My program of choice had fall-only admission, so it would be a year until I could apply again.
When the application deadline rolled around the next year, I was ready. My GRE was taken, my letters of recommendation were in, my statement of purpose was drafted and re-drafted. It took me a bit longer than expected, but I was ready to apply for graduate school!
The moral of my story is this: Don’t wait until the last minute to research and apply to graduate schools, and consider your options in advance. Applying to graduate schools that you want to attend is important, and you deserve to have ample time to decide where you want to go. Here are some tips for tackling your graduate school search, from someone who has been there, done that!
Give yourself time to research schools.
Apply to a bunch or just a few: do what works for you. Allow yourself time to consider what ones have the program you’re looking for, what they offer for financial aid or assistantships, and more. Get in contact with the school’s Graduate Admissions Office and get your questions answered. Consider contacting program coordinators or available faculty to speak with them about your program of interest. The earlier you look into schools, the more time you have to get what you need to apply.
Many colleges hold Graduate School Fairs in the fall semester, where representatives attend that provide information and other resources about their schools. The Career Development Center at SUNY Plattsburgh will be hosting a Graduate School Fair on campus on September 21st, 2016. Fairs are an excellent way to get questions answered and meet with an admissions representative one-on-one. Keep an eye out for Betsy, the Director of Graduate Admissions at SUNY Plattsburgh at Graduate Fair tours around New York State.
Things to remember:
– Your undergraduate school may have resources for searching for graduate schools in their Career Center.
Visit, visit, visit!
If you can, visit your top choices for graduate school. Like in undergrad, it is important to get a feel for the college before becoming a student. Visiting campus allows you to get a glimpse of campus resources, structure, and campus culture. Do you want a campus that has a lot to do, and a lot of students? Or would a school with a smaller graduate population work better for you?
SUNY Plattsburgh Graduate Admissions will be hosting a Graduate Studies Visit Day on November 5th, 2016 where students can visit campus, speak to program faculty, and get more information about what the campus has to offer.
– Explore the area. What stores are nearby? What is there to do in the area? Would you try to live in the community, or live on campus?
Be Prepared (Really Prepared).
Applying last-minute is stressful. If you’re not careful, it’s possible that your application and materials will not arrive to your college of choice in time! Knowing what the schools you’re applying for need for your application — and when they need it by — is crucial. If you don’t plan ahead, items may arrive late and you application may need to be deferred to another semester, or another year.
Things to remember:
– If you need to take a test like the GRE or MAT, it can take time to get an appointment. Your scores can take 2-3 weeks or more to arrive
– Official transcripts usually need to remain sealed. These can take 2-3 weeks to arrive; it’s a good idea to confirm the colleges you’ve sent them to have received them (just in case)!
– Recommenders for letters of recommendation need time to create a good recommendation for you. Request these as soon as possible, even months in advance. If you haven’t heard from your recommender or received confirmation that the college has gotten your letter, write your recommender an email to check in.
– Statements of purpose, resumes, and writing samples should be polished and well-written. If you have access to writing tutoring or proofreading, use them! Go through your work and ensure your best effort is put forward.
When to prepare: Right away. As soon as you know you’ll need an item, begin working on it. Start early so you can apply ahead of time.
Thinking of applying to SUNY Plattsburgh for graduate study?
You’re in luck.
Online application. Our new online application form makes applying easy! After you submit your application form, be sure to look for our follow up email with information about additional application items required. Once you submit your application, you’ll be issued a MyPlattsburgh login (if you don’t already have one) and you can upload application items to us through the MyPlattsburgh portal.
Send it as you get it. Our office will accept application items piece-by-piece, which means you can send your items as you receive them or complete them. You don’t have to wait until your application is complete to get the ball rolling on applying.
Instant MAT results. The Graduate Admissions Office offers the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) by appointment and on scheduled days. If your program of interest accepts the MAT, your results could be entered into your file right away.
Plattsburgh students get PSU transcripts free. If you’ve taken courses or received a degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and are applying to one of our programs, our office will retrieve your Plattsburgh transcript for free.
Email, fax, and scan recommendations. Your recommenders can send their letters of recommendation to our office directly and instantly. No need to put them through the mail.
Continued support. Our office is ready to help you from applying to graduate school to your time as a student. The Graduate Admissions Team is ready to get your SUNY Plattsburgh application started!
Assistantships and Fellowships are available. Funding for your graduate education is made accessible at SUNY Plattsburgh through the availability of graduate assistantships and the Diversity Fellowship. Applications can be submitted online.
Are you interested in applying to SUNY Plattsburgh for graduate study? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with the Graduate Admissions Office for more information about your program of interest, or about what Plattsburgh has to offer.