Hitting That Button

5 minutes


Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

And with that, you have reached the end of submitting your applications.

It doesn’t feel that way, though, does it?

That’s OK. That’s bound to happen when you’ve been working on a task for more than four months (or in some cases, even 12 months!*). In an ideal scenario, you should complete your standardized tests after shortlisting the universities and before beginning the application, so that your GRE preparation doesn’t collide with writing the SOP.

Aside from the time that goes into preparation for these tests, set aside at least three months to work on your applications for all the universities.

Most universities have a singular application deadline that ranges between early December to mid-January, which every applicant must abide by. However, there are outliers to this norm, and they come in the form of rolling admissions and rounds.

Universities with rolling admissions review the application as it comes in, and send out the result within four to eight weeks.* Universities with various rounds in their application process evaluate the applications in batches at the end of each round.*

Early Bird Gets the Worm

In both cases, the advantage of applying early is clear.* The sooner you apply, the more spots there are to fill and fewer students to compete with for them. You will get your result sooner, which will give you more time to work on the post-admit procedures and let you save money by not having to apply to other universities, assuming this was your first choice. Even otherwise, having an admit on hand will prompt you to apply only to the universities which you had ranked above this. Finally, the universities will know that you are more serious about their program if they see an application land by October as opposed to January.

However, you shouldn’t forget to think about the other side of the coin.

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Is it OK to submit a shabby, sub-par application just to apply sooner or to meet an earlier deadline?

The answer is a resounding no.

You should do your due diligence with each application by proof-reading the essays at least a few times, getting recommendation letters from your top choices, and double-checking your resume and transcript. Those who apply earlier are most probably students who are seriously considering that university, and hence would have submitted a strong application. You want to put your best foot forward here. If you feel the universities that have early deadlines and rolling admissions are in your top choice, the best strategy is to simply start early.

storyI have this ritual at the end of each workday wherein I go over the list of tasks I had accomplished during the day, write down any highlights or learning points, and glance at my calendar to check the next day’s schedule. This gives me a sense of closure. I know that I can safely walk away from my day-time job and begin working on my personal projects (such as this book!).

actionTry finding such a ritual for yourself as you near the end of completing an application. You could have a check-in call with your friend to go over the details. You could take a walk and go over the application in your head. Do anything that will give you a sense of closure knowing that you’ve given it your best (or at least a pretty good) shot and that it’s OK to move on.

If you’ve been closely following the guidance provided in this part of the book, it’s time to take a break after you are done submitting the applications.

You did it!

Now, turn your attention over to the other parts of your life that took a backseat so far. In the next part of the book, we’ll dive into what you can do before and after receiving the admits to finally choose your dream university.

Applying for Scholarships23 minutes

The only way to fund myself is through loans is one of the most common myths while applying to graduate school.

We say that from personal experience.

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