Increasingly more academic institutions are offering online graduate programs, making it more convenient for many students to pursue master’s or phd degree online. When applying to graduate school online for any of these programs, it is important to stay organized in the online college application process and to prepare for the work ahead. The online college application process is often lengthy and complex, a brief overview is provided here.
Make an Application Timeline
To organize the process of applying to graduate school online, one of the most important factors is creating a timeline. Each online college application and program has different admissions requirements and deadlines, which can be a challenge and a stressor in applying to graduate school. An effective timeline will include a clear, detailed list of the programs to which you are applying to grad school; the different components required for each application; the deadlines for each program; the deadlines for applications for financial aid and student loans, if applicable; the names and contact information of any professors, references, and financial aid officers you will be in touch with; and a running checklist of what you have completed.
Review Application Requirements
While putting together your online college applications, there are several external requirements that must to be considered, namely, standardized test scores and letters of recommendation. Handling these steps early in the timeline will decrease the pressure of the application process. Send your scores online through the standardized testing service’s web site as soon as possible. Contact the professors or mentors you have selected to be the writers of your letters of recommendation, ensuring that the request takes into account the persons availability and that you request recommendations from professionals (preferably those who work in the field of study to which you are applying) with whom you have a personal relationship. Follow up with your recommenders frequently and courteously to ensure they will be able to provide a recommendation in time to meet the application deadline. For online college applications, recommendation submissions can often be tracked on the application web site.
Personalize Each Application
To improve your chances of success when you are applying to graduate school each application should be personalized and should help to make you stand out among other applicants. Most applications require a personal statement, which you should tailor to each specific program. The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate not only why you may be interested in each program in particular, but also the qualities that make you an ideal candidate to be an online student. Be sure also to update and adjust your résumé or curriculum vitae for each application to highlight the features that pertain most to each program.
After Applying to Grad School
Once your grad school application has been accepted and you have been notified of your admission, the next step is to prepare for the work ahead. If you haven’t already applied for financial aid during the online college application process, you may want to consider financing options upon your admission to reduce your financial burden during and after graduate school. Financial aid for online schools may be available those who qualify. Though graduate-level programs generally offer far less aid than undergraduate programs, applying to graduate school does not have to mean accruing massive debt. Look into work-study programs, fellowships, and federal grants that may be available to qualified students. Many programs also offer student loans with special rates to qualified students. If you are employed while applying to graduate school, find out if your employer offers a tuition support or reimbursement program.
Since the classes will be online and the work will likely be done at home or another place of your choosing, ensure that your work environment is quiet and comfortable and presents few distractions. A reliable Internet connection and a functioning computer will be important, too. Above all, a disciplined routine may be the key to academic success, and will contribute greatly to your productivity in the work ahead.