Tips on Applying to Graduate School

Graduate school provides a more specialized level of training and enhanced, expert instruction in a particular field. The most critical decision in applying to graduate school is not in selecting the institution but rather in identifying the most favorable area of study. Unfortunately, the decision-making process does not end there. Other considerations such as timing, location of study, financial aid, and the student population should all be given appropriate attention.

In this publication, we offer tips to jumpstart your search for a Master’s or Doctoral degree. We explore the common reasons for applying, the selection process, test taking, and the necessary preparations leading to attendance. These guidelines will provide you with insights into approaching the application process with confidence and will serve as a reference as you go through the application steps.

Good luck!

I. Top Reasons for Applying to Graduate School

Career Change/Advancement

People with several years of working experience often realize that their career path slowly becomes limited, or even spares no room for professional growth. Some also discover that their skill set is no longer applicable to their field of exposure and subsequently pursue specific training in their industry as a means to move forward.

On numerous occasions, a rank-and-file employee may have already acquired a knowledgeable understanding of how a company is managed, and may wish to pursue a supervisory position in the company or in another enterprise. Whether you are planning to switch careers or aiming for advancement, a graduate education can greatly offer more flexibility.

Increased Salary

Higher earnings directly correlate with higher education. Management and/or supervisory positions are often restricted to those with advanced degrees, thus limiting your earning potential if you do not have these advancements. According to studies, a graduate degree holder in the United States can earn an average of 33% more than someone with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Personal Improvement/Intellectual Stimulation

Discounting future career and income potential, other people opt to pursue graduate studies simply because they love to learn and are genuinely interested in acquiring more knowledge on their chosen field.

II. Determining if Graduate School is the Right Choice for You

Graduate school is perfect for people who enjoy research and learning. It is not ideal for people who merely want to take more courses, or for those who are in a rush to get a job.

Undergraduate study differs from graduate education in that it requires more of your time, motivation, and effort. It also entails forming professional and personal relationships with professors and other students. Generally, it challenges you in what you want to achieve in your life.

III. The Right Time for Graduate School

The right time to pursue an advanced degree is situational. You can embark on graduate school right after you receive your bachelor’s degree, a year after graduation, or even several years later. If you are approaching graduation, and you have decided that graduate school is the next step for you, it may be helpful if you ask yourself the following questions:

1) Are you ready for another three to eight years of studying?

2) Should you take time off before moving on to graduate school?

3) If you want to take time off, why?

If the main reason for taking time off is fatigue, then ask yourself if the two or three months of vacation before graduate school can help you revitalize yourself. If you are convinced that graduate school is the next step for you, then there is no reason why you should delay your application.

Right after Graduation

If the knowledge you acquired in your undergraduate education is specifically relevant to your graduate program, then this option may be the right one for you. Other reasons for going straight to graduate school include your excellence as a student; your current status of having few (or no) obligations, both personally and financially; and your interest in pursuing an area of expertise that requires a graduate degree.

Take time to ensure that graduate school is right for you. Advanced study requires a considerable amount of motivation and the ability to work independently. Sometimes, a vacation from studying may help intensify your motivation and enhance your skills. As such, you may want to consider the following option.

After a Sufficient Rest Period

Many graduates take a year off before they start their graduate program. You can use this time to work, both to help you fund your studies and to gain experience. Perhaps, you simply want to travel. If you are traveling, remember to apply for courses at the right time, keeping in mind that you might be asked to attend an interview or an admission test. You will need to plan well ahead, sometimes as long as 18 months prior to application. In the case of some overseas programs, it is common for students to put together a timeline before they begin focusing on their time off.

It is important to understand that pursuing a graduate degree a number of years after undergraduate study is not uncommon. Some time off can be valuable if it improves your qualifications and primes you for the pressures and rigors of graduate school.

