THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Use a computer or typewriter. The neatness (or lack thereof) speaks directly for you, especially if you are not interviewing at that school. It will be an indication of how dedicated you are to the process of applying, your work style, your desire to go to that school, etc. Give yourself two months to prepare applications and set a schedule for yourself. Be sure to include the application fee with the application when you send each one out.
This is not necessary, but it is recommended. If your resume is neat, concise, and speaks well of you as a candidate for the program, use it. Include research, work, honors, training and anything pertaining to your specialty. Your resume will probably not help if it has no "relevant" information (info directly related to your intended field of study). See in CRC library as well as our resume guide.
CAREER GOALS STATEMENT
Most, if not all, schools will ask for a statement regarding your goals and perhaps experience which led you to your decision to apply to graduate school. Take this assignment VERY SERIOUSLY. A well-written, well- thought-out statement may not override below-average grades and test scores, but a poorly-written essay will greatly hurt your chances of acceptance.
Stick to the requested information. Be honest and straight-forward. Say what is relevant. Don't feel bad if you think you have little experience and little to say about yourself. Admissions committees are looking for good candidates who will adapt well, be committed, enhance the program and who seem to "fit" their program. They do not expect you to know "everything" upon entrance.
WHY I AM APPLYING TO YOUR PROGRAM STATEMENT
This is also a very important part of the application process. If you have done your research on the programs, you already know what attracted you so this should be relatively easy. If the goals and philosophy of the school appeal to you and you like certain opportunities that are being offered, say it in a concise manner.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Ask for these approximately two months before you will need them. Find professors or other recommenders who are qualified to speak about your potential in your chosen field of study. Professors are generally best because they are familiar with your academics, study habits, work philosophy and research. Ask your recommenders if they feel they know you well enough to write a fairly in-depth description of your qualifications. This is very important because of the weight these letters carry in the final admissions decisions.
You may find the Credential Service offered by the CRC to be beneficial. By submitting a simple form and fee, the credential coordinator will send the specified number of letters to the graduate schools you choose. Pick up an info sheet at the CRC or call for further information. You may also view the Credential Service web site.
The Registrar at Wesleyan handles requests and charges a fee. Requests must be made in writing. If you studied abroad or at another institution, you will need to obtain your transcripts from these schools. Keep in mind the time overseas mail will take.
THE WAITING PERIOD
The wait seems to go on forever. Do not expect to hear from schools any sooner than mid-March unless the school indicated that they will notify you sooner. You may want to call to check the status of your file. With most applications being done online you should receive a confirmation email and can follow your application status via the web.
Again, if you did your homework on each school, you should be prepared for the interview. Review your application, statement of goals, etc. Think of questions you would like to ask. Be able to give an accurate appraisal of your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Be tactful and relaxed. Avoid name dropping and elaborate attempts at impressing the interviewers.
Few schools reimburse for travel costs. This is another expenditure you will want to keep in mind.
ACCEPTING & DECLINING
Most schools begin notifying students of decisions mid-to-late March. Schools offering fellowships or assistantships for the following academic year make their first offer before April 1. You usually have until the 15th of April to decide. Even as an alternate, schools may ask you to make a decision as soon as possible as to whether you would accept an offer from them should one become available.
In declining, be considerate and don't make schools wait more than a few days, if possible. Remember, other students want those spots you will eventually decline. Putting off your decision leaves someone else in limbo.
Do not take your obligation lightly once you accept an offer. Stick to the terms of your agreement. Word gets around and backing out of an agreement may endanger your chances elsewhere. Attempts to be released from agreements after April 15 will most likely endanger your status at other schools.
Do not be discouraged if you haven't had an offer by April 15. Openings occur all the time and new opportunities open as government grants are announced. Sometimes offers will be made as late as September 1st.