How to apply to Graduate School

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(This guide was originally written by Niharika Gupta(CH '16))

Graduate student applications for the US require GRE, TOEFL, recommendations, transcripts, and SOP.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

Every department in universities have their own deadlines. Some universities can have deadlines as early as November; some can have in May. You would need to send your GRE and TOEFL scores according to the deadline specified on the university’s website.

You can expect to have ALL the admission decisions to be informed by March end, though most universities send out decisions mostly by Jan/Feb. And some universities have rolling admissions as well.

Cost[edit | edit source]

For each application, it costs between $90-$150 to apply.

Choosing the right Universities[edit | edit source]

For Masters, I would say go with the high rankings. If you are not sure that you have good enough credentials, apply to a mix of high-ranked, mid-ranked and low-ranked. Though my suggestion would be to not go below Top 50.

GPA, GRE, TOEFL minimum requirement[edit | edit source]

There’s no minimum GPA criteria that universities set usually. Some might mention some no. on a scale of 4. You would want to check in websites like WES to calculate your GPA scaled in 4 to make sure. You would also need it for some universities which would require your GPA on that scale.

There is no minimum requirement for GRE as far as I have seen. But I would recommend try not losing any marks in Math.

Universities generally have a minimum TOEFL score requirement ranging from 70 to 100. Make sure to check that on their websites.

Writing SOP[edit | edit source]

Mention your major achievements, internships, projects. Mention 1-2 instances in detail during your internship/project that shows the person you are, keeping aside the technical skills. Avoid plagiarism.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

  1. Give GRE and TOEFL as soon as possible. The earlier you get done with them, the better. In that way, you also have the time to give GRE again if you are not satisfied with your score.
  2. Decide for a major in which you would want to pursue your Masters. It need not be the same as your bachelors. I would suggest go for your interest.
  3. Read the websites of the department you are applying to very carefully. It would have many required details like the deadlines of GRE, TOEFL, application. They might have some unique programs as well, for example Master’s degree in combined Engineering and Law, Professional Degree Program, etc.
  4. While you are deciding which universities to apply to and simultaneously researching their websites, you would want to start writing your SOP as well. Get it reviewed by friends, family, seniors. Some universities want very specific points in it, so you would have to tweak it accordingly.
  5. Once sure which universities to apply to, visit their website to get the link to the online application form which would require you to make an account. Application forms are quite lengthy and some fields might be confusing. Email their graduate admission office if any doubts.
  6. Ask for recommendations from Professors, industry professionals etc. At least 3 recommendations are required for each university and some of them may specify that 1 or 2 must have to be from a Professor who has taught you or been your supervisor.
  7. Send GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities chosen. Some of the application forms would let you know if the universities received your scores.
  8. Mostly, universities require the scanned copy of your transcript that you would be uploading in the application form. But some universities require your transcripts to be mailed by post. Also, you would need to get it sealed from the Dean’s Office. Make sure to take an ‘Airmail’ envelope (can be bought at the RLB Photocopy Centre), your original transcript (for verification) and photocopies when you go the Office.
  9. After you submit the application, you would be guided to the page where you have to pay the application fees. Usually it would be required to pay with credit card.

See also[edit | edit source]