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Graduate School Application Process
Never Too Early to Start the Process
From exploring internship opportunities, to satisfying prerequisites, or even visiting prospective campuses during your travels, the more you know about your interests and the program options available to you, the better.
The rule of thumb is that by the start of your junior year, you should be speaking with an advisor about actionable steps to apply.
The timeline will depend on the application deadlines of your chosen programs. Keep in mind schools may have one deadline, multiple deadlines, or rolling admissions for single or multiple program start dates. Do research to make sure you do not miss any deadlines.
Things You Need
Depending on the nature of your program you may be required to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) as part of your application. There are two main types of CVs that you may have to submit:
- A standard CV or resume: 1-page document outlining your education and experiences.
- An academic CV: similar to your standard CV, but focuses more on your academic studies and research. Often 2+ pages long. More often required for research based and PhD programs.
The terms Personal Statements and Statements of Purpose are often used interchangeably, but the two serve very different purposes.
A summary of your personal character and skills that demonstrate your readiness for the program you are applying to. It frames your motivation for pursuing a particular field of study in personal terms, while mentioning previous relevant activities such as:
- Study abroad
- Student clubs
- Significant events in your personal life
Statement of Purpose
A summary of your research and academic experiences that provide a clear trajectory of your career thus far, leading to your application to this particular program. It frames your motivation for pursuing a particular field of study/career in academic terms, while mentioning previous relevant activities such as:
- Academics, including significant course projects
- Capstone/thesis projects
A graduate school application may require three or more letters of recommendation (LoR) from your former professors and/or employers. These letters should focus on academic achievements, intellectual promise, leadership ability, and personal character.
Letters of recommendations are an important part of an application. Be sure to maintain good relationships with potential referees by staying in touch. This allows you to request a letter even years after officially interacting with the referee.
When you ask a referee for a LoR, remember to do the following:
- Meet him or her (in person or Skype) to ask for the letter and explain the purpose of the letter.
- Send your CV and a cover letter or personal statement in order to guide the professor in tailoring the letter according to your interest and skills.
- You can also ask the referee to focus on some items you would like to be highlighted in the letter.
- Ask him/her several months in advance to write the letter. Use friendly reminders before the submission deadline.
- Waive your right to see the letter.
- Be very clear about the addressee and where it should be mailed.
When choosing a recommender make sure you are choosing those who know you best and have the capacity to write strong positive letter on your behalf.
Select graduate programs will require an interview as part of their admissions process. Please keep in mind that an interview is not indicative of acceptance and that some institutions may require your physical presence. To best prepare for the interview you should:
- Schedule a mock interview with the Career Development Center.
- Review your graduate school application.
- Research your program and be prepared to discuss your motivation for attending.
- Have questions ready to ask the admissions officers.
- Be professionally dressed.
Depending on your field of study, you may be required to take a standardized test to apply for your chosen graduate program. If the language of instruction of the program is English, they may require an English language proficiency exam such as the TOEFL or IELTS. This requirement may be waived if your bachelor’s degree is from a US-accredited and/or English language institution (as NYU Abu Dhabi is).
NYU Abu Dhabi Resources
Many of our NYUAD graduates continue their studies at top schools like Oxford, Cambridge, and MIT. Learn about these further studies. We also provide the below resources to support and prepare your further study endeavors.
- Graduate School Weekend
- One on One Advising
Graduate School Weekend
Typically held in September or October, Graduate School Weekend is where we invite graduate program representatives from around the world to our campus to speak with you and answer your questions.
One on One Advising
Meeting with one of our advisors is the best way to start thinking about and preparing for graduate school.