This post is for all those gearing up to submit graduate school applications this year. Successful applicants start gathering themselves early. It's September and application deadlines will be here before you know it. It's best to start compiling the various components of your application now.
Each month I’ll be posting a checklist of things to prepare in hopes that by mid November you'll be on schedule to submit all of your application materials by or before deadline. September’s checklist is as follows. Don’t miss the bus!
- Standardized Tests- If you have not done so already, register to take all required standardized tests. Select a test date that is as early in the Fall semester as possible. This will help you ensure that all of the programs that you're applying to receive your official scores prior to published submission deadlines.
- Narrow You Choices- At this point you should have a finalized list of all of the graduate programs that you will be applying to. If you’re still unsure make some time to visit your top choice schools this month. When visiting check out the facilities, meet with faculty and talk to current graduate students. Gather all available information so that you'll be prepared to make an informed decision and apply to a graduate program that is suited to meet your academic needs and aspirations.
- Print and Catalogue Application Materials- Print all application/admissions information for each program that you are applying to. Read application materials carefully and keep a record of every component of the application process. Make note of the number of letters of recommendation required as well as the number of official transcripts that must be submitted. Make sure you highlight each application deadline and make note of specific instructions/specialized deadlines for personal statements ( ie. page limitations), letters of recommendation, test scores and transcripts.
- Begin Your Personal Statement- Start this process by doing some research. Check out the blog we’ve posted here on TheGlamNERDS.com and visit other online resources that will give you tips and information on how to organize and draft your statement. Prepare an outline and meet with a professor or an advisor for feedback to make sure that you're headed in the right direction.
- Identify and Approach Recommenders- Now is the time to identify which of your professors you will ask to write your letters of recommendation. Please refer to the blog we’ve posted on recommendation letters for the play by play on navigating this process. Be sure to identify a faculty member that is familiar with your work and work ethic and has good things to say about you. Ask him/her to write your letter in person and after that conversation be sure to follow up and confirm with an email. Provide your recommender with a packet of information including the outline of your personal statement, your resume, any honors and awards, and or any information concerning any work that you and that professor have done together. This includes special research projects, lab work, publications, etc. Offer to meet with your recommender to review this packet and answer any questions the programs that you are applying to and/or your academic and professional goals.
I hope this helps. I’ll be back next month with more information. Best wishes to all of you preparing your applications and feel free to contact me with any specific questions.