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Applying to Graduate School

Written by ESLI
Published on 2018-06-01

Applications!  They are so confusing and want so much information! We need letters of recommendation, resumés, personal statements…yikes!  Even with an Admissions Coordinator helping out, it’s a lot of work and frustration. With the added obstacle of different cultural expectations for the application that International Students face, it is easy to feel like you are doing something wrong.

There are ways to make the process easier, however. The US News and World Reports offers tips for really doing well on your graduate school application—which means making the process a little easier to understand and do well on!  I speak for the Admissions Coordinators when I say that the graduate application process can be difficult, but students who take the time to really prepare usually do very well.
The first tip is to relax. Breathe. Do NOT panic. Tip 2 is to give yourself plenty of time before the application deadline to gather everything together.  If you have plenty of time, you are able to stay calm and keep your thoughts clear while you are writing your personal statement or your resumé.

The third tip is to follow directions. This is the most important bit of advice in this post! We have had students turned down because they did not thoroughly follow directions for their personal statement and forgot to mention the program they were applying to. Or they have not provided contact information for their references. There are a dozen ways to miss an instruction and sink your application, so be sure to pay careful attention to what the school is asking you to do!  If you are not sure what they are asking for, your Admissions Coordinator is always here to help answer your questions.


Tip 4 is to show the graduate admissions committee that you care—show your passion for your chosen major! Make sure you make connections between what you love to do and the program you have applied for. But be careful, too. You want to make sure you always sound professional, and that you never sound aggressive or demanding. It can be tricky to choose the right words, and it’s best for International Students to have someone who can review their writing to make sure it says what they want it to say.
The 5th tip is to have someone look over your statement, resumé, letters of recommendation, and anything else you submit. You want to make sure that your spelling and grammar is as good as it can be. Graduate admissions expect there to be some mistakes in your writing, because they know you are an international student, but they will also appreciate the effort you take to make it easy for them to get to know you.

Above all, in all the writing and preparation you do, be yourself. Don’t worry about looking like the most perfect candidate for the program.  You want the graduate committee to feel as if they know who you are, and what you care about. They want to understand why you want to be a part of their program and what you will do once you are done with it. So show them who you are, and don’t try to pretend to be perfect. We are all human, and it’s okay to let the graduate committee see that. It’s how you make yourself stand out!
Applying for graduate school can be intimidating and frustrating, but if you follow some basic tips for preparing your application documents, it’s not that bad!  So remember to breathe and relax, be yourself, and show your passion for the program you are applying to. Never forget that your Admissions Coordinator is here to help you any time.

Tips taken from https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/08/10/7-tips-for-completing-grad-school-applications

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