Are you applying to graduate schools soon? Feeling confused and overwhelmed by everything you need to do? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. When I was filling out my physical therapy graduate school applications, I felt like there was always so much that I needed to get done. I was constantly worried that I would miss an important deadline or forget to send a transcript on time! By the end of my application cycle, I finally figured out a few ways to organize my graduate school application in order to make things a little easier on myself. In this post, I am going to teach you a few simple ways that you can start organizing your graduate school applications too!
1. Understand why you should organize
Before we get into how you should organize your graduate school applications, we need to talk about why organization is important. As I mentioned above, there are a ton of deadlines when you are applying to programs. Each program has a different application deadline than the others. Every program also requires a bunch of other things that you need to do before your application is considered complete. Being organized is the best way for you to avoid missing these deadlines and to avoid losing important items. If you are organized, you will be able to keep your application process neat and will feel a lot less overwhelmed!
2. Do some research
The next thing that you need to do when organizing your graduate school applications is to do research. In order to stay on top of everything, you need to know the application deadline for every program you are applying to. Beyond that, you also need to write down each program’s specific requirements such as courses, shadowing hours, volunteer work, and more. It is also important for you to write down any extra courses that might give you bonus points on your application. For me, these were courses like genetics, neuroscience, biochemistry, and more. Then, remember to keep all of this information in a handy, easy to access place! Once you’ve done this research, write it all down!
3. Pick an organization system that works for you
Having a system that works for you is the most important part of getting and staying organized. If you aren’t going to use it, why bother, right? Since I am on my computer all the time, I actually organized my graduate school applications through an online system called Trello. I was able to make a board for my graduate school application information, a list for each program, and cards for any important information such as login information, important deadlines, things I needed to do, and more. Having all of this information in one place that could be accessed on my computer and on my phone when I’m on the go worked wonders for me! I was also able to add important links (like each program’s main information page) to help me save time! Want to try using Trello for yourself? Here’s a post I wrote about it!
If Trello doesn’t look right for you, I suggest that you write important information in a word document or that you create a folder for each program. Remember, the main thing is to have one place with all of the information you need!
4. Make yourself a checklist
Once you have your organization system in place, you can start creating a running checklist for everything that you need to accomplish before each program deadline. These can be anything from starting your application, completing each step of your application, sending your transcript, and more! Just check things off as you go and to continue adding more to do’s as they come up! Remember to keep things neat so that you can stay more organized!
5. Get to work
Once you have your organization system set up, it’s time to get to work! I encourage you to start your application at least three months before the program deadline. These applications take longer than you would think and some of them also have a month long processing time after you submit your application that may need to be done before your program deadline. So, whatever you do, don’t procrastinate! I would hate for you to pay all that money on an application just to miss the deadline!
I hope that this post has given you a few ideas on how you can organize your graduate school applications! If you have any questions or extra tips, don’t hesitate to ask them below! Best of luck on getting accepted into whatever graduate programs you apply to!
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