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College Admission Timeline

Two years to go
  1. With two years to your target date start planning about your Higher Education in USA or other foreign countries. If you aim at getting into the top Universities abroad, then 2 years can help you improve your academics.
  2. Most Universities require a Statement of purpose. And for a strong and convincing SOP, you need research experience. Research Experience can be gained by research paper publication, summer research internship and work experience.(learn more about this http://accenderekms.com/Research.aspx)
  3. Any form of regular social service can definitely help boost your profile

18 Months away

1. Start zeroing down on Graduate schools and the programs offered at various universities that best suit you.
2. Each University has a different set of requirements that need to be met before they consider an application complete. List these down
3. An application deadline is a very important aspect about the application process. Each University might have a different deadline. There are two kind of deadlines - financial aid deadlines and regular deadlines. If you require financial aid during the course of your education there, apply before the financial aid deadline. Also please note that Departments may have a separate deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for funding such as department fellowships, teaching, research, or project assistantships.
4. The next most important thing to do is start preparing for GRE, TOEFL or IELTS and other required exams. You must schedule the GRE, TOEFL or IELTS at least 5 to 6 months before admission deadlines. The earlier the better as this will give you time to work on improving your score if you are not satisfied the first time.
5. ETS provides a free Reporting of your test scores both GRE and TOEFL directly to four Universities whose codes you register with them.

Six Months left

1. Make changes to your current resume so that it satisfies the graduate applications format required by most universities
2. A SOP should be a true reflection of your achievements, your future goals and how the university fits into the picture. Try to make it as concise as possible. Check with the University's program in-charge regarding the course etc. (this correspondence can be mentioned in your SOP).Make sure to Share your draft with someone who can help with feedback.
3. Finalize your references and contact them to get your letters of recommendation.
4. Begin the financial planning and try to procure the necessary affidavits, statement etc. Lang="EN-US"
5. Start correspondence with Professors from universities you have shortlisted.

4 Weeks to target

1. All Official transcripts must be ready
2. The financial statements are to be made available
3. Begin filling the online application; finalize the SOP, resume and letters of recommendation.
4. Submit online application; get the application package ready along with the receipt of the application fee.

Score Reporting – After GRE Test

Based on test format score reporting time varies

1. Computer Based GRE Exam – 10 to 15 days after you take test

Additional GRE Score ReportingG

While registering with ETS most students have no idea which school they will attend. They usually end up selecting 4 schools that are really famous or have heard from friends. After they shortlist Universities, the GRE score has to be reported to those universities. Scores can be reported by the following ways

1. Online GRE Score Reporting
2. Mail or Fax
3. Phone

Masters Program – Course plan and Path

Generally a Master’s degree takes about one to two years to complete depending on the course structure

There are 3 possible paths to attain a master’s degree they are

  1. Non Thesis option-course work only
  2. Thesis option
  3. Non Thesis- Project option

The general structure can be represented in the following way

Non Thesis option- course work only
This usually requires that the student complete the stipulated number of credits with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and above. An internship for 1 or 2 semesters is optional.

Non Thesis option- Project
Some Universities provide students with the option of completing a project during their second year after having completed their course work with the minimum GPA requirement. An internship for 1 semester is optional.

Thesis Option
The thesis work begins after first year after the completion of the course work, the student is assigned a research problem and given 2 or more semesters to solve the same. On the completion of this task, the student is expected to defend the thesis in front of a panel.

Checklist for the Application Package

  1. Complete Application form with your application id,
  2. Appropriate Application fee
  3. One official transcript or set of mark sheets from each institution attended (send 2 if asked by the institute)
  4. One official diploma/degree certificate*
  5. Official English translations of academic documents not in English*
  6. Official test scores* (GRE/GMAT/SAT/TOEFL/IELTS)
  7. Letters of Recommendation
  8. Resume or CV*
  9. Departmental supplemental material (e.g., portfolio, writing sample, personal statement)**
  10. Copy of Passport ID page**
  11. Copy of any currently-held visa**
  12. Financial Affidavit and Bank Statements
  13. Abstract of your research paper and projects
  14. Extra-Curricular certificates

  15. While submitting an online application is usually sufficient, it is best that you send an application package to the University holding the above materials as well.

