If you are applying for spring, here’s one last call to check the timeline for applications – though university deadlines for spring go up to December, the last phase of deadlines is drawing to a close (see deadlines for spring 2014 for more details). For those late universities there are still a number of things you need to get done right away! Note that the timeline below is geared to the earliest universities (which have their deadlines in June). However, the steps given below all need to be taken for all universities no matter what their deadlines are. So, hurry and get into action, there’s no time to lose.
- at least 3-5 months before your GRE, begin vocabulary preparation and preliminary reading practice
- 2 months before your GRE, begin going through the practice material
- 1 month before your GRE, begin your practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTS)
This is explained below: As you can see there are four aspects of preparation that you have to cover:
- Vocabulary Learning and Revision
- Preliminary Reading Practice
- Covering the Practice Material
- Practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTs)
Each of the sections below gives you a brief idea of how to handle one aspect of preparation. Each section also contains links (in red) which give you further important details about the aspect of preparation that it deals with. Before you read through the sections below read through the post on ‘some principles’ for GRE Preparation. This will give you important guidelines on how to work through the material described in each of the sections.
Recommendation letters should cover the following points (also see the links to great sample recos at the end of this post):
- How long the recommender has known you and in what capacity (teacher, seminar or project guide, practical supervisor, project leader etc.)
- His or her assessment of your academic performance (relative rank etc.), intellectual abilities, work habits and character
- Your special achievements – especially in projects or in papers presented
- Your communication skills – how well you were able to present your seminars
- Your social skills – ability to work well with others, leadership qualities
- Some background about the recommender – this is useful in the case of professors whose work in a field might be good but little known outside India; things to highlight include area of work, achievements in that area (papers published, awards etc.), prominent places worked in, length of experience and so on
- Download the transcript form from the website of Pune University
- Fill up the form and submit the form in person at the transcripts department – this is located on university campus. Do not forget to carry original mark sheets if required for verification. In case you are asked to submit mark sheets, submit photocopies not originals.
- Pay the required fees immediately at Bank of Maharashtra counter located on the university campus. Continue reading
Some universities accept only university transcripts; others accept college transcripts or even an attested mark sheet. Some universities require you to submit 2 transcripts. It is very important that you read the American university requirements carefully before applying. Make sure you do not send them the wrong document type as it will delay the admission process.
These are issued by the university your college is affiliated to e.g. M.I.T. College in Pune is affiliated to Pune University. If you are a student of that college and the American university you are applying to requires university transcripts, you should get transcripts from Pune University.
The transcript is an official summary of your academic performance and progress to date. It is one of the key documents you have to submit when you are applying for admission to a doctoral or master’s program of studies in an American college or university (the others are the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, a resume and of course your GRE and TOEFL scores). In order for the transcript to be acceptable to American universities as an official document, it must conform to the following specifications – it should be:
- a ‘bona fide certificate’ containing:
- your name
- the name of the college where you studied
- the name of the course you studied
- the duration for which you were at the university/college and date of completion of the course
- whether all subjects are compulsory or whether there are elective subjects, a project etc.
- the number of semesters in the course and the duration of each semester
- the duration of each lecture
- the minimum marks required to pass in a subject
- the maximum number of grace marks that may be given so that a student may pass or obtain a higher class
- the score scheme used: grade point average (GPA) or aggregate percentage/class system
Here’s your checklist of tasks for this month – and note there’s a lot of heavy documentation work that you have to be doing, so be prepared to do a lot of running around to your college and your university
- Arrange for 10-13 sets of transcripts in sealed covers from your college or university – some universities insist on university transcripts
- Choose your recommenders (generally 3 recommendations are required, at least one of which should be from the educational institute last attended) and give them the necessary details – resume, copies of your mark sheets etc.
- Start working on your Statement of Purpose (target date for completion 31 October 2013) and resume
Note: for the full schedule see: timeline for fall 2014
Related Links:Application for MS (or PhD) in the US: Key Steps, Crucial Decisions, Vital Information How to Crack the GRE All the Key Facts about TOEFL and IELTS
In the context of higher education in America, recommendation letters are statements by teachers, supervisors or employers which highlight your qualities, background and achievements and show that you are a good candidate for a doctoral or master’s program of studies.
To make sure that you are an applicant of good caliber every university will ask you to submit at least 3 recommendation letters along with your application form. If you are a student, these recommendation letters should come from teachers who have taught you important subjects or supervised relevant project work, research papers or seminars. If you are a working professional and your work experience is relevant to the field you plan to do your degree in, one letter can come from your immediate superior in the organization (if you have been working for a very long time then you can take letters from two people in organizations you have worked with, but at least one recommendation should be academic).