic achievements, intentions, and suitability for the course – and it should be 100% error free!
- Ask for references.
Ask for references from professors at least two months before the deadline. If possible, schedule an appointment with each reference to explain your motivations and intended area of study. Make sure your references comply with the guidelines set by your chosen school.
- Prepare for an interview.
Last but not least, prepare for your admissions interview. Spend time researching your chosen school and department in-depth, dress appropriately and comfortably, and use the opportunity to convey the strength of your interest in the program and institution. Don’t forget to smile!
Applying to Grad School is About to Get Easier.
If the application process still seems daunting, don’t worry – the QS World Grad School Tour is the perfect resource for you. On Monday, September 26, leading graduate schools from across the United States and Canada are gathering in DC to answer all of your questions in one place. This is your chance to meet admissions directors from top schools, including New York University’s CUSP, Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College, University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduate programs from Johns Hopkins University, and many more! You’ll meet representatives face to face, attend free info sessions and seminars, and will learn about the best masters and PhD programs in the world. Plus, there is up to $1.7 million available for graduate scholarships, offered exclusively to fair attendees.
For FREE entry to the fair, register here and mention Washingtonian at the door. Then congratulate yourself on overcoming your grad school application fears!
QS World Grad School Tour Washington DC
Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel
1143 New Hampshire Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20037
2:30pm – 8:00pm
This article is adapted from an original published on TopUniversities.com.