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What You Need to Know About Graduate Applications

Suppose you are considering applying for graduate studies in the United States or other overseas countries. In that case, you may already know that you need to provide GPA transcripts, prepare for TOEFL/IELTS and GRE/GMAT, prepare adequate essays and various supplementary materials, such as portfolios and resumes. Moreover, recommendation letters and interviews are required to complete the application submission process. These are just basic materials, and the Graduate Admissions Assessment is more comprehensive and involves a deeper perspective that goes beyond academic achievement.

Graduate schools expect students to be gifted, eager to learn, highly motivated, able to work independently, and able to accept guidance and advice with humility as well as objectivity. Mentors also expect students to work well with teachers, work diligently, and fulfill the mentor's project requirements. Therefore, it is important to have good time management skills, complete studies with excellent grades, and be able to make achievements in professional fields. Graduate school is designed to allow students to complete more in-depth academic subjects than undergraduates.

Students need to identify the postgraduate degree they want to apply for. Research institutes generally have professional masters, research masters, and doctoral degrees. If you want to develop specific skills for a specific career, it's a good idea to consider a professional master, which offers courses that focus on learning and practical skills. If you want to gain expertise in a subject and know how to teach it, you can choose a research master's program. A research master's programs typically include a research project or dissertation and comprehensive examinations and coursework, and offers opportunities for research and scholarships. If the goal is to ground yourself in a body of research and develop abilities that add to the body of knowledge, consider a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). Doctoral research includes a significant research project in addition to coursework. Contrary to what many believe, career paths for Ph.D. graduates can be very diverse and not limited to academia. The doctoral study helps students hone their skills in writing, research, teaching, data analysis, and communication on complex topics, all of which can be well sought after in many industries, such as industry, government, non-profit organizations, and commercial enterprises.

For example, Duke University has made time planning suggestions for future undergraduates who want to apply for graduate school on its official website:


  • Assess your own interests, abilities, and career goals

  • Choose a tutor

  • Preparing for extracurricular activities (e.g.: project training, campus visits, attending summer courses)


  • Collect graduate program information

  • Collect application materials

  • Learn about entrance exam requirements and dates

  • Learn about application deadlines


  • Narrow the list of graduate schools

  • Writing the first draft of the essay

  • Contact the recommendation letter teacher


  • Choose the school to apply to

  • Registration Entrance Exam

  • Submit a complete application

Graduate school applications can be quite competitive, and it is recommended that students learn and plan as early as possible. If you are still an undergraduate, you can ask yourself more about your career and personal goals, analyze your academic strengths and weaknesses, learn more about yourself, and do more research on graduate schools and research directions. A thorough understanding will help you choose the best option. In addition, applying to relevant courses will also help you convince admissions officers that you are the perfect candidate for their graduate program.

Note: A portion of the information in the article comes from the Duke University website.



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