Graduate School Application Timeline: Part 2
By Stella Ko, M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology
Category: Academic Success
Check the Application Requirements
Most programs may require your undergraduate and master’s transcripts, standardized test scores, CV/resume, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Other additional materials may be writing samples or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores.
Standardized Tests (GRE, GMAT, or others)
Bring your drafts (even without a draft) to the MU Career Center to get a one-on-one revision before you upload your documents! Our career specialists are well-trained and will be more than happy to help you polish your CV/resume as more times as you want!
Important tips: If you are going to a research-focused program, make sure you move the “publications” section forward right after your education background. If you have not published any paper officially, make a section called “research experience” and talk about the projects you are/were involved (the career specialists can help you transform your experience into precise bullet points!).
Important tips: Schedule a one-on appointment with the MU Writing Center or upload your drafts to the Online Writing Center to get professional writing assistance!
Letters of Recommendation
The amount of the letters will vary by programs. In most cases, you’ll need 3-4 letters from your professors (“academic reference”) , advisor/mentor (not the one who helps you with class enrollment but the one who guides you through research or project development), and your supervisors at work (“professional reference”). Here’s a suggested step-by-step approach:
- Ask your prospective recommenders to see if they are able to write you a letter of recommendation.
- If yes, send your recommenders a Word table/Excel spreadsheet with all the programs you want them to write the letter for and their DEADLINES.
- Meanwhile, add your recommenders‘ contact information to the online application system so they can access your profile and upload the letter for you.
- Send recommenders a kind reminder if they have not uploaded the letter yet two weeks before the deadline.
- Don’t forget to send your recommenders a thank you note: Guide to Thank You
Important tips: The application system will ask if you want to waive your rights to access the letter, which means you will not be able to view or make revision to the letter. Check “YES” because you want the programs to think that the letter of recommendation is reliable. Also, do not feel bad if you need to remind professors of the submission of your letter. As long as your reminder is soft, you should be fine! Professors are busy and they may appreciate your reminder.
- Go to MyZou and request an official transcript sent by mail (it usually takes 5 days to place your order and ship the letter to the programs so please make the request EARLIER!).
- Go to MyZou and request an official transcript sent by E-mail (some programs say they accept an electronic transcript as long as it’s sent by the school).
- Order an electronic transcript through MyZou and upload it to the application websites yourself.
Important tips: Don’t forget to order the official GRE transcripts through ETS as well! It also takes approximately 5 days so do it as soon as you receive your writing score (10 days after your test date)!All of these look SUPER SCARY and time-consuming but all your efforts will be paid-off after you receive the interview invitations and the official acceptance letter from your dreamed schools!