As I mentioned last Monday, the theme (in my mind, at least) of the posts for these two weeks is Prep for App/Prep for April. That is, you can probably put together a perfectly fine application with little advance thought, but the admissions process will go so much more smoothly for you if you first take some foundational steps. Similarly, you can go from January to March without giving any thought to which graduate school you’d most like to attend if admitted, but the process of making your decision by the April 20 enrollment deadline will be so much more productive and less stressful if you have done your research first.
To avoid that “NOW WHAT?” moment that I fear too many admitted students experience each March/April, my Admissions pals have shared their thoughts with me, and I’ll, in turn, share those suggestions with you. (Please note that all these suggestions still pertain if you’re applying for January enrollment, when the decision-making window is even shorter.) Our goal is to tell you what you should be considering after submitting your application, even if what you’d really like is to put the application process out of your mind. To kick off our “Prep for April” tips, let’s hear from Laurie, who notes:
One of the biggest mistakes that applicants make is to take a break after submitting their applications; they sit back and relax while waiting to hear from their graduate schools. This is a natural tendency, given all of the time and energy candidates pour into the applications. Do not, however, fall into this trap. After applying is when you should do more homework and planning, as once admissions decisions arrive, there will be very little time to make your very big decision. Use the months after you submit your applications to fully understand the strengths of each of the programs you applied to. Learn as much as you can from websites, blogs, connecting with students and alumni, speaking with professionals in the field, and visiting if possible. Additionally, this is the time for you to sketch out a financial plan. If you use this “break” wisely, you will be in much better shape when those offers of admission arrive. And they will!
I’ll be back with more suggestions tomorrow. For now, you can create a calendar reminder to kick off that planning research directly after submitting all your applications.