Getting into a prestigious college is hard enough as an undergraduate, but the ball game changes when you apply to graduate school. Expectations are much higher, finances are harder to acquire, and the list goes on. But a master’s degree/doctoral degree will likely improve your likeliness of getting a higher paying, more prestigious job. Here are some tips on how to adequately prepare for the graduate school.
Create good relationships with your professors
Throughout your undergraduate degree, maintain good, authentic relationships with your professors. If you interact with them a lot by asking questions, you create more dialogue and familiarity, so don’t be shy. A professor remembers students who do exceedingly well, and who made a presence in the class. Try to do both!
Ask for recommendations
After creating a solid relationship with your professors, it won’t hurt to ask for recommendations. Most graduate school programs require recommendations (from professors, student advisors, etc.) so it’s best to get your foot in the door whenever you can. A recommendation from a well-accredited professional in the industry will give you a great leg up when it comes to your application.
Establish a resume
Establishing a resume is extremely important. It’s one thing to complete an undergraduate degree, but to gain real-world experience is just as important. It will show the graduate program that you can take what you have learned in your studies and apply it to a position and succeed. This lets the program know that you would be a great candidate for them, and you have lots of great potential in the field you are applying for.
Join organizations at your school
Joining organizations at your school will provide you with an opportunity to network with others in the same/similar program as you learn more about the field, and have inside access to workshops, key speakers, and much more. This will be something to include on your resume.
Completing internships is a huge factor when applying to graduate school. As mentioned, it’s one thing to complete your degree, but another to utilize the skills learned and put them to practice. Completing an internship will let the program admissions committee know that you are capable of more than just a degree, and will result in you more likely getting admitted than someone who didn’t complete an internship. It’s recommended that you take part in a few internships to get well-rounded experience in different environments. The more diverse you are, the more competitive your application will be.
Get involved in community service
Getting involved in community service will show that you are not only smart and hard-working, but you are dedicated to helping those less fortunate than you. It’s always important to give back, and most universities have a philanthropy program, so they will appreciate any volunteer work that you take part in.
Submit your application early
Be ahead of the game and submit your application as early as you can. This doesn’t mean rush - be as meticulous as you possibly can, but don’t wait until the last minute (or close to the last minute) to submit your application. With some schools, the earlier you submit your transcripts, grades, recommendations, resume, etc., the sooner you get your decision. If this isn’t the case for your school, that’s fine, at least the program will see that you’re not a procrastinator!
Write a compelling essay
A big factor in a graduate application that some students don’t take too seriously is the essay portion. It seems like it’s there just to be there, right? Wrong. The essay portion highly influences the admissions committee’s decision, and is a chance for students to showcase their personality, what they have been through in life, their passions, and more. You want to take a lot of time on the essay (or in some cases multiple essays) and make it/them stand out. It’s not easy to write a compelling essay with a limited amount of words based on a prompt like many people may think. It requires figuring out how to entice the reader, what words to cut to fit the word count, and more.
Do you want to solidify your application? Do you feel everything is well-rounded, but you’re stumped on the essay portion? We can help you!
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