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Admission procedure and stages??


gurumaster8899
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So basically all applications go through an initial screening stage, before being viewed by the admission committee of the certain department to which you are applying?

How does that work for an international student?

what are the criteria used for the initial screening?

any advice to make your application go all the way?

thank you

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It varies by department. At some places the entirety of the application is at least skimmed; others might not do any reading until they've weeded out those with GREs or GPAs below some threshold; there's probably somewhere that throws all the applications down a flight of stairs and admits everyone whose folder landed on the top two steps.

As for being an international, the process is obstensibly the same as for everyone else. It is harder to get in as an international; the assumption is often that as a rule foreign universities aren't as good as US ones and thus applicants aren't as good. It's BS of course (any particular foreign university may be better or worse than a particular US one, but my impression is that some in the US will grudgungly admit that Cambridge and Oxford might be as good as the good-but-not-great US schools) but there's not much you can do about it, and your app goes through the same stages as everyone else's.

As for getting your application "all the way"? Well, there aren't actually that many things you control, or at least that you can change between now and submitting your application. CV, GREs, GPA - you have what you have. Letters - you can choose your writers but rarely do you find out, let alone control,what is written.

That leaves your SoP and writing sample as your chance to shine. In some fields applicants contact faculty before applying; this may get them interested enough to advocate for you but is probably more useful in helping you tailor your SoP. I seems there's variation by both field and school as to whether this is expected/accepted, so do some reseaech first.

Good luck.

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So basically all applications go through an initial screening stage, before being viewed by the admission committee of the certain department to which you are applying?

Most schools probably have some kind of initial screening but it'll change from school to school. Some might have some GPA or GRE score cutoff and throw out every app that doesn't make the cut; others might have a secretary or junior faculty member sift through the rejected pile to pick out anyone who stands out and move them back to the review pile. Some might distribute the files to 2-3 faculty members for an initial read, then the entire committee will convene and read only those files that made it through the initial stage. And then some school will admit every 17th file, or only candidates whose name contains a "g", or whatever.

How does that work for an international student?

Basically the same as everyone else. Internationals might have a harder time getting past GPA cutoffs if they come from unknown schools in obscure countries, because of how their scores are translated into the American grade system. If the school you apply to doesn't know your school and trust its grading system, it might compute your GPA to a lower one in US standards. You'll never know, though, because no one will tell you how they computed your GPA.. On the other hand, internationals might get by with lower (verbal) GRE scores in certain fields, because schools take into account that the test is harder for non-native speakers than it is for native speakers.

what are the criteria used for the initial screening?

Usually the GPA and GRE scores are mentioned as initial screening criteria. Also, having an incomplete application could get a person disqualified at this stage (except if they are missing a rec, those often arrive late due to no fault of the student--and schools know that).

any advice to make your application go all the way?

This board is full of advice on how to "go all the way". There's no one winning formula. The common wisdom is: once you have scores that'll get you past the initial cutoff (you need to find out if they exist in your field and what they are), concentrate on your essays. Those are your main means of influencing the admissions committee. Write a killer SOP (=spend months writing and re-writing it, until you can't see it anymore. Let as many people as possible read it - profs, friends, internet strangers. Make sure it answers each school's prompt and is geared toward that specific program), and give the best writing sample you can produce. That's where you show you have the passion and ability to conduct research in your chosen field.

More obviously: make sure the entire app arrives at the grad school on time. Read the school's website carefully to make sure you've addressed all the requirements. Revisit occasionally to make sure nothing has been added or changed (like the deadline). Contact potential advisers at each school, if that's customary in your field.

Good luck.

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