Graduate School: Application tips for success
Brandon Hoto is a fourth-year English student.
A bit about choosing the program that’s right for you rather than the school due to it’s prestige or location. One recruiter from the Grad School and Education Fair said, “you shouldn’t choose a graduate school based on its brand.” In graduate school, even more so than in an undergraduate degree, you need to be passionate about what you are studying. So passionate, in fact, that you can easily see yourself dedicating 2-7 years researching and writing about your chosen field.
One website where you can search graduate (and undergraduate) programs across Canada by discipline is http://www.universitystudy.ca/.
1. Choose your recommender carefully
When you are certain you have found a program that you are passionate about, you will need a letter of recommendation. Ask previous professors early on in the application process so they have time to prepare the letter. One way to help your letter stand out is by making sure your chosen professor understands your reasons for pursuing graduate school. This includes where you want to go, why you’re interested in particular programs and how graduate school will fit in with your career goals. Many professors will find it helpful if you ask for a letter in person and if you provide them with supporting documents for your application such as a statement of intent and resume, etc.
2. Clearly articulate your Letter of Intent
Once you have a letter of recommendation written by a professor who truly believes in your capabilities, you’ll need to write a Letter of Intent (or Statement of Purpose). If you can answer the following questions, you are ready to begin writing your letter:
- Do you have a clear understanding of what kind of research you would like to conduct, and what kind of job you hope to maintain afterward?
- Do you know who you would like to work with and why?
- Do the requirements of the program and its curriculum look interesting? Follow your passion!
- Are you prepared for the rigors of graduate study financially and emotionally?
Further tips can be found at http://carleton.ca/career/students-alumni/resources/career-tip-sheets/further-education/.
3. Make sure you have met all the requirements
When it comes to the program application make sure to fill out the application form completely. Be sure to proofread and be sure to contact the program coordinator to make sure you have met all the requirements. These requirements include your grades. Usually, an A is the absolute minimum overall grade required, but every institution has slightly different expectations.
For a list of schools who were in attendance at the fair, download our newly launched Carleton Career Fair+ app (http://carleton.ca/career/cf-app) available on the App Store and Google Play.
Career Services can help you prepare for graduate school by discussing your options, reviewing applications and statements of intent, and more. We are open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.