Ann Graham speaks with Alexsandr Voinski, International Director at the University of New South Wales to discover the do's and don'ts of applying to grad school.
Applying to graduate school isn't just about the next two years of your life - it's about your future. Ask yourself, where do you want to be in five, ten, 15 years from now, says Voninski. What sort of career are you hoping for? Is it realistic? Can you afford it? What are the job prospects like?
It may seem a bit daunting - after all, anything can happen in ten years time. The key is not to think of your graduate degree as a short term investment. Once you've graduated, your Masters or PhD will be with you for life, and future employers will look favourably upon the investment you made.
However, don't enrol in a graduate program just for the sake of it. If you're not sure about the course, it might not be for you. But don't be afraid to take the leap either, says Voninski. After all, you have 40 years of exciting career options ahead of you!
• Take your time when filling out the application form. This will be your first contact with the admissions committee. Your application should reflect in full detail your personal and professional information and your motivation and expectations with the program.
- Supply clear contact details: one telephone number and one email address that you can be reached on is all you need.
- Consider your options and look at what each university course can offer you. It's important to find the right fit.
• Choose your referees carefully. These can be anyone that benefits your candidacy. It's always better to choose someone that knows you well and can confirm your sense of responsibility, commitment, leadership and team work.
• Prepare yourself for the personal interview. When it comes time to answer questions try to go straight to the point and be concise.
- Submit an incomplete application. You'll only put yourself at a disadvantage.
• Wait until the last minute. Get organized, give yourself plenty of time, and apply before the deadline. Murphy's law says that in that particular moment the internet will break down, the mail will be stolen and you have missed the deadline!
• Be afraid to ask questions. There are real people sitting in real offices who are happy to give you all the required details and support you need to get through the admissions process.
- Don't send your mum - you're an adult person, you should do it yourself!
Gaining admission into graduate school is challenging, but you'll be rewarded for your efforts. If you want to find out more about the admissions process, why not speak to alumni? After all, not only have they been through the process before you, they did so successfully!