5 Tips to Make Your Graduate School Application Stand Out

Do you want to know how to make your graduate school application stand out among those of other applicants? Just follow the tips discussed in this article.

After spending lots of time browsing for universities and talking to current/former students, friends from college, and in social communities online, you will have shortlisted some schools that you strongly believe you can get accepted.

Of course, you also probably have a shortlist of some schools that you think might be little tougher to get admission considering the required academic credentials, minimum GRE and TOEFL scores, and others.

Have you ever imagined that every student will be doing almost the same process and why some schools get a large number of applications? So there must certainly be something that you can do to make your application stand out from the rest.

Have you ever thought about what additional information can you send along with the application packet that will make your application better? There are so many creative ways in sending the documents, resume, project report and other things.

But before talking about those creative ways, I’m going first talk about 5 important things that you can do to make your application stand out.

Usually, students will send transcripts, SOP, recommendation letters, application forms, application fees, bank statements, and a few other mandatory things universities ask for.

There are also additional documents and ideas I’m going to suggest that are not hard to get. All it takes is a few extra days of work, time and effort to complete them.

These add-ons might be what graduate school admission committees will be looking for to give admission. And if you have 50/50 chances by submitting the common documents, maybe the idea I’m going to propose will increase your chances further to 60/40.

So here are those 5 most important additional things/tips that you can include in your graduate school application to make your application packet stand out.

  • Additional Documents
  • Be original in your College Essay
  • Extra Curricular Activities
  • Contact professors
  • Project reports

You can readily access/do all of these 5 additional things while applying for graduate school and colleges in America. Let’s dig deeper into each topic.

Additional Documents

If you have questions on what additional documents can you send other than what universities ask for, you can send certificates to show your achievements in various fields of interests, no matter small or insignificant they are.

Certificates on things like your participation in essay writing contests, debates, stamp collection, computer training courses, and so on.

Be Original in College Essay

It’s very tempting and easy to copy someone else’s essay and send it as your own. However, you must be aware that it’s very easy for the graduate school admission committee to identify that your essay is not really yours.

Graduate schools receive a high volume of applications and each application have its own Statement of Purpose. If a college has a database of all the SOPs, all it takes to hit the ‘search’ button and it will generate any plagiarism results.

For example, if you have copied my college admission essay, it’s very easy to figure out, such as by comparing our AWA and TOEFL writing scores.

And let’s say if you have 5 backlogs and I was in the top 2% in my class, it’s very obvious to know that it’s a copied essay.

So make sure you write in own words. Around 30% copied content is tolerated to get some nice quotes and catchy sentences.

But your Statement of Purpose should reflect your personality, your background, and the need to apply for graduate school admission.

Extra Curricular Activities

If you good at sports, at arranging functions, and in other events where you have proven your leadership skills, make sure you include them using some form of evidence as part of your college admission packet.

This will make your application stand out from others who have similar profiles, but without any leadership skills.

Contact professors

Read about sending emails to professor, with email format and what type of contents to include. Make sure you contact the professors.

It doesn’t matter if you have already applied to colleges for admission. But if you are applying for a PhD, make sure you contact professors before applying for schools.

Project Reports

Including projects done in soft copy format will definitely prove the you have worked on the project. You can include, pertinent documents like “Read Me” files on how to run the project.

If you own or manage websites, make sure you provide the links to the sites as evidence.

If you have presented papers at conferences, make sure you include the paper’s abstract and other bibliographic details. But these should be concise, no more than 2 pages for each paper.

If you do the above suggestions, I’m 100% sure these extra things will make your graduate school application stand out and increase your admission chances by more than 100%.

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  1. Hi,
    I have a question regarding seminar? May I include college seminar (on nanosensors) on which I want to pursue my MS/PhD?Please reply

  2. But what to do for those universities that have mentioned “Do Not send additional documents”!
    Sometimes they specifically mention certificates, etc.

  3. Hi, My university in India has a four point scale. My CGPI is 2.67/4 which as per Us standards is not considered eligible in most schools. The minimum requirement on the website is 3.0 for MS(Comp Science). Kindly suggest me of universities that are good and not soo acad centric. My GRE : 1330 (Vocab: 560 & Quant: 770) TOEFL: 115.. I have zero publications .. and 2 and half years of work experience. in IT domain.

  4. hi,
    I think you guys are doing a great job.I want to do my MS in Environmental Engr.My problem is i have only 55% in Civil Engr.I would like to know what i can do to increase my chances of getting admission………………..Please advise

  5. hey!!!

    Great work. anyways i have a doubt regarding sending additional certificates to the univ! lot of people who came for counseling said there was no use of additional certifi, thy dnt even read certifi of international students!! I have done quite a lot of projects and trainings, i was wondering if this would give me an edge!! could you enlight on this plz!! thanx!!

  6. @ TriptiYes, you send photocopy of all certificates, sports in school days is also fine.Project Report: Send the abstract ( max 2 pages ) in hard copy. If you have designed or developed some creative softwares, you can send in soft copy. Hope this helps.

  7. thanks for the info… its very useful. i would like to get some doubts cleared. regarding sending certificates – how recent should they be? i mean, if we played sports and won competitions at school level, will that be relevant to include in the application packet?

    another thing about including project reports. do we send them a hard copy? and if we are to send a soft copy – as u said – file in read me format, how and where do we send it?

    thanks in advance..

  8. Hi tahts an excellent blog. THnks for helping us students with all this.
    theeres something i wud like to u said, about the additiaonl docs, regarding do i send them to multiple univs? the original copy is just one, so can i send an attested copy to each universitiy? IS taht acce[ptable?

  9. i have gone through happy schools. its very useful for the students applying for universities.. my gre score is 1140 and gonna take toefl soon. my gpa is 8.7 and i have done a paper presentation and a mini i have chances of gettin scholarship?what are the chances of admission?could you mail me? [email protected]

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