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order of submitting app materials

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I am planning to apply this fall. Would it be ok if my test scores and letters of recommendation are submitted before my actual application? Does the order matter?

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I think it depends on the school. One school I applied to, I sent my IELTS test score in August and apparently you need to have an online application first so that they can track it. I ended up resending it in December.

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When I wrote the GRE in June 2011, I had indicated which schools to send the scores to, even though I hadn't started the application forms until late November/early December. I believe ETS sends a batch of scores to all the schools every so often (2 weeks? 1 month? more? not sure) and the scores just accumulate. When you submit your application, you are asked to indicate your testing reference number, and the date(s) you took the test. They then go and look up this information and match your application to the database they already have.

The only school where I ran into trouble was when I had used ETS' school lookup tool to find the institution code for one of my schools, but it turns out there was a glitch and there were two codes listed -- I picked the wrong one. But in the end, they were happy with my unofficial ETS report (or maybe they eventually found the right score).

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Also note, and this may have changed, you don't have to list schools when you take the exam - you can go in there and add them later. I'm not sure if you lose the four freebies (if you do that is incredibly greedy on the part of ETS - but hey they're just playing to form), so you might want to look into that.

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Yeah you do lose the four freebies if you don't choose them either before or right after writing the test. So it could be worth it to at least look up 4 schools (other than your undergrad) you know you will want to apply to (you get scores sent to your undergrad school for free too). It's a no-lose thing, since if you change your mind, it won't hurt you. It's something like $23 US per school afterwards (but at least it will send all of your scores, subject + general if you want it to, so it's not $23 per test per school!).

However, ETS new service ("ScoreSelect") is even more greedy! Basically you will soon have the choice of these free options for the four free schools (chosen on or before the test day).

1. Send all the scores from all test dates (currently the way it works now)

2. Send the scores from the MOST RECENT test only.

After the test day, you can still pay the $23 or whatever to send more score reports, but now you have an additional option:

3. Send the scores from ANY ONE test date of your choosing!

So, it allows you to show only your best score, but to get this advantage, you will have to pay. It's not clear whether you have to pay extra for Option #3 either!

More info here: http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/scoreselect

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Thanks, that's helpful. But would it be ok to have letters of recommendation sent in before you submit your application?

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Thanks, that's helpful. But would it be ok to have letters of recommendation sent in before you submit your application?

As contretemps stated, it really depends on the school. If it doesn't say explicitly on the school's web site, then I suggest that you contact the grad program coordinator. Your answer is just a phone call or an email away.

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Asking is the best. But it might be helpful to know that for many schools, you register your recommenders through an online system as part of your application form. The system will automatically contact your references via email and usually provide them with a link to a place where they can login and enter their letter of recommendation. If this is the case, then yes, you will have to start your application before you can do this. However, many schools will open their application system over the summer, if you are anxious to start. But I would really recommend waiting so you can have more things to add, and also so you ask your recommenders for all the letters at the same time, it will be more convenient.

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Thanks, that's helpful. But would it be ok to have letters of recommendation sent in before you submit your application?

How soon are you talking about? Realistically the first thing that should (and will) be in, is your application. LOR wont go in until you specify who will be writing them, and unless a program is stuck in the stone-age they will get an email asking your referals to submit them.

To be honest I think you should just breathe and enjoy the free time you have. Submitting materials early isn't going to give you a leg up and might just confuse things for you (the Excel sheet is a good idea). For most schools, so long as your app is in on time then you are golden, with allowing the rest of the materials to come in. Other schools demand for ALL materials to be in by application deadline - so I would look to having the application done a month in advance, and allow the rest of the materials to catch up.

But for now, just enjoy the summer.

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