The graduate study application process, though a tasking and time-consuming one, is an interesting exercise. It is an integral element of the study preparation checklist and often the first thing to be checked out. Irrespective of the degree type, the application process is generally similar. However, it differs in a few ways, especially at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Differences between Undergraduate and Graduate School Application
As an applicant, you are required to write convincing essays, prove your academic & social aptitude, and pass the language proficiency test. This is statutory for undergraduate and postgraduate admission applications. However, some factors distinguish these two. They include
Before applying to a graduate school, you are expected to have finished your undergraduate training, especially with a bachelor’s degree type. For the applications, you require a statement of result, a school certificate (if available), and most importantly, the undergraduate academic transcript. Most graduate programs also request a research proposal in the intended field of study.
For undergraduate application, you require secondary school education certificates.
Work & Volunteering experience
At the time of application for undergraduate studies, applicants are usually young and do not need to rely on a robust volunteering/work experience to better stand a chance of getting admitted.
However, this is different for graduate school applicants. While every part of the application process is vital, previous work and volunteering experience are significantly considered by the application screening team.
During undergraduate study applications, you are allowed to choose as many as three minors in addition to your major area of specialization. This allows for flexibility and ease of switching the major from one program to another. In the USA, research has shown that over 76% of undergraduate students do change their majors, at least once; simply because the application process already created an avenue for it.
Conversely, for graduate school, you only apply for a single area of specialization. As a graduate school applicant, you are expected to have fully decided on your program of interest before applying.
5 Common mistakes in Graduate School Application
A mistake in your application process for a graduate school would be a dodgy one. They could cost you the much-desired admission, make you end up studying a course that is irrelevant to your career goals, and simply ruin the graduate school experience. To avoid such mistakes, you must identify them.
Some common mistakes in graduate school application include:
The importance of thorough research during graduate school applications can’t be possibly over-discussed. It includes making the best program and school choice, sourcing the required application documents, and navigating the requirements for the process. Extensive research is pertinent and must be treated as such. Some students have ended up in the wrong program, school, region, and even a rejection letter simply because they failed in the first prominent area – research.
Wrong recommendation letter
Having influential members of the society write your recommendation letters would be highly beneficial. However, it’s a problem when you have no personal relationship with the writer, or his area of expertise is completely unrelated to your chosen program. A common mistake most graduate school applicants make is asking someone they do not have a personal relationship with to write their recommendation, or more so, having the two or three letters all written by individuals who aren’t renowned in their intended area of postgraduate studies. You should avoid this mistake.
Deficient personal statement and answers to application questions
The personal statement is the only opportunity you get to tell the screening officers about yourself. This letter is expected to be creative and properly articulated and is important that it’s original.
Some students go wrong in writing their personal statement by being overly cliche, conversational and cocky; which in turn, tells on the application process. Most applicants also fail to pay thorough attention to the application questions. Every element of the application is essential, and to be successful, you must treat all application requests as essentials.
Failure to proofread
Owing to how rigorous this process is, you can easily make mistakes with grammar, spelling, or answers to questions. This is a common mistake that has denied many their admission.
Hence, you must proofread your work before punching the “send” button.
While all the factors already discussed are significant, a late application has cost more eligible applicants their admission than anything else. Most aspiring students apply at the deadline or procrastinate till then before sending in the completed application. This is wrong and could cost you the opportunity to study in the school of your dreams.
No one is above making mistakes. It is regarded as an inevitable part of living. However, some mistakes are extremely detrimental and should be avoided at all costs. Common mistakes like late application, failure to proofread, wrong recommendation, poor research, and many others can be easily avoided. Don’t let these mistakes deprive you of the opportunity to study in the school of your dreams.