Don’t lose the head. Manage those postgrad applications!

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Here at, we know the stress suffered at the hands of multiple deadlines. With submission season around the corner, we’ve come up with some helpful tips to help you manage your postgrad applications.

When it comes to applying for courses, there is plenty to consider. First and foremost should be whether you’re applying to the right course, one that will deliver the results you want. Then you need to consider time pressures, location and also the cost. How you will fund it? Alongside those questions is the not inconsiderable burden of your postgraduate application itself.

Postgrad application

A postgrad application is not always straightforward. Don’t take it for granted that you’ll sail through the process and make sure you budget plenty of time. The application and the personal statement in particular should crystallise all that you want to achieve in your further study and how you plan to achieve it. Like a job application, if you’re applying for several different programmes, you will need to tailor your application for a particular course. The same application will not work every course, just like an application that doesn’t work for one course will likely fail for every course if the sound basics of a good application are not present. We’ve gone into more detail about what makes a great application here.

Know the basics…

And what are the sound basics? Honesty in terms of your motivation and suitability for the postgraduate course you’re applying to is absolutely key. You’ll also need clarity in terms of your writing and presentation. If you’re working on multiple applications, you need to stop and consider if all the applications are necessary. Do you want to follow them all through? This can be a costly process, between application fees and your own time. Prioritise the courses that you really want and try to narrow your applications down to no more than four or five at most. Then take five separate sheets of blank paper and sit down. Try and put yourself in the shoes of the admissions officer for each of these courses. Write the name of each course on top of each page followed by your motivations as to why you want to do that particular course and what your suitability for it is. You should be finding different motivations for each particular course if you have done your research properly, even if they are in the same area of study. From this, you should be able to narrow your applications down to your three top picks.

With all that’s going on in terms of preparing your application and personal statements, it is surprisingly easy to mix them up. If you send the wrong statement with the wrong application you have not only ruined one application, but likely two. Set up different folders on your computer for the three different applications and work on them separately. This is not just for organisational purposes, it’s best to give one application your full, undivided attention before moving on to the next one. Of course, different application deadlines will mean that you will likely work on them in this sequence but don’t leave anything to chance; it would be costly in every sense to lose a good application due to bad organisation.

The best policy

If something does happen and you do inadvertently send the wrong application to the wrong course, contact the institution straight away. Make sure you explain what’s happened and then send the correct version with a clear cover note reiterating this. Again, it’s not the best way to introduce yourself to the institution in which you want to study but mistakes do happen and its best if you deal with them honestly and directly.

If your application isn’t successful, follow up with the course admissions office for feedback, same as you can for a job application and use their feedback in your next application.


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