How to Get Into Your Dream Graduate School

Getting into the ultimate graduate school of your dreams is not an easy thing to do and not an easy road to complete. There are various things to have in mind before, during, and after the application process in order to reach your goal of getting into a good graduate school. The following are various things that I did that ultimately got me the acceptance of my top three choices of graduate school in the Publishing Masters degree.

  1. 1. Keep up good grades and fill up your resume

    Through your high school years and during your undergraduate experience, I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining good grades while also filling up your resume. What do I mean by “filling up your resume”? Once you have outlined the activities and projects you could do in the degree you’ve chosen for your future career, act on it. Get an internship, join an association, become a leader in something that you like to do; all these experiences will help you into getting accepted into your dream school. You don’t necessarily have to do activities that pertain to your degree; furthermore, you can definitely go out of your comfort zone and do other activities like singing in an a cappella group, drawing for a comic, joining a photography projectーliterally anything. In my personal experience, I did an internship in the Department of State as an assistant in the Office of Legal Affairs even though I was an English Literature student, which helped me gain knowledge in things that I didn’t really know about. I also started my own a cappella group in the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, which let me become a leader. Those things helped me build up my resume, and also helped me make new relationships that have greatly contributed to my life, in both the academic and professional aspects. I also cannot stress this enough: always look for a way to build positive relationships anywhere you’re at, because trust me, it can get you a long wayーrecommendation letters for example.

  2. 2. Maintain the application deadlines in mind.

    Always keep in mind the deadlines of each college or university if you’re applying to more than one. I suggest you complete your application by or before the university’s priority deadline. Students that send applications before the priority deadline are students that the program advisors and graduate recruiters will keep in mind for bonus benefits over the students that send in the applications afterwards. I’ll be discussing one of the benefits in a future point. Also, you should already keep in mind the requirements that each university asks of you since the beginning of your undergraduate experience. If you want to enter a film school, join a university association or an independent group that makes short films; if you want to apply for a creative writing masters degree, start writing your own books during your undergraduate experience; you get my point. Because of me wanting to get experience in writing and editing for my future publishing career, I joined Her Campus UPR and it has been a marvelous experience that the university advisors have really noted.

  3. 3. Write an outstanding essay: Tell your story.

    Essays are part of every college application that I have encountered. Some universities ask for specific questions that they’d like to see the answer to in your essay, so be mindful of that when you’re starting to write yours. Also, make sure to tell your story in a creative and engaging way for the reader to visualize your life as you wrote it; take the reader on your journey. This is where your creative writing skills and imagination come to life. Research why the university’s program is the perfect fit for you. Look for videos that the university has posted on the internet and quote people that have worked alongside the university program. Is there any course in particular that caught your attention? Are there any internships or partnerships that the university has in which you would like to contribute? Demonstrate your desire. Make yourself heard.

  4. 4. Check for fee waivers

    Most graduate schools have some sort of fee waiver for turning in your application. You might think that you’ll have to pay $40 or $100 to apply to a graduate program, but that’s not true. The fee waivers might be hidden, but they are there; you just have to search for them. Some universities give you codes to put in to waive your fee, and others offer you fee waivers if you get to be present in an online presentation with the faculty. Please, always check your emails. Once you start an application process for the university you’re applying to, the university will make sure to send you emails with lots of information in regards to your program or anything interesting related to their activities. I made the mistake of paying for an application when I realized afterwards that in one of my emails, the advisor from one of the graduate programs had told the students that if they participated in an online meeting presentation about the program, they would get notified of how to get a fee waiver for the application. Another way to get a fee waiver is if you apply before the priority deadline. Not all the graduate universities do that, but if you want to know more about it, be sure to email your advisor.

  5. 5. Maintain a good relationship with your program advisor and assistants

    Schedule calls with your advisors. Trust me, it goes a long way when you talk to your advisors over the phoneーand even better, through video chat. You can do this before or after you’ve been accepted into the program. By maintaining communication with your advisors via email and video chat, you’re already demonstrating what kind of person you are: someone who really wants to make their dreams come true in the best possible way. Demonstrate enthusiasm, always smile, and maintain eye contact if it’s through a video chat. The advisors will then get to know your personality and you will leave a strong and positive impression. I asked a lot of questions to my advisors, and graduate assistants, as well as students, before and after I had been accepted into the programs. Because of this and my well-built resume and application, I gained scholarships from two of the universities that I applied to.

All in all, just make sure to do your research in everything that you’d like to do. Build positive relationships, build up your resume, and maintain outstanding grades. Good things will always happen to people that make the effort to chase their dreams and make them come true.