In case you are planning to pursue further education abroad, this article contains the perfect timeline for graduate school application. This guidance for graduate school application covers for universities in USA, Canada, Germany, UK, France and Most European countries.
January – March
This is the first and most critical period of your graduate school application process. Within this period, you have to search and research for schools and programs of your interest.
Use this period to identify fully-funded program scholarships and schools or external graduate fellowships and decide where you are applying.
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April – June
Use this period to update or Revamp your curriculum vitae (CV)/Résumé and also perfect your application materials.
Make sure to check the requirements for your program of interest and work on taking recommended exams if necessary. As a matter of fact, academic curriculum vitae is different from work résumé.
So you have to be sure that your curriculum vitae aligns perfectly with the program’s requirements.
Reach out to the Faculty member whose research interests aligns with yours. This should be in form of a cold email explaining why you want to pursue a research with the person.
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July – September
Having taken time to identify schools and programs that you would like to apply to and having reviewed your curriculum vitae and résumé.
It is time to narrow your list to 4-6 schools based on your choice.
Narrowing down your list means that you need to make choices based on what works for you. Within this period, you will look out for application fee waivers and properly check the deadlines.
Also, you have to draft your application essays (Statement of purpose, research interests, writing samples etc).
Take out this period to write unique essays, statement of purpose and research interests, writing samples. Please do not go online and copy paste already written essays.
Schools admission committees and scholarships bodies are looking for people who would bring new ideas, so do not send adulterated essays.
Once you have prepared your essays, use this period to reach out to your recommenders. Recommendation letters are a vital part of your application. Please, you have to carefully choose who you are using as a recommender.
Some people receive unsuccessful applications because their recommenders did not say good things about them or could not sell them brightly to the committee.
There are basically two types of recommendations: Academic recommendation and professional recommendation.
In academic recommendation, you have to use someone you have worked with in the academic especially a supervisor while professional recommendation is a person who you have worked with in the professional field and career.
Avoid using your family members as recommenders.
October – December
Remember you drafted essays like statements of purpose, research interests, writing samples etc. The next period is the time you use to edit your drafted essays.
Also reach out to your friends or other scholars to review them for you. Ask them to proofread your essays and application. Proofreading will save your application from lots of unforced errors.
Also use this period to ensure that you polish all essays and other documents
As a matter of fact, you have to remind your referees or recommenders: give them details about your program, school and application deadlines and also emphasize on how the application is important to you and your career advancement.
Submit your application. Most of the deadlines are within this period. If you have done everything above but did not submit your application then you have done nothing.
So submit your application at least two weeks before the deadline because early applications have greater chances of consideration.
Next year Jan – May
The next phase of your application is the interview phase. So prepare for final interviews just incase it is a requirement for the graduate school application.
Negotiate your funding offers: If you go through the funding page of the university, you are likely to find funding offers and this is the best period to negotiate and give them reasons why you should be considered.
Accept your offer before the deadline: Once you have been selected for a place of study, endeavour to accept your offer before time elapses because there are lots of people who are waiting to be selected and if you do not accept your offer, it will be quickly given to another person.
Finally, international students like Nigerians will have to secure visa appointment date and apply for your visa interview. Make sure you gather all the required documents needed to apply for a study permit.
July – Sept
If your plan is to apply for Fall 2023, This is the right time to start. So, Start Now!!!
If you follow the above timeline of process and procedure for graduate school application with consistency.
You will definitely get that full funding offer sooner than you think.
Congratulations in advance as you take that bold step towards career advancement.