Statement of Purpose

An SOP as it is called is a document that most Universities ask for as a part of their admission requirements. In plain terms it can be defined as true reflection of one’s achievements, future goals and aspirations and how the University fits into the picture. An SOP is used to understand more about the student, and must therefore be entirely written by the student and contain only that matter which can be validated. This is your opportunity to provide to support and augment the review process.

Universities don’t look to well on applications where they feel the SOP is not original, therefore it is not wise for a student to copy or imitate Sample SOP’s. While referring to a sample for structure, font size and style makes sense, it is illogical to write down your story in someone else’s words. Therefore make sure your statement is as unique and as honest as can be.

Few points that can be kept in mind while writing an SOP
  1. An SOP should add clarity and depth to information provided in other parts of the application
  2. There should be coherence between what is written in the SOP and what has been mentioned in other parts of the application
  3. The essay should answer the following questions
    1. What is important to the applicant?
    2. What qualities/characteristics define the applicant?
    3. Which of the above qualities is most prominent?
  4. Never cross the word limit, constraints are meant to be followed so when a word limit is given always stick to it
  5. Most Universities have a prompt (topic) they want you to address in the essay, make sure you read and understand this before you begin writing the essay.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a must in the application process to Universities abroad. A minimum of 3 letters of recommendation is very common. An LOR is used by the admissions committee to validate a student’s credentials and also as an endorsement of all the strengths the student has mentioned in his/her application. For this reason alone no two letters of recommendation can be the same.

Some Universities have a set pattern for a letter of recommendation, this usually comes in a downloadable pdf format that the student is expected to get signed and stamped by the respective individuals providing a reference. Some Universities provide a separate portal for this purpose, where the recommender is provided with login credentials and is supposed to fill in the form.

Another way the University contacts the recommender is when the student provides the email ID of the recommender to the University and the University drops a mail directly to the respective individuals. Usually students are given the opportunity to waive their rights to view this document if they choose.

A letter of recommendation is of importance only when the recommender is of importance. What this means is that, for a student a letter of recommendation from a professor who has had close interaction with the student, who has been actively involved in the progress and growth of the student weighs a lot more than a letter from the Head of the Department who knows absolutely nothing about the student. While the designation of the individual matters, it cannot be the only criteria. Make sure the letter of recommendation endorses the characteristics that you have mentioned as your strengths in your SOP or even other parts of the application.

There are so many skills that need to be highlighted in a letter of recommendation, to get a clear picture of this it would be best to look up a few sample letters, also find a list of skills that Universities look for in a recommendation letter

  1. Leadership Skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Social service
  4. Analytical/ research skills

Bank Documents

Purpose of Bank Statements
Education in the US is very expensive and it is definitely not something every can afford. Even domestic students find the amount quite high. Therefore the University needs to know that an applicant has sufficient funds to cover the tuition fees and the living expenses. Amount for which the proof needs to be submitted

Usually Universities ask for statements showing proof for at least 1 year of College expenses. This includes tuition fees, living expenses, books, and health insurance.

The yearly fees may be for a period of 9 or 12 months. To make sure of the tuition fee, make sure to check the tuition fee calculator. This is usually found in the admissions link under “Finance”.

Duration for which the above amount needs to be in the bank The amount is required to get the bank statements necessary for the VISA work. Even if the funds are available in different accounts it always best to get it all under one account and get a bank statement for the same. The form in which the amount is present does not matter, so long as a minimum of 50% at least is liquid cash. When the different sources are added together the amount should be equal to or more than the college expenses.

Acceptable form of the Bank documents
There are a few points that need to be kept in mind while preparing the financial documents

  1. The statement needs to be on a bank letter head or on a notarized sheet of paper
  2. The name of sponsor, relationship to the sponsor, the type of account, current balance, the amount in dollars and the conversion rate.
  3. The document should be an original document and not a photocopy

Right time to send the financial documents It usually depends on the University. Some Universities have it as a part of their application form, while others ask for the statements once the admission decision is made. It is good to get these documents in place before sending the application package as it is a time consuming process and requires a lot of precision.

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