Regardless of an institution you are applying to, your admission process will involve some sort of an application form. These can vary based on the country, institution, mode of attendance, level of education and in some cases time of the year.
Often application forms require you to provide personal information, academic background, work experience and submit a cover letter and/or answer a series of open-ended questions. Some typical question topics would cover:
- Your extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests
- Your most significant work experience (particularly if you are applying for a postgraduate degree)
- International experience
- Main reasons for choosing a particular programme
If you are applying for a specialist programme, you might be also required to demonstrate your understanding of and interest in a particular sector.
If you want to get admitted to a programme in a competitive, highly-ranked institution, I advise that you give yourself plenty of time to do research and submit your application without a rush.
Here are some tips on what you can do to ensure your candidacy stays competitive:
- Get in touch with the programme admissions coordinator / recruiter
If you are applying to a top rank university, it is likely that the programme of your choice has a dedicated person responsible for student admission. Go to this institution’s website and see if you can find his/her contact details, if not, send an email to a generic account, asking to connect you with the responsible person, or do your individual research online, for example via LinkedIn.
You won’t loose anything by sending an email/message on LinkedIn – in the worst case nobody will respond to you, however if you do manage to get in touch with the coordinator, they will be able to talk you through the admission process in greater detail and give some indication of what they expect in candidates. Reaching out will also aid in making your application to stand out, as admission staff will already know your name and by the time you submit your application, you would have already demonstrated a degree of pro-activeness and strong interest and motivation.
BUT Please do your research on the programme before getting in touch, as asking obvious questions would on the contrary portrait you as non-serious candidate.
2. Submit all the information and supporting documents, as well as try outlining your key strengths
Try submitting as much quality information as you can. Often there are some fields that are not mandatory, for example, if the application form has many open-ended questions, submitting cover letter is an option. Take this opportunity! This is your chance to give more information about yourself and why your candidacy should be considered. Think what are your key strengths and what academic, professional and personal experience makes you the best candidate for the programme.
If you are applying for a marketing degree, demonstrate that on top of academic and professional experience, as well as strong motivation to join the programme, you have the understanding of how market trends and consumer behaviour is changing. If you are applying for a computing degree, demonstrate that you have a technical mindset and analytical thinking that you have developed through previous projects, even though they might be industry unrelated.
Focus on your key strengths when making an application, as this will differentiate you from the rest of the candidates and help the admissions team assess your likely contribution to the class.
3. Submit your application at least a few days before the deadline
If you are applying for a top university programme, it is likely that there will be a big pool of candidates. Submitting your application in advance will give recruiters more time to go through your answers and supporting documents, not to mention that last minute applications do not make a good first impression. Therefore I strongly encourage you to submit your application a few days in advance, this will also demonstrate strong time management skills, which are essential to any student.
Later I will create additional blogs, giving you more detailed advice on CVs, cover letters, most common questions, standardised tests and more.
Let me know via Contact Us page if there is a particular topic/area you would like me to cover.