Monday, November 6, 2017

6 Ways to Make Graduate School Applications a BREEZE!

by Marissa, Career Assistant (Work Study student)

Grad school applications can be exciting, yet overwhelming... But fear not! I have compiled some tips that can help you ease the stress and make applying to grad school a breeze!

Bring out a calendar!

Grab your school agenda, print off a calendar from the internet, or pull out the calendar on your phone. The best way to keep you organized is to keep all the dates and deadlines written down in one place. I like to write things down… It calms me when I’m stressed out. But any place can be used as a calendar. If you plan to apply to grad school, there will be many deadlines and important dates to remember including application deadlines, open house dates, etc. And chances are, if you’re applying to more than one, you’ll have more than one set of deadlines to follow. So, it’s useful to keep a calendar handy to avoid confusion and error.

Another thing you can do is to set your own deadlines for completing applications. Grad school applications can be long and tedious; it can be easy to procrastinate on them. But if you give yourself realistic deadlines, it can make the process a lot easier.

Research, research, research!

Ideally, you should give yourself at least a year in advance to prepare your application. You may want to get reference letters from professors, volunteer or work experience, or other assets for your application that take time to achieve.

Researching graduate schools that offer your program of choice can take time too. There may be many schools that offer that program; there may be only a few. It all depends on what you want to study and factors that can affect your choice, such as location of school, programs offered, fees, etc.  Make sure you're thorough in finding all the necessary information to make the right decision for you.

Confused on what the application process requires? Contact the school’s admissions office and speak to someone about it. The most efficient way of getting information is to speak to someone who knows the answers to your questions.

Explore CLN!

The Career Learning Network (CLN) is a great resource we offer at the University of Toronto. It's a place to explore jobs, part-time and full-time, volunteer opportunities, workshops, events, and fairs. CLN is a great way to find extra ways to gain experience for your grad school application. In addition, there are many workshops related to graduate school applications, such as: How to Write Personal Statements, Mock MMIs, Mastering the Grad School Interview, and many more. Visit CLN to find out dates, times, and new additions to the workshop list. Registration usually opens up for workshops two weeks before the workshop date. Be sure to make use of all resources available to you! You can explore CLN at

Establish a Network and Mentor!

One way to help you through your professional career is to establish a network and/or get yourself a mentor. According to Anne Austin, most graduate students go through graduate school alone, without guidance or advice. 1  The best way to navigate graduate school is by expanding and reaching out to your network. You can do so by joining groups or clubs that you're interested in, attend events or workshops held by UTSC or your school of choice, or by speaking to Alumni when you get the chance; they may be able to give you insight on how to be successful in graduate school and your future career.

Zero stress, thanks to AA&CC!

The application may require you to write personal statements, resumes, Curriculum Vitae (CV), answer essay questions, etc. At the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC), we have Career Strategists/Career Counselors that can help you with any part of your grad school application. You can book an appointment, or come by for a drop-in session. Drop-in sessions are great because you can see an advisor right away and get immediate feedback on your application.

If you’re in the beginning stages of the application process, don’t know how to write a CV or personal statement, or just want to talk about the possibility of attending graduate school, AA&CC is an excellent place to start.  We also have many tip sheets ( on preparing for professional schools including:

Looking for someone to review your resume really quick for your application or a job? Come to Rapid Resume Review (RRR). Our Employment Peers can review resumes for both jobs and grad school applications. Drop in for RRR any day of the week between 10am-12pm.

Ensure all documents are complete and ready to go!

Be absolutely sure you don't miss any parts of the application, as each part is imperative to your acceptance. Make sure you have everything ready to go by the time you apply because once you hit send, there’s no going back to make changes.

I hope these tips help you in your journey to grad school. Until next time!


1.  Ann E. Austin (2002) Preparing the Next Generation of Faculty, The Journal of Higher Education, 73:1, 94-122, DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2002.11777132

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