Considering Grad School? Tips for Application!

gradThe month of January has so many implications…it’s the start to a brand new year, it’s when we set our new resolutions and point out things we’d like to change and it is also the month when many programs have deadlines for applying to grad school.

When it came time for me to apply to grad school, I was quite intimidated…I didn’t have an extraordinary GPA (it was quite average), I didn’t remain on great terms with my professors (really, who does…they’re our teachers, not our friends) and I was uncertain of the competition that stood ahead of me. Nevertheless, I got the courage to begin writing my statement of purpose. As I went through the information regarding the application process, I realized that this information would have been a lot more useful had it found its way to me during my undergraduate.  So, if you are pursuing your undergraduate right now, hopefully these tips will be of assistance for you!

Here are a few tips that will help you on your way if you are considering applying to grad school:

 

-One important piece of advice is…make sure the program is the right fit for you – universities offer hundreds of programs, McGill alone offers 400 programs in over 80 departments, so understanding exactly what you are signing up for is crucial!

-Connect with your desired program coordinator and ask questions, take a look at the program description and the various options that are offered – sometimes you can even be permitted to sit in on a class for a day.

-Stand out – you can’t stand out before actually gaining experience and making progress in your field: volunteer; create special work projects, side-jobs, research in the field, etc. show that you’re a leader, so that when professors are reading your letter of intent, they see you as a motivated candidate for the programs.

-You need experience – most programs ask for two years, so don’t rush into it…having more experience will only be beneficial to you and allow you to better understand the material being presented during the masters or certificate program you are interested in.

-Be objective: your purpose statement should be written in a very straightforward way. Don’t beat around the bush, you have to make sure that your purpose is crystal clear – and don’t write too much (1-2 pages maximum)!

-Draw conclusions from your past experience (both in work and at school) and explain what you learned in your field and how that specifically relates to your future goals.

When applying to grad school at McGill, you need at least two letters from either two professors or one administrator/boss and a professor. It is crucial to try to stand out at work and in your classes. Speak to your professors, ask questions, pursue projects and make sure that they remember your name. A lot of classes at McGill take place in large auditoriums so email your Profs, go to their office hours, take part in campus activities and most importantly, do something you enjoy!

Below I have included the requirements for the M.A. in Ed. Leadership program at McGill, all programs are different…so visit the McGill website for the specifics for the programs you are interested in: 

  • Statement of Intent outlining the reasons for pursuing the program (This is a good opportunity to showcase past academic achievements and future plans)
  • Current CV
  • Unofficial transcripts (other than McGill transcripts) from ALL universities attended.  Only upon entrance into the program will official transcripts be required.
  • 2 letters of recommendation that attest to the academic and leadership ability of the applican [preferably from present or past employers (i.e. school administrators).  These letters should indicate how the applicant would fare as a graduate student].

Good luck to you all during this session and to those of you who have applied/are applying to grad school this year!

Best,

Lisa

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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