My 5 Step Approach for Applying to Graduate School in USA

Raghuram Sukumar Admission 1 Comment

studyin usa approachI am currently applying for Fall term. I would like to share my experience about GRE TOEFL and applying to the universities.

My Profile

  • GRE 1st attempt – 1080 V410 Q660 AWA 3
  • GRE 2nd attempt – 1230 V450 Q780 AWA 4
  • I have 3 years of work experience

Step One : Taking the GRE

Plan to take GRE at least one year before the actual term starts.

So if you planning to go for Fall 2012, plan to take GRE by say Aug 2011.

> Timeline for Applying to USA

If in case your first attempt GRE Score is blow your target score, you can still take it up again after 2 months gap. And this would avoid the last-minute rush with the university deadlines.

University List

Please create a list of universities (targeted) before going to the GRE based on your preparation and mock test scores.

Because you can send official GRE scores upto 4 universities. I made the mistake of doing the research one day before my GRE and ended up reporting GRE Scores to random universities.

Step One : Re-Take GRE

If at all you score less in the first attempt and you strongly believe that you definitely would have done much better only then take it up again else stick to the scores from the first attempt.

Step Three  – TOEFL

If you are good in English it requires just about 2 days preparation for the TOEFL Test.

Step Four – University Selection

You need to do research on Universities. First, make a  list of 20 universities. Then find additional information about the universities.

Try to find out all info about the college including fees, probability of selection, chances of getting aid, TA, RA.

Also try to find out Deadlines and the courses they have to offer. Then narrow down to 8-10 universities.

Step Five – Application

Now with the shortlisted universities you need to find the application deadlines, deadlines for AID and supporting materials.

You also have to be prepared with materials like Letter of Recommendations, Transcripts, Attested Degree Certificates, Statement of purpose, Resume etc.

Once you have everything start applying to the universities. Also, read how to send US College application package and checklist for mailing application packet.


  1. Never heard of GRE before. My college counsellor told us to take SAT exam but never mention anything about GRE.

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