4 Things I’ve Learned While Preparing Graduate School Applications

Back in the summer, I made the decision to apply to graduate school and with that, came a lot of research and seeking advice from wherever and whoever possible since I am the first in my family to apply to graduate school.

In my journey thus far, I have gotten some great advice from peers and I've learned some things that may be helpful to you!

1. Keep your initial research broad

Search engine for college and university programs in Canada via Edu Canada - details on how to search for programs and the instructions for the search engine.
Search Engine from EduCanada to help search for university programs

One thing I've learned throughout the application process is that you may think you have a succinct plan but there are actually so many graduate programs out there! You may find yourself interested in a different program or type of program you initially thought you would apply to or even schools.

One website that was suggested to me for searching school within Canada was EduCanada where you can do a broad search for schools and programs. There are also websites such as FindaMasters.com that helps you do broad international searches as well!

2. Keep an organized list of prospective schools

A categorized google sheet (spreadsheet) outlining the  different prospective graduate schools, programs and important information before applying.
My prospective graduate school list and how I organized it

When I finished my first round of research, I had a total of ten (10) programs I was interested in! To help me narrow down my search I organized the schools in a spreadsheet with their application requirements. These included CGPA, number of letters of recommendation required, length of personal statements, location, and much more.

This can help you narrow down WHY you want to apply to these schools when you reach out to possible supervisors or graduate admission teams.

3. Reach out to an Academic Advisor/Registrar's Office!

On the Faculty of Arts & Science website you can find how to contact your registrar's office and the services they provide such as: 
- Academic advising, financial advising and personal advising
-Degree planning
-Course enrolment and Program enrolment
-Learning strategies
-College scholarships and awards
-Applications for needs-based bursaries
-Petitions to the Faculty of Arts & Science
-Requests for change of name or gender
A list of services you can find at your College Registrar's Office.

One of the best resources we have here at U of T is our registrars' offices. When I started my research, I felt really lost on how to go about all of the applications, and how I can make the process straightforward for me. So, I reached out to make an academic advising appointment with my college registrar's office.

In my appointment, we went over the ideas I had, and what research I did and gave me advice on how to format emails when asking for references and reaching out to prospective research supervisors.

You can find the list of college and faculty registrar's offices on the Student Life Website!

4. Start Early!

Deadlines approach quickly, and when you're trying to balance course work, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and gathering your application materials it can become overwhelming fast.

If you make the decision to apply to graduate school, start your research and plans early. Reach out to the professors you'd like to be your reference as soon as you can so you can supply them with any extra material they may be such as a CV or a personal statement to help them write your letter or letters.

If you start early, you can spend more time in prepping the material and be more confident in your applications.

I hope these things that I have learned during the application process can help you folks if you also choose to apply to graduate school!

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