The graduate school admissions process is not just completing a graduate school application and sending it in. Applying can be complicated and time-consuming. From filling out stacks and stacks of forms to trying to make a good impression on the graduate school admission committee, there's a whole lot to do.
This list will help you get the job done well and on time!
The DOs for the graduate admission process
- DO start your graduate school application one to one-and-a-half years before you plan to enroll.
- DO make sure you double-check all your deadlines -- they may be different than undergraduate deadlines.
- DO make every element of your application the best it can possibly be.
- DO get your financial aid application in as early as possible. Financial aid for grad school is limited.
- DO fill out your financial aid application online, if possible.
- DO read applications and directions carefully.
- DO make sure that everything that is supposed to be included is enclosed.
- DO start asking for letters of recommendation at least six months before your application deadline.
- DO fill out your own applications. Type the information yourself to avoid crucial mistakes.
- DO make copies of all applications, and practice filling one out before you complete the original.
- DO type or neatly print your answers, and then proofread the applications and essays several times for accuracy.
- DO ask someone else to proofread them for you as well.
- DO demonstrate that you are professional, focused, and very interested in the field you’ve chosen to study.
- DO be truthful, and do not exaggerate your accomplishments.
- DO keep a copy of all the forms you submit.
- DO be thorough and turn things in on time.
The DON'Ts for the graduate admission process
- DON'T use correction fluid. If you type your application, use a correctable typewriter or liftoff strips to correct mistakes. Better yet, fill out your application online.
- DON'T write in script. If you don’t have access to a computer or typewriter, print neatly.
- DON'T leave blank spaces. Missing information may cause your application to be sent back or delayed.
- DON'T be unclear. If the question calls for a specific answer, don’t try to dodge it by being vague.
- DON'T approach people about letters of recommendation at the last minute!
- DON'T go overboard on your personal essay. Treat it as a professional application, not a creative project.
- DON'T assume that the admission office has everything they need. Wait two or three weeks and then follow up to make sure.
- DON'T put things off!
Your fulfillment of the graduate school requirements is how the school sees you. Following this list of DOs and DON'Ts will help you make a good impression on the admission committee.