After Working Full-time

The reasons for acquiring work experience before graduate school include acquiring a better understanding of your professional objectives, obtaining relevant work experience, and developing a more responsible attitude toward studying. If you know in advance that you intend to pursue a graduate education after several years of work, look for an employer with a tuition reimbursement program. Often, employers are willing to finance part, or all, of the expenses entailed in graduate study.

While Working

The biggest percentage of the graduate school student population consists of part-time students. The idea of supplemental education is a growing trend because rapid industry changes affect almost all fields of expertise. Continuing to work, whether on a part time or a full time basis, can also be a means of paying for expenses incurred during the course of your graduate study.

IV. Master’s vs. Doctoral Degrees

It is a common misconception that a prospective PhD student must possess a Master’s degree to enter a doctoral program. Although majority of graduate programs do require this, it is not always the case. It is better to conduct your own research and investigate the degree requirements for a program as opposed to making an assumption. In this booklet, we provide some of the more significant differences between being a Masteral and a Doctoral candidate.

The Masteral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, about two years in graduate school. The purpose of this program is to provide you with solid education in a specialized academic discipline

Your First Year The enrollment process is similar to that for undergraduate study. You are required to fulfill the coursework requirements of your degree. However, the work will be heavier, the course topics will be more specialized, and much more will be expected from you than when you were an undergraduate. With your adviser’s help (chosen by you or assigned by the program), you will start to solidify your academic focus.

Your Second Year You may take more advanced classes to complete your course requirements. Having determined your research direction, you will gradually spend more effort toward the completion of your thesis. Depending on your pace, you may need one semester or an entire academic year for you to finish your masteral thesis, the objective of which is to show your mastery in your area of study.

The Doctoral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, five to six years in graduate school. The purpose of the program is to provide you with comprehensive knowledge of your field, prepare you to conduct original and significant research, and make you ready to become a member of a teaching faculty.

Your First Three Years You will enroll in classes to fulfill your degree requirements and obtain comprehensive knowledge of your field of study. You will gradually establish your research direction, often consulting with an adviser (usually) appointed at the start of your graduate study. By the end of your second or third year, you would have completed a thesis or taken comprehensive exams, or both. The thesis and/or exams will allow your professors to evaluate your capabilities to continue with doctoral studies.

Your Last Three Years Coursework becomes a minor component of your academic workload, and may even disappear as you conceptualize your dissertation, a novel and significant contribution to the available knowledge in your specialization. You will teach more and more classes and gradually collaborate more with senior faculty members. You will form a close professional relationship with a faculty member who shares the same research interests as you do, and he/she will become your dissertation adviser. Your program will end with the completion of your dissertation, which may entail an oral defense of your research before a panel of faculty members and/or experts in the field you are in.

V. Selecting a Graduate Program

The following are some of the more important factors and questions that students need to consider and answer when deciding on what graduate program to apply to.

Specialty

This criterion will ultimately depend on your interests, but we always suggest job market consideration. Certain fields may undergo positive developments after a few years, while those that are currently experiencing rapid growth may become stagnant.

Ranking

A graduate program’s ranking is critical for some prospective graduate students. They believe that a program’s ranking signifies the quality of education they will receive and the level of resources that will be available to them. However, different sources of information – school Web sites, published rankings, and independent ranking organizations – all have specific criteria for evaluating a specific program. Students should therefore be aware of the factors that are considered in determining a program’s ranking, as well as the evaluation methods (if any) that are implemented.

Location

Location can play a large factor in your graduate school experience. You will establish many ties in graduate school and should therefore consider if the school of your choice is located in an area that you would consider living in. On the other hand, if you are looking for temporary residence in a place you have no intention of living in permanently but desire to live in for a few years, graduate school is an opportune time to gain that experience. Wherever you are, you should be comfortable with the location because you will be (usually) staying in that place for the next two to eight years of your life. Some questions you need to ask yourself are the following: Are you more partial to a small or large school? Urban or rural? Country or city?

