How do I Apply to Postgraduate Programmes?
For those of you who are planning to pursue a master’s education next year, you need to start working on your applications now! Most postgraduate programmes are extremely competitive, which is why you need to spend enough time systematically planning your application.
When should I start?
The ideal time to start your master’s application is in the year prior to when you want to begin your education. If applying to postgraduate programmes that begin in the fall, then starting sometime between August and October is ideal. For the spring intake, you should ideally start between June and July of the previous year. This gives you enough time to research colleges and programmes, make informed decisions, take the necessary tests, collate data and documents and write your statement of purpose. Most importantly, starting early allows you to evaluate your profile and build on it to ensure you stand out.
When are the deadlines?
Most postgraduate programmes start between August to October, with application deadlines falling anywhere between November of the previous year and February of the same year. Spring deadlines fall between September and October. Many colleges, such as the London School of Economics, have rolling admissions deadlines. This means that you can apply at any time once the application opens. If you apply before the deadline and you are a qualified candidate, you will be able to secure your acceptance before your peers, giving you ample time to prepare for the interview process if required.
How should I go about my applications?
At The Red Pen, we have devised an A-B-C-D application guide to help you with your applications.
- A-Assess: The first thing that you need to do is to take some time to assess and understand your motivation for your postgraduate degree. Answers to questions such as “why do I want to study further?”, “what and where do I want to study?” and “is this programme going to help me achieve my goals?” among others will help you narrow down on the programme. This will also help you to have clarity when writing your statement of purpose (SOP).
- B-Begin: The next step is to actually start. Begin by creating an effective resume that highlights your skills and achievements. While you do this, also write to your professors and managers for letters of recommendation (LORs). These LOR’s will serve to endorse your profile along with good academic and work ethics.
- C-Connect: Connect with all the colleges that you think would be a good fit and make your final shortlist. Besides the resume and LORs, research the other requirements such as the SOP, GRE or GMAT and IELTS. The most daunting and time-consuming task in this step would be writing your SOP. Your SOP is your best chance to add depth to the data provided in other parts of your application and let the admission committee know about your unique self and goals. While your test scores highlight your academic calibre, your essay showcases how well you can think and translate your learning into real-life situations. An impactful and well-written essay can make all the difference when everything is equal between competing applicants.
- D-Deadline: Set and manage deadlines for each stage of the application process. Remember to add buffer time for tasks such as the English testing requirement and for retests of GRE or GMAT, if needed.
Putting together a master’s application takes time and careful thought. If you start planning in advance, you will not be rushing at the last minute. To understand the difference between some popular master’s destinations, read our blog on the countries to consider for a master’s. For additional information, get in touch with us.