Talk to someone: speak to counselors and/or alumni of programs to get a better sense of what the graduate program provides and where it will take you.
(1) Know what test to take!
(2) Know the application and admissions deadlines. This isn’t only important because you don’t want your application to arrive late, but you also want to give yourself enough time to prepare for your test, take your test, and have enough time to take the test again if you are not satisfied with your first score (see Timeline below).
(3) Know the program and do your research. Make sure it is a school you could see yourself studying at for the next 2-7 years.
These documents are also imperative to your application. You should always get people who know you well and can speak to your abilities and experience. These people also need to be able to speak well of you, so finding someone who know you well and knows your strengths will help you build a strong application. This is also a great time to take advantage of your time overseas. Acquiring a letter of recommendation from an overseas professor or employer can only help with your grad school application.
When you are thinking about who to ask, you should consider someone who:
This should apply to letters you get from an employer and professors. When thinking about who, remember that if you are applying to an international affairs program, a letter from a professor you had while you were studying abroad may carry more weight than a stats professor. A person’s title also carries different meaning. A tenured professor might hold more esteem than a lecturer.
When you’re asking someone to write a letter for you, you should always be candid with the person as to why you are asking them. This is easier when you know the person well, but if you do not know the person very well make sure you feel comfortable enough with asking.
Here are a few other steps in preparing for graduate school that might help you get a better idea of how to build a strong application.
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education