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).
Resumes (pronounced re-syoo-mayz) are included in your application for an American university for three reasons:
- firstly, to give the admissions committee a brief snapshot of your academic performance – academic performance carries great weightage in deciding whether you will be admitted or not and in some universities admissions committees form their first impressions of your academic performance by looking at your resume
- secondly, to present your qualifications for a research or teaching assistantship – for this reason remember to attach a covering letter to your resume requesting that it be circulated to interested professors
- thirdly, to provide details of projects, seminars, industrial training etc. that you could not include in your SOP because of the word limit
Note that the resume is different from a bio data or a curriculum vitae (CV) in several respects: whereas bio datas and CVs are all-inclusive, data bank-like documents written in chronological order, resumes are compact, focused documents written in reverse chronological order that highlight only the most relevant and important information for course (or post) being applied for. So, don’t turn your resume into a Bio Data or CV – that would defeat the very purpose of the document.
A resume, like all other application documents, is designed to answer one crucial question: “Why should you be selected?” Of all the application documents (the SOP, the recommendation letters, and the transcripts), the resume answers that question in the briefest yet most comprehensive way. In order to achieve its goals, the resume must present the most important facts about you in their most concentrated form, in the smallest possible space. This will enable it to present a compelling snapshot of your strengths as a candidate and persuade the Admissions Committee that you are a good choice. Here are some tips that will help your resume to achieve its intended goals:
Our list covers 125 universities with deadlines ranging from December 2013 all the way up to August 2014. At the end is a section on universities with rolling deadlines (click here to find out what is meant by rolling deadlines).
Remember that American universities update deadlines on their websites at different times during the academic year so, we will update this blog to keep up with changes on their official websites.
If you are thinking of getting admission in fall 2014 the clock is ticking and August is drawing to a close. So, if you want to be in your American university at around this time next year, what should be your priorities in the next couple of months (and as you can see from the picture above, it really is beautiful there during fall). Hint: one thing that you will need to do is start thinking about which universities to apply to – and then there is going to be a lot of head scratching that you will have to do to select universities to apply to …and so much interviewing and researching that you are going to feel .like a news reporter! The details are below. Ready to read? Well, get set and go!
- Tips from Adheesh Gokhale (GRE Score: 338/340) – working student: Admitted to State University of New York, Stony Brook (fall 2013), Master’s in Computer Science
- Tips from Ashwin Ranna (GRE Score: 337/340): Admitted to Carnegie Mellon (fall 2013), PhD in Environmental Engineering
- Tips from Tanmay Gurjar (GRE Score: 335/340): Admitted to University of Texas, Austin (fall 2013), Master’s in Mechanical Engineering
- Tips from Debanjana Nayak (GRE Score: 330/340) – working student
- Tips from Rasika Joshi (GRE Score: 325/340): Admitted to Wisconsin Madison (fall 2012), MS-PhD (Electrical Engineering)