Applying to graduate school was so nerve-racking, confusing, and exciting all at the same time! I had worked so hard for the last four years to finally reach this point! Applying to graduate school meant I was one step closer to my goal! However, I had to figure a few things out as I went through trial and error. Now that I’ve finished my applications and got accepted into physical therapy graduate school, I want to help future graduate school applicants know what to expect throughout this process!
1. Graduate school applications are expensive!
First things first, those applications are NOT free! I applied to five physical therapy schools and ended up paying a chunk of money! The more schools you apply to the more expensive your application will be. However, you don’t want to not apply and risk not getting in, right? So, start saving now! I would suggest that you apply to the average amount of schools for your program. So, just Google the average amount and pay up. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also, expect lots of extra fees on top of this. To make things easier on myself, I paid an extra fee to have a company put in my transcripts for me in order to save time, stress, and possible mistakes (if your application offers this, decide what is right for you). Then, once you’ve been accepted, you may be asked to pay a non-refundable fee to hold your spot in the program. Thankfully, I got out of paying all of these (except for the program I chose to attend) because other programs let me know if I was accepted just in time. For many programs, if you do end up attending, this fee will go toward your first-semester tuition. You may also be asked to apply to that college’s general graduate school. This will also require an application fee. Thankfully, this one wasn’t too pricey.
2. Learn how your program does their applications
It is important that you understand how your application process will work before you start. This means taking the time to look up this information so that you can gain a better understanding. For physical therapy graduate applications, I had to apply through the PTCAS website. Because there is one online system for all accredited schools, I only had to fill out one application which was then sent to all five schools. This was a real time saver! So, hopefully, your program has something like this!
The most important thing you need to know about your graduate school application is each school’s deadline. More than likely, they will all be different! Write this down and keep it somewhere where you will see it. I would also suggest that you put this information into your planner or on your calendar! I would hate for you to miss a deadline!
3. Apply early
If I were you, I would start applying to your graduate school program as soon as the application opened. Applying early makes you look well-organized, prepared, and excited which could send your application over the top. Throughout my application process, I learned that one of the schools I applied to did a rolling acceptance, so the earlier you applied the better chance you had. Many applications open months in advance so take advantage of this and apply way early! Seriously, whatever you do, don’t wait until the last-minute! I’ve seen people do this, and it didn’t end well!
4. Try to shine!
Don’t be embarrassed to brag about yourself on your applications. This is what they are for! Take your time to answer every question as best as you can. Ask family and friends for feedback, and please don’t forget to spell check! Remember to go above and beyond on as many of the requirements as you can to give your application a little something extra!
5. Be patient
Last but not least, it is important to be patient. I know that you will want to hear from programs as soon as you send in your application, but it takes time to hear back from these schools. They have a lot of people applying, and they need to weed through all of those applications to find the best of the best. On the other hand, if you haven’t heard back from a school some time after they are supposed to release acceptances, don’t hesitate to call. Everyone I spoke to was kind and helpful! Remember, if you worked hard, you should have nothing to worry about! And if things don’t work out as you had planned, you must have faith that there is a reason for this!
I hope that this post gives you a little more insight on what applying to graduate school will be like. Remember, much of this is based on my physical therapy application process so things may be a little different for you! However, this should be able to give you an idea of what to expect! Best of luck!
Have a question about graduate school applications? Don’t hesitate to ask it in the comments below!
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