Start Your Applications Early!
It is now mid-October and I could hardly believe that it’s already been a year since I submitted my application for the Post-Professional Master’s Program at USC! It seems like it was only yesterday that I was browsing the USC Chan admissions website for hours on end, feeling anxious about my application. Luckily for me, the whole process went by smoothly and didn’t turn out to be as stressful as I had anticipated; and I’m about to share with you some tips that made my application hassle-free:
- Do your research. First and foremost, know what you’re getting into. The Chan Admissions page is a great resource where you can find all the information that you need. I know at first glance it could feel overwhelmingly packed with a lot of information from every tab, so what I did to help myself get organized was I created a document containing all the essential information about the program—location of the school, program duration, admission criteria, etc. Having this document handy makes it a lot easier whenever questions pop up at any time. Venturing onto something new always seems daunting at first, especially if you’ll be coming from a different country, but being informed helps you stay on top of things and consequently alleviate some anxiety you may be having about the application.
- Develop a plan. The application process entails a lot of steps that you can’t just complete all in one sitting. Once you’ve done your research and more or less get a sense of the requirements that you need to complete, it’s now time to create a checklist that will help you better track where you are at, and what else needs to be done. It is of course vital to take note of important deadlines so you don’t miss them. Should you need to take any exams, such as English proficiency, make sure to schedule them as soon as possible to give you some leeway for any potential delays. In doing so, take into consideration not only the length of time you need to prepare for the exam, but also the amount of time it takes for the results to come back (and if the results are going to be sent to you, consider also the time it’ll take you to mail the results to the university, if need be).
- Have your documents ready. This is particularly important if you’ll be coming from a different country—you want to make sure that you have everything that you need on hand before moving. Needless to say, it takes up more time, effort, and resources to be requesting for documents remotely; so before you go, request all the documents you think you may need, and get extra copies! Also keep in mind that for any document that is not in the English language, you may need to have them translated.
- Take time to create your personal statement. Irrespective of how good of a writer you are, really put much thought and effort into crafting your personal statement. Read and absorb the prompt, then answer it with honesty and in a manner that reflects who you are. Don’t feel pressured trying to figure out what they’re looking to read from your essay; instead, draw on your experiences that will make your application stand out. Last but not the least, stay within the word limit and be careful not to overlook any typographical and grammatical errors.
- Explore financial resources. Funding for graduate school can be quite challenging, so take advantage of the many financial resources being offered at USC. Aside from scholarships and awards, there are also student worker positions that you can apply for, with work hours that can adjust to fit around your class schedule. You can find more information in the Scholarships and Financial Aid page.
- Don’t hesitate to ask! If, at any step during the process, you find yourself in need of some clarification about anything, the student ambassadors Bethany, Calvin, Daniel, Lamoni, Liz, Savi, and myself are always willing to provide support!