The Quadrant Framework



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.

When you’re purchasing a new house, you don’t just look at the price of the house. You also look at the location, mortgage, down payment, number of bedrooms, quality of furniture, and more. All of these factors will affect your experience after you move into the house. Your graduate school follows the same analogy.

Although it is easier to choose a university solely based on its rank, that is not an indicator of your experience, good or bad, once you join.

Below is a table with all the factors that we thought you should be looking at while evaluating the universities to apply to.

The Quadrant Framework

  • Requirements: Most universities try to reduce the applicant pool size by specifying the minimum scores that you must have to even apply in the first place. These scores allude to your CGPA, GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS exams. Apart from the scores, we placed the tuition fee in this section because that should be considered a limiting factor to apply as well; it could range from $20,000 for a university like Texas A&M, all the way to $80,000 for a university like Columbia (not counting for scholarships or assistantships).

  • Academia: Once you validate that you satisfy the requirements, this should be the second most important quadrant to look at. On average, you will spend about 25% of your waking hours in classes, 50% on assignments and research, and the rest on job search and leisure activities. So the courses you take and research you conduct will define the largest chunk of your graduate school experience.

  • Career: Most of you want to not just study abroad, but also work abroad. We know from experience, as explained in the first chapter, that getting an internship or a job is not the easiest feat to achieve. It would be wise to choose a university that helps you in this process in addition to teaching you the concepts and skills required for the job.

  • Miscellaneous: This contains factors such as ranking and location that we couldn’t place neatly under the other quadrants. Apart from the ones we’ve listed above for all quadrants, feel free to add more that are personal dealbreakers specific to your background.

Good question! Funnily enough, the problem isn’t that there is too little information. Rather, there is too much of it.

The phrase information overload was coined back in 1964* by Bertram Gross in his book The Managing of Organizations. As the decades rolled on, the overload only got more and more dire with the advent of the internet, email, and now social media.

Now, your task is to find useful information amidst all this noise, rather than just find the information.

Let’s find out how we can do it for the various quadrants below.

Admission Requirements

The information on scores and tuition will be present in the department’s website, although in different formats. Consider the following example: the Computer Science department at Purdue University clearly states that the past admits all had a “GPA of at least 3.5/4 or 85/100 or 8.5/10, and total TOEFL scores of at least 100 and subsection scores of at least 22, or IELTS scores of at least 7.5”*. On the other hand, the Computer Science department at Stanford University states that they expect the applicants to have “good English skills,” without specifying the minimum required scores.*

For situations like this, we have another solution for you:

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