10 savvy steps to starting your Grad school application

Starting a graduate school application can be quite overwhelming. You might even find it difficult to figure out a starting point. Below are a few proven steps that can take you from ground zero all the way to grad school.

1. Start Early

Start early. Give yourself up to a year prior to starting your grad school application to do your research. This includes researching your grad schools, grad course of study and if studying abroad, research your destination countries. You might need to research the graduate studies application deadline in your chosen grad school. Be sure to check your exact course as application deadlines might vary within the same school.

2. Get Organized

Your grad school application requires laser focus and pinpoint organization. I found it useful using a year planner/ calendar where I had five of my chosen grad school admission deadlines highlighted. This will keep you on track, serving as an organizer and guide throughout the application process.

3. Select more than 3 grad schools

Research and select at least the top 5 graduate schools that work best for you, write them down in your organizer.

4. Prepare for applicable application tests 

Be sure to research the qualification tests required by your selected grad. If tests are required, you will need to book a test date without any delay, you will want to factor in test scoring time to avoid delay.
5. Gather your credentials and other required documents

Grad school application documents requirements vary from one grad school to another. If you are studying abroad, your requirements might be different from that of local students. You might be required to get your transcripts or other credentials assessed, it is important to factor in enough time for this and apply for credential assessment as soon as possible.

6. Apply for scholarships

Applying for scholarships is not my forte, it becomes inevitable however at the face of graduate studies expenses, and even more, if you are going to be an international student. Be sure to research as many available resources as you can. From race-specific scholarships, gender-specific scholarships, country/ continent specific scholarships to subject-specific scholarships, comb them all out online. Working links such as this might be a helpful start.

7. Apply for admission

By now you have done so much work on your application, it would be a sin not to apply!! You have gathered all required documents for your grad school application and you have received your test results as it forms a part of your application documents. The next step is to apply for admission to the grad schools you selected. This can be done as soon as the grad school opens up the application portal for the year in question.

8. Apply for your travel documents

If you are studying abroad, you will need to travel documents. Research the travel documents peculiar to your situation early enough. Application processing periods for travel documents vary from one country to the other, be sure to factor in the processing period. This can get you stuck if not settled early enough.

Tips:  Apply for your travel documents as soon as you receive your grad school admission letter. If you observe delays in receiving your travel documents, contact your Grad school at your earliest convenience to defer your admission to the next session.

9. Prepare for the weather

If you are studying abroad,  the weather conditions in your destination country might be absolutely different from that of your home country. Be sure to research appropriate weather clothing and get all you will need before leaving your home country.

10.  Land on time

Congratulations, all your hard work has paid off!! You have been granted admission into graduate school and your travel documents are all ready. It is important to get to your grad school before the orientation and welcome dinners. You will want to factor this in while booking your travel tickets. There is nothing that gives a good start as having a formal induction into your grad school.

Jumoke Eniola Odepe