Katzenmusik Posted January 25, 2010 Share Posted January 25, 2010 (edited) At this point many of us have submitted our applications for admission in the 2010-11 school year, and we've had time to ruminate on what we might have done differently to improve the process. While the memories are fresh--what advice would you offer next year's crop of applicants and future patrons of the Grad Cafe? I'll start! First, when I started this process, I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to focus on in grad school, which led me to apply to more programs than warranted (12 total). For some people, 12 applications might have been doable, but for me (juggling a full-time job AND several after-work courses along with applications) this was a bad idea. Each application received less attention than it needed, resulting in careless last-minute mistakes. Plus I wasted significant money on the extra application fees, transcripts and GRE score reports. Lesson learned: Truly define your interests at the onset, then apply to a limited number of relevant programs. Transcripts: I have three, each from a different institution. I ordered them to be sent directly to the universities I'm applying to as a way to save time and money. Instead, I should have ordered 12 of each transcript up front to be mailed to me, then FedExed them myself in bunches to the different universities. That way I would know when each transcript arrived. I would not now be following up on 30 or so separate envelopes, some of which evidently were lost in the mail or in processing and need to be re-ordered. Missing transcripts are delaying the review of my application at several universities. Lesson learned: Send all paperwork yourself, in bulk, so you can better control and track it. There are many ins and outs to this process: SOP-polishing, LOR-wrangling, and an infinite number of other details. But often my attention was distracted away from applications by enormous projects at work, by writing papers for the courses I was taking, by a long holiday vacation, studying for the GRE or whatever else. Lesson learned: If you can help it, do not apply to grad school when you have other major projects competing for your time. EDIT: It now strikes me that I received advice similar to the above when I started off... but I ignored it at my peril. Another lesson learned, I suppose!! Edited January 25, 2010 by Katzenmusik Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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