JustStartApplications.com Releases a Top 10 Graduate School Application Checklist

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Before submitting those graduate school applications, it's important for applicants to ensure they've got all the right materials together and are representing themselves in the most professional way. To help them in that process, today JustStartApplications.com releases a top 10 graduate application checklist.


With writing samples to proofread and recommendations to corral, there’s a lot to keep track of when putting those finishing touches on graduate school applications. This is all the more so for graduates competing for spots in ultra-competitive programs, where a lingering transcript can mean the difference between securing a scholarship and taking out some major loans. Today, JustStartApplications.com releases a Top 10 Graduate School Application Checklist to help graduate school applicants keep track of all they need to do as they prepare to hit submit.

1. Grades. Graduate applicants should make absolutely sure they know whether their transcripts are meant to emailed or mailed with an official signature to the admissions office. Once these have been sent, they should double check with the school in a few weeks to make sure they’ve gotten there.

2. Recommendations. Now is the time to ensure recommendation letters have gotten where they need to go. Applicants to graduate school should ask for status updates from their recommenders with a polite reminder email, call their intended programs to double check their arrival, and send recommenders a thank you card when all is done.

3. Writing Sample. The writing sample should now be fully written now and should highlight a subject about which the applicant is truly passionate. Before sending in the sample, hire a professional or ask a friend or family member to proofread this work, looking for unprofessional errors like typos.

4. Personal Statement. Likewise, the applicant’s personal statement should now be polished and ready to go. The graduate school personal statement should contain interesting details about applicants, exploring their intellectual journey while also speaking in-depth about why this particular school or program is a good match. Devote at least one paragraph to the latter.

5. Teaching Statement. If applying to graduate programs with a heavy teaching requirement, applicants should make sure they spend the proper time and effort on writing a passionate, articulate teaching statement that lays out their philosophy in a cogent manner. Applicants will be best served by going beyond the generic, “I’m passionate about teaching and hope to give back” to discuss their specific teaching mentality and goals.

6. Curriculum Vitae. Before applicants send in their CVs they should have them checked by a professional or someone who knows the applicant well to make sure the document accurately reflects the applicant’s main strengths and most-impressive experiences. Ensure that the formatting fits the bill for an academic setting.

7. Standardized tests. Schools should have received graduate applicant GRE scores from ETS by now, as well as any foreign language tests like the TOEFL.

8. Funding. Now is the time to start exploring opportunities for outside funding/scholarships and see what applying for these entails. Applicants should look both at the incentives offered by targeted programs and at governmental and private scholarships and loans.

9. Follow-Up. After the deadline has passed, applicants to graduate school should check one last time with department administrative assistants via phone or email to ensure application materials have been received.

10. Thank the Faculty. Graduate applicants should make sure to send thank you notes or emails to any faculty members from targeted departments who may have given the applicant an inside look into his or her program and university.

With these top 10 tips, graduate school applicants will be ready to send off their impressive applications. So polish up those essays, poke those recommenders, and get going!

Founded in 2009, the mission of JustStartApplications.com is to help students applying to college, graduate, medical and law school tell the kind of authentic, compelling stories that will get them into the programs of their choice. Headquartered in Austin, TX, Just Start Applications operates entirely online through Skype and Google Docs, providing access to expert writers and admissions coaches to anyone in the world at the click of a button.

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Leah Kaminsky
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