Q1. How do I select a graduate school?
Students should research carefully to select a program and school that best serves their interest and future career prospects. Students should invest time in putting together a list of criteria most important to them in selecting a graduate school. Factors to be considered include: location, size, graduate programs, student profiles, campus environment, co-curricular activities, scholarship opportunity, financial aid, career prospects, housing and others. This will help students weigh each factor and identify their desired list of schools.
(a) TOEFL - Test Of English as a Foreign Language : Official TOEFL
score must be sent to the school or college through ETS. (Specifically for
(b) GRE - Official GRE score must be sent to the school or college through ETS;
(c) Financial proof of a student's fund availability - Original copy of a bank or financial institution's statement;
(d) Admission Essay or Statement of Purpose & Intent;
(e) Undergraduate transcripts;
(f) High school transcripts;
(g) Three (3) Letters of Recommendation from professors;
(h) Application Fees - A draft or money order made payable in the institution's name. (for US residents only - application fees can be made payable through a check or credit card);
(i)A professional resume;
(j) Photo's - These may be required by some schools/colleges/institutions;
(k) All copies of certificates and letters of Honor & Achievements in all fields. Its a good idea to send these because some schools/colleges/universities/institutions have a separate quota and may consider students to be eligible for admission based on these additional qualifications and accomplishments.
All the above documentation must be either in English or should have an English translation attached and notarized.
Note: Students should not send original copies of their mark sheets. These are not usually returned. If possible, students should have all their documents notarized or certified by the issuing institution.
A recent study shows that people with advanced degrees earn more money than people without advanced degrees. Return on investment, however, is not just a numbers game. People do not only go to graduate school so that they can make more money. In fact, people resort to graduate programs because they want to transition from their current job role or completely change their career. A graduate degree allows people to make such a change. Also, higher education always opens more doors to specialized career opportunities.
Q4. What does it mean to be deferred or
placed on hold?
The hold or deferred status is most common in law school admissions, but there are other graduate and professional schools that have hold and deferral policies. If students are placed on hold, it typically means that the graduate school is not yet ready to make a final decision on the candidate's application. Usually, students can get deferred if they have a weak spot in their application like low grades or few listed accomplishments. It is a good idea for students to always strengthen their credentials by sending an additional letter of recommendation, or a letter that confirms their interest in the school. Also, students should not shy away from highlighting any recent accomplishments, such as a new project or an award.
However, if students are applying to business schools, they may likely get a different kind of deferral. MBA programs sometimes grant a two-year deferral to outstanding applicants who apply to business school in their senior year of college. In this case, the deferral means the program has accepted them on the condition that they work for two years before starting school.
What can students do to improve their chances of seeking admission when they
are wait listed?
Once a student is wait listed, it is perfectly acceptable to call the admissions office to find out the number of candidates on the wait list. The school's process for reviewing and evaluating those candidates, and when the office plans to notify them. The student should also inquire if additional information can enhance their chances of admission and accordingly prepare to submit documents that will strengthen their credentials, such as an additional letter of recommendation, or any recent accomplishments, such as a new project, publication, or award.
students should read
the school's instruction on its wait list carefully. As few programs
require students to fill out a form and submit with the
admissions office inorder to remain on the wait list. If the school
does not receive a student's form on time, the admissions office has the
authority to take their name off the list.
It is a good practice for students to call the admissions office periodically (but not every day) to inquire about their status.While most schools are open to student calls, some admission offices discourage direct contact with candidates. Students in such cases, must learn to be patient. Wait-list candidates are often notified between June and August regarding their admission status.
Q6. What can students expect in a graduate school
A graduate school interview is similar to a job interview. Students should be prepared to talk about their goals, their application of knowledge in the field, and research interests. Candidates should invest some time in researching about the school before the interview so that they can articulate clearly how their goals match its program.
Here is a list of questions which students can expect in a graduate school interview:
1.How did you become interested in this academic or professional field?
2.What have you accomplished so far that strengthens your interest in the program?
Answer should be supported with examples that include course work, honor's thesis, research projects, internships, volunteer experience, professional work, awards, and publications.
3.Why do you want to pursue a graduate or professional degree?
4.Why are you applying to this school?
Answer should be supported with examples that include faculty, curriculum, resources, field work, internships, and reputation of the institution and/or department.
5.What are your future goals? How will this graduate program help you meet your goals?
During the interview, students should demonstrate that they have given careful thought to applying for graduate or professional school by asking questions about the academic program, internship opportunities, access to faculty, job placement information, and student life resources.
Note: Doctoral programs often schedule interviews with more than one faculty member. MBA programs, on the other hand, often train alumni to interview applicants. Either way, students need to invest time for preparation.
Where can students find information on
assistantships or fellowship opportunities in graduate school?
Students must find out if the graduate program they are considering awards assistantships or fellowships. These awards often include tuition reimbursement and a stipend for either teaching an introductory-level course or working with a professor on a research project. Also, many graduate programs offer scholarships that cover full or partial tuition. An assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship can help toward the cost of a graduate education and, perhaps, eliminate the need for students to work full time.
If however, students are not eligible for scholarship, fellowship or assistantship opportunities and are interested in taking up part or full-time jobs, should contact the graduate school's admissions office for more information. Often the career planning office has both full- and part-time job listings for students. Also, there may be part-time opportunities for students within the campus which are posted on the campus bulletin board and published in the school's newspaper.
How can student's find jobs that are in a different field from their
Students can start by locating alumni's who are working in the field. Many graduate programs have an alumni directory, which lists where alumni are employed. Some directories provide mail addresses and/or phone numbers of alumni who are willing to talk to students and recent graduates about their careers. Students can also consult their university's career planning office and interact with a career counselor and discuss job search and career opportunities within their field.
In addition, most schools survey recent grads every year about their jobs, employers, and salaries. These surveys, often referred to as career surveys or reports, offer insights into the employment opportunities available for students with similar credentials.
It is definitely a good idea for students to contact faculty members to get more information on the program. Many professors respond to prospective student's email messages and letters. They want to work with bright and curious graduate students who are equally passionate about their research and academic field. Besides, communicating with professors may also help students choose a certain program.
In this day and age, graduate programs can truly be customized to suit a particular student's needs. When choosing between campus culture vs.online academia, students should take into account both their lifestyle and learning style. For instance, most working professionals looking to earn a master's degree usually prefer an online option as they get the flexibility in their schedule to pursue both. Again, if students want to take up a specific grad program which is not available locally, an online course is their answer. Not all incoming students are willing or able to relocate. Today, a vitual classroom is as conventional as being physically on campus. However, students should research and ensure that their select online programs are accredited and reputed within academia and public/ private industry.