Top MS Admits: 5 Top reasons why you absolutely need to start early
With your college graduation day inching closer, you might find yourself flooded with advice from all quarters about what to do next!
Couple that with the academic stress associated with exams, and it may feel like it is too much to process at once, and you’re probably right in feeling that way.
That’s why, I’d like you to know the key secrets for a successful and hassle-free application to pursue your MS in the US.
Well, to be honest, it’s not really a secret, but more of a smart game plan for your college admissions.
The key is to start early
Why do that? Because preparation is what separates brilliance from mediocrity. If you initiate your efforts early, time-consuming issues like financial planning, writing a compelling SOP, updating your CV, applying for scholarships and convincing your parents that you are doing the right thing for your education will not feel so scary and hectic anymore.
So, why exactly will you benefit from starting early?
1) Shortlisting universities can be a time consuming process!
The United States boasts of one of the world’s finest university systems and is home to over 4,000 colleges and universities. With so many alternatives, you need to be certain that you choose the best US college for your Masters. It is recommended that you search for, identify, learn more about and apply to schools that are the best fits for your profile and future plans.
But even the simplest step of identifying relevant US colleges can get complicated if you postpone it for too long. Name recognition and reputation are important when selecting universities, but there are other aspects you should also consider.
For instance, you might want to check the variety of the programs on offer, the courses you are going to study, the professors’ style of teaching, campus facilities, and the local culture and environment. These things can take time and I’m sure you want to get them right.
2) Fixing an admissions timeline:
After identifying the US colleges that best suit your educational needs and expectations, you will need to start your research regarding the admission process. This is where it usually gets confusing for most future students. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same way for you!
Here’s a sneak peek of what your GRE and admissions timeline should ideally look like:
You will have to submit an application to each of the institutions you are interested in; they will usually ask you to write an SoP and to provide them with letters of recommendation. In order to complete all the requirements to a high standard and meet the deadlines, you need to start planning ahead. It’s highly recommended that you make a calendar of deadlines to track what you need to do and at what time!
Typically, MS applications in the US for the fall intake are due between November and January, and it’s important that that you initiate your efforts at least a year in advance. You also need to be informed about the fees you will need to pay during the process. Usually, the fee for each application is between $50 and $100 (Rs. 3400 – Rs. 6800) as per the prevailing exchange rate.fac
3) You’ll get sufficient time to write your SoP:
Your SoP is one of the most crucial components of your university application! Your SOP should contain information about the following:
- Who you are as a person, your aspirations, why you want to study the course you’re applying for and at that university!
- It should also talk about your future plans after completing your education and the ways in which you can contribute to the university.
- What you know about the student community of the university and how you can be a perfect fit for the kind of student profile they are looking for.
For each intake, top US universities receive tens of thousands of applications! An admit winning SoP is one that makes your application stand out from the rest. Universities get a huge number of applications from students with similar GRE / TOEFL scores and academic backgrounds. It’s the strength of the SoP that eventually can make or break a student’s acceptance chances, all other factors being equal.
4) Financial planning for your education, procuring LORs and Academic Transcripts!
Studying abroad can be a pretty expensive affair, and many students take education loans to fund their tuition/living expenses. However, the time a loan takes to get sanctioned depends on several factors like the amount, your credit score, the lending organization and more!
As a part of the admissions process, you will need to show proof of funds to support yourself financially and apply for your visa.
Letters of Recommendation: Apart from your SOP, if there is something that the admissions council needs to know a little more about you, it is your Letter of Recommendation! Most universities mandate a minimum of 2 LORs to be submitted! However, here’s why you keeping time aside for your LORs can be highly rewarding.
Now here’s the deal – when you’re short of time, you’ll probably only have time to procure 2 LORs, in keeping with the requirements. When you have time in hand, you can shortlist 10-12 potential referees whom you have worked closely with (university professors, deans, heads of department or your immediate superior if you have prior work experience) and choose the best from among them, to give an edge to your application!
Procuring your academic transcripts such as a consolidated marksheet from your school/college might also take as long as a few weeks to months, depending on the institution, for example, procuring marksheets from Anna university usually takes just a week, whereas Mumbai university takes 3-4 weeks or more! (subject to change, time-frame provided for reference only). Try and check with your university in advance and find out how long they’ll need to give you the requisite documents.
Although you won’t be able to apply for the visa until you have actually been accepted by a US college, it’s still best to get informed and well-prepared as early as possible, to avoid any last-minute rush or panic!
5) Of priority deadlines, scholarships and early decisions:
Good things come to those who wait – but not when it comes to university applications! The coveted goodies (read: scholarships, financial aid, acceptance letters) are usually taken away by the early birds!
Many universities have priority deadlines for submission of applications which precede the general deadlines by 3-4 months, Unfortunately, many students who wait end up missing the priority application deadline, which means they’re at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving scholarships and financial aid.
Early decisions: I know. I know. Yet another paragraph on a topic that has already been done to death. However, depending on the university you are applying to, the acceptance rate of early decision applicants is likely to be significantly higher than that of regular applicants!
What’s more, even in the unfortunate event of your application being denied, you still have time to apply to any other universities under regular decision!
Popular MS universities with early decision policies include the following:
Have any doubts about when to start your admissions process for the best admits? Want to know more about early decision/early action acceptance rates in your favourite universities? Do let us know in the comments section below and we’ll answer all your doubts ASAP!
Also let us know what according to you, is the most important reason for starting your applications process early!