Applying and Getting Into Grad School: 5 Easy Tips
As someone who just started grad school round two, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about getting in and what you need to know during the process! The process is overwhelming and stressful and can leave you not wanting to bother at all. Today, I want to share with my 5 easy tips for getting that so sought after acceptance letter and making the process a little less scary and intimidating!
1) Make sure you read all the requirements for applying!
One of the worst things about applying to graduate school is figuring out what the pre-requisites for the program are and what other things are required to apply. Before you make a decision on where you are applying, make sure you read every little detail on their website and don't be afraid to email or call for clarification. There is nothing worse than having everything ready to apply, only to realized you missed the fine print that stated the class had to be taken within the past five years... (not still bitter about that at all...)
2) Don't downplay your accomplishments!
This is the time to have all the confidence in the world and flaunt your accomplishments! Whether it is in your personal statement or your interview, don't be afraid to share what you've done. Of course, don't be cocky about it but many people have a hard time talking about themselves and get stuck on this when it comes to the grad school process. Don't be that person!
3) Have your recommenders for your letters of recommendation ready to go early and have back ups!
I cannot stress how important this is. People have busy lives and asking someone to write a letter of recommendation can sometimes be an easy thing to ask of them and other times, not so much. You will need to give your recommenders plenty of time and you do NOT want it to hold up your application especially with how competitive many programs are these days. Also, there may be a recommender that you simply cannot get to complete it no matter how much you remind them. For these cases, rather than making things awkward, have a back up. That way, you can ensure things get done on time and you keep your stress to a minimum! An extra letter of recommendation is never a bad thing!
4) Don't apply to 23284 programs because everyone told you that was your best chances.
Now, I understand many programs are competitive but applying to grad school is EXPENSIVE and keeping that many things straight is STRESSFUL. By the end of that many applications, you will wish you never had applied. Diversifying and applying to multiple programs is fine but do not go over board. You will end up going nuts and not be able to focus on any of them and therefore reduce your chances of getting in regardless. Better to focus on less schools and give them your all during the application and interview process.
5) Follow up with programs if you get waitlisted.
Don't lose hope if you get waitlisted! As mentioned above, people usually apply to tons of programs and often, people will even pay to reserve their seat somewhere until they hear back from their preferred school then let go of the seat later on. So even if it seems late in the game, there is still definitely hope! Email the school and ask for an update! You never know!
Best of luck on your grad school journey! You're going to kill it!