Once you’re done with your GRE and obtained a satisfactory score, you will start feeling relaxed thinking, “Well, now my job’s done”. It won’t be long enough when you’ll realise that appearing for the GRE exam was just the beginning. The major chunk of the work still remains and frustration slowly creeps in because you keep forgetting one thing or the other.
List of important steps after the GRE exam:
TOEFL isn’t an important criterion for withholding your admission process. Basically, TOEFL or IELTS are tests of your English skills. Their role comes into play at the time of Visa and during your Teaching Assistantship (TA). But it is always better that you are done with all the exams before applying to the universities.
Ideal Time: September-October
This is probably the most important and the most hectic time you will go through. You should choose a course purely based on your interest. Usually, students opt for a course based on their undergrad stream, although you can apply to any other different course. The only important part is that you should be able to justify to yourself why you want a course different from your undergrad stream, perhaps in your SOP.
The next step after GRE is to arrange documents. This is, as usual, tedious and boring. You have to run here and there, from the office on the first floor to the HOD on the 4th floor, each will keep dumping the work on the other. It isn’t so easy to obtain transcripts, LORs, attested mark sheets and Bank Statements. As said before, earlier you engage in this work lesser will be the problems.
Below is a brief explanation on how and when you should arrange these documents:
As soon as the final year begins (7th semester), start talking to the respective professors who will give you a recommendation. Honestly, it isn’t that simple to get a reco (as adorably it is said) unless you have an excellent rapport with the teacher. You should learn how to butter them and make sure they write well about you. It is a long process as you have to make a lot of rough drafts and eventually ready the final document.
It is better that work should begin on this the very first day and the final draft should be ready by October last week to avoid last minute hassles.
NOTE: There is no need to make a hardcopy for the LOR as all the universities accept it online unless the specific university asks for one.
A transcript is an official document which comprises all your marks in detail (Semester-wise, subject-wise breakups, term work & viva marks) in a single sheet and is issued by your college. You have to make frequent visits to your college office for getting the sample transcript, entering the complete details of all the subjects starting from semester 1 till the current semester, approving it, getting it stamped and then sealing it.
Work can begin as soon as semester 6 results (for fresh applicants) are declared around September.
Number of copies required are around 15.
Frankly speaking, arranging this document isn’t very difficult. Firstly, you need to know how much are you willing to, or in other words, how much can you spend for the next two years in USA (roughly around USD 55,000). Talk to your bank manager and get attested copies of the bank statement which is a proof of your financial solvency.
So, once your finances are in place and you've had multiple meetings with your bank manager and decided the amount with or without loan, final papers should be ready by November first week but it is advisable that you start approaching the bank early in October.
Number of copies required are generally 15.
An affidavit is similar to the bank statement, just that it is an official document issued by the Government and it states who will be financing your education. You can make an affidavit by simply going to the court and telling the lawyer the exact details to fill in.
Preparring this document doesn't take more than a day once you know who is ready to sponsor you and the exact amount. Tentative time is around November first week.
Number of copies required are generally 15.
Important: Make sure that the bank statement and affidavit amounts are the same.
The heart of your application process. This is the only document which is supposedly compulsory. Start making your SOP around October first week as you have to make a lot of rough drafts for a week or 10 days. Get a few opinions from your seniors (to see whether you have written all the data properly) and an English expert (for the language and the grammar).
Suggestion: Although you may have secured a good GRE score, try to keep the language simple and make sure you focus more on the content rather than flaunting your knowledge of GRE words.
Note: Hardcopies aren’t required by the universities. They have around 500kb size to upload the softcopy, which is quite enough.
It is a document highlighting your achievements. It usually consists of your academic achievements, GRE and TOEFL scores, Co-curricular and extracurricular activities, explanation of your academic projects and personal details.
A good time to engage in making a Resume would be mid October.
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