5 Tips for Crafting a Successful Postgraduate Application
A course in postgraduate study is a big commitment, but it is a worthwhile undertaking. A postgraduate qualification increases your employability and can be essential for career progression in many fields. The first step to embarking on postgraduate study is writing a great application. Making any kind of application is a time consuming and stress inducing business. At PAC Apply, we have been supporting graduates with the application process for over twenty years and we have picked up some tips along the way.
- Prepare in advance of starting the application process. A large amount of applicants leave everything to the last minute, and while you won’t be penalised for applying on the day of the deadline, scrambling to get everything submitted on time will only increase your stress levels! Check the requirements before you begin your application and have your documents ready. You can assume there are certain documents that will be required – undergraduate transcripts, a form of ID and a personal statement. All the information you need is available to you online. Remember colleges and ITs want you to apply and they want you to be successful, so always reach out if you need help or advice.
- A common query we hear from applicants is why the application form asks for certain information. You may want to list all of your previous work experience but the form only has space for three examples. You may have several references that you wish to include, but the form only asks for one. Keep in mind that the admissions office knows what they are looking for. The college does not need to know about every job you have had, they only want to know information that is relevant to your application. Tailor the information you are providing to show your interest, experience and motivations for undertaking further study in your particular field.
- If you are applying to a research masters or PhD, make contact with a potential supervisor before submitting your application. You may not be able to submit your application without having secured a supervisor in advance. Do not just pick from the staff list on the department page of the colleges website! Look into the potential options and make sure you areas of research align. It is going to be an important relationship so put in the work in advance.
- Write a great personal statement! Think about what you want to say, what your motivations are for further study and keep it professional. A personal statement should outline your academic achievements to date. It should not be an autobiographical letter full of anecdotes. Outline how your proposed course of study will improve the university and what you hope to achieve from the undertaking. Check the website of the college or IT you are applying to, they may have published guidelines to help you construct your statement.
- Proof read everything – this may sound like basic advice but we often get panicked emails from students who realise they have made an error in their application after submitting it. Have someone else look over your application as fresh eyes can often spot something you miss. Simple grammar or spelling errors really can make the difference between acceptance or rejection.
A confident and clear application is the first step to embarking on a successful course of postgraduate study. It it worth your time and attention.