Complete step by step timeline and plan for getting into Graduate School Admission in USA.
Students find it difficult to understand the complete timeline for Studying in USA and Graduate School application, admission to US Universities.
This post should provide a clear description of Graduate school application timeline and how far in advance, students should start preparing.
- Start thinking and planning about your Higher Education in USA or other foreign countries. To have well planned admission strategy and select perfect programs, planning has to start 2 years in advance. If you aim is to get into top programs of your department, then with 2 years advance planning, you can improve your academics.
- Top Graduate programs for Statement of purpose. To have strong SOP, you need research experience.
- Research Experience can be gained by research paper publication, Summer research internship and work experience.
- Also, getting involved in community service will boost your application.
- Create a file to maintain documents relating to you future education plans.
- How to get into Ivy League?
- Start looking at Graduate school programs offered at various universities that best matches your interests.
- Identify universities, department, programs, application requirements, admission deadlines and funding deadlines.
- Universities might have financial aid deadlines and regular deadlines. If you want admission with aid, apply before financial aid deadline. Departments may have a separate deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for funding such as department fellowships, teaching, research, or project assistantships.
- Prepare for GRE, TOEFL or IELTS and other required exams. Schedule the GRE , TOEFL or IELTS atleast 3 to 5 months before admission deadlines. Earlier the better.
- Report your test scores GRE and TOEFL scores directly to the University from ETS.
- Identify who will provide letter of recommendations.
- Refer to sample Statement of Purpose and prepare your first draft
- Fine tune your resume for Graduate application.
- SOP should be a concise essay indicating your background and career goals. Check with your program’s admissions coordinator to find out what should be included in a statement of purpose for your program. Share your draft with an advisor, mentor or writing expert to obtain feedback.
- Contact your references and get your Letter of recommendation.
- Identify required bank balance and make arrangements for the bank balance.
- Start conversation with Professors. Email to Professors Tips.
- Get Official transcripts ready
- Get Bank Statement
- Start filling Online application, get SOP, LOR and other documents.
- Pay application Fee or send application fee with application documents
- Submit Online application. You should receive application ID.
- Include application Id and Online application submission confirmation page with application documents.
- Official transcripts or academic records from each institution attended.
- Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically to graduate programs through the online application.
- Test Scores:
- GRE and TOEFL scores are sent electronically from Educational Testing Service.
- Portfolios, tapes, CD’s, publications.
- Application Fee and right mailing address.
- Mail Application Packet – Checklist, Tips to mail application.
Application processing time depends upon when you apply and all test documents are received, test score and fees. When your application file is complete, graduate school will start the review process.
Some schools will require students to send 2 application package (1 to Grad school and 1 to department). This post is written under assumption that one package is mailed to Graduate school directly. Typical process will look like the following (but changes within university)
- Your application details are entered into a central database. (Mini Admission process flowchart)
- You can track your application status online. 5 Ways to Check College Admission Status
- Graduate School reviews application for completeness and minimum academic requirements are met. Forwards application to department.
- Department’s admission committee reviews your application material and makes an admission decision.
- Department forwards your supporting materials to the Graduate School’s Office of Admissions if a positive admission decision is made.
- International applicants need proof of financial support. Your online status check will provide specific information required to finalize admission.
- The Graduate School makes the final admission decision.
- Graduate School then forwards your admission details to International Students Office.
- International students office will process and issue I-20 (sample I-20)
- Continue to monitor your progress through the online status check.
- I-20 will be mailed to the address provided on your application.
After You Have Been Admitted
- You will receive an official admission (sample college admission letter with scholarship) and I-20.
- Newly admitted graduate students will details about new student orientation, travel details and other information to admission with admission packet.
Pretty much same criteria that you considered when making your decision to apply to a specific graduate program(s) will be used when you decide to which program(s) to enroll.
- Ask lots of questions and find answers
- Does the program emphasize theory or practice?
- Flowchart – Masters Degree Course Plan
- Where do their graduates go after graduation and does the program offer placement information?
- Does the professors have finding, is he taking students under his research?
- Funding chances
- CPT Rules.
- Are there opportunities to teach?
- Are there opportunities for professional development?
- Is there any Indian students organization (or your country) student organization?
- Does the program publish time to degree and graduate student funding statistics?
- International student population?
- Part time job availability?
- Student F1 visa chances?
- Talk to your counselors, mentors, friends, current students at the school.
- Compare with other admissions.
- Find the total cost living and compare them. (Apartment rent and cost of living)
- Understand course structure and majors options. (Masters in 1, 2 or 3 years?)
- Identify if classes offered appeal to you. You should also check on the frequency those classes are offered.
Once you have all the information, then decide on the final choice of university. Then start preparing for student visa interview.