Student Advice

Tips for Applying to Grad School
Student Advisor posted on March 20, 2017 |

Once you have committed to pursuing an engineering master’s degree, your line of thinking quickly shifts to the application process and corresponding to-do list.

There are plenty of factors to consider before diving into any application, and as always, planning is key. Lots of questions will come up during this stage, including:

      • How do I apply to grad school?
      • When should I apply to grad school? 
      • How many grad schools should I apply to?

As a result, creating an “applying to grad school” checklist is imperative in order to ensure you are completing all the necessary steps in the application process, and enhancing your prospects of receiving a favourable response from the admissions panel.

Below are some crucial tips to follow when embarking on an engineering grad school application.

Research, Research, Research

From scrutinizing application dates to learning the ins and outs of the school and degree program you are applying to, thorough research will help you tick all the right boxes during the application process.

Receiving good advice from the right people is a vital component of applying to grad school, and finding these people is part of  your research. This can entail speaking to alumni, academic staff and course advisors, as well as attending open days at your schools of choice. There are also online tools that help identify the right fit for you, such as the Graduate School Degree Finder.

Thorough research stands out on applications, and admissions staff will take note of those that put in the hard work.


Get Your Timing Right

Creating a graduate school application timeline gives you plenty of leeway for researching graduate programs and makes sure you allocate enough time to complete comprehensive applications for each school. Given that most grad school application deadlines fall during the last quarter of the year, starting to work on your applications at the beginning of the year is a great way of spacing out your to-do list and allowing yourself plenty of time to complete each step of the process correctly.

In creating an application schedule, you will also quickly learn that many graduate programs implement rolling admissions, whereby they evaluate applications as and when they come in, as opposed to all at once following the deadline. This does not necessarily mean that getting your application in early is advantageous, and should not result in rushed applications. The key is to note the deadline for each application, and ensure sufficient time is devoted to each.


Narrowing Down Your Schools and Programs

Once you have done all the ground work and noted the key application dates, it will be time to make a decision about which schools and programs to apply to. Sifting through the abundant information collected beforehand can be daunting, but creating a final short list is imperative.

Ideally, you want to apply to 3-8 graduate programs; having fewer limits your chances of getting selected at all, while too many makes it difficult to dedicate sufficient time to each application. It might be tough to leave some schools off your list, but if you have put the hard work into research, you will have a clearer understanding of which school and program can deliver to your needs.