Cost

Take into account all direct and indirect costs (tuition, miscellaneous fees, books, and especially cost of living) and the availability of financial assistance. The amount of financial assistance you receive often depends on whether you are pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD. It is not unusual for a university or college to waive tuition requirements if you are applying for a doctoral program. Moreover, many PhD students are given some form of funding or stipend.

Admission Standards

It is better to select a graduate program with stringent admissions standards. Schools with lower admission requirements may provide a lower quality of graduate education. Majority of schools and universities make this type of information available to the public. Look for the base requirements for admission; these usually include the necessary undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores.

Teaching Personnel

Narrowing down your program choices will prove much easier if you are definite about your research interests. It is recommended that you apply to programs where the faculty members have research interests that coincide with yours.

It has often been stated that a graduate program is only as good as its faculty. It is important to learn from and train under professors who are respected and recognized in their chosen specialty. The easiest way to evaluate the quality of a program is to look at the proportion of classes taught by full-time faculty. At the same time, indicators such as the number of scholarly publications and the professional experience of the teaching staff could also provide insights into the reputation of the faculty.

Facilities

Check if the program you intend to apply to has the facilities/amenities that you need. Can they provide you the tools necessary for your research? It is important to investigate whether the “state-of-the-art” facilities promoted by the school or university are truly as claimed.

Time for Completion

Ask yourself how quickly you want to complete the program. Do you want to finish in two years? Three? Four? Do you have other plans after earning your graduate degree and thus have to finish it within a specific duration of time?

Career Planning

If your reason for going to graduate school is career related, then it will be wise to find out what types of professional development activities are available in the program/university you are pursuing. Are there opportunities for networking or training with actual practitioners in the field of specialization you have chosen?

Many students love the field of study they are in, but are confused with what specific positions they can apply for after graduation. The program or department will have information regarding the average salary earned by their graduates and the proportion of students who land jobs after graduation. You can also check if the department has connections with various organizations/companies to assist its students in finding employment after graduation.

VI. Finding Top Graduate Schools

Seek Out Fellow Graduate Students

Seeking out and talking to students enrolled in your program of interest is one of the best ways to conduct research on graduate schools. Getting the “inside scoop” on what you can expect upon admission into a program will certainly help you obtain “real-life information” about the program. Aside from obtaining information on courses, tuition, and faculty members, you may also be lucky enough to hear personal experiences with regard to the quality of instruction, the rigors of the program, and other factors that will aid you in making a decision where to apply.

Graduate School Rankings

Graduate school rankings provide a practical guide for finding the school that is suitable for you. Aside from general rankings, information such as average grades and test scores are included in these records. This will help you establish whether or not your qualifications are competitive.

In fields such as medicine, business, and law, rankings can be very useful. Rankings in these disciplines are frequently determined based on meticulous scientific evaluations, and if applied properly, these can direct students toward organizing their applications by enabling them to highlight the aspects they will be competitive in. Nonetheless, these rankings are not the end-all and be-all of selecting the right graduate school. Many students focus too much on international or national rankings. Combined with careful research, however, graduate school rankings can most certainly point you in the right direction.

VII. Applying for Admission

Materials

The following materials are generally required for applying to graduate school:

a. A completed and signed application form

b. The application fee

c. Certified true copies of transcripts from colleges and universities attended

d. Statement of Purpose or a Personal Statement

e. Recommendation Letters

f. Standardized test scores

VIII. Timetables for Applying to Graduate School

The earlier you complete your application, the better your prospects for admission. In this manual, we provide two options of a timetable you can utilize as you prepare for your application to graduate school. Carefully review each, and choose the one you believe will work best for you.

TIMETABLE (Option 1)

1. Conduct research

– Obtain information online – both institutional and external sites – and visit campuses (if possible).

– At graduate school fairs, speak with representatives from the schools. Collecting materials is often less effective than spending your time in verbal communication with people who are a reflection of the school. Generally, the material in brochures and distributed paperwork contains the same information as that of the online site. Talking to people may help you make better use of your time.

2. Prepare for the required standardized tests (i.e., GMAT and TOEFL)

– This is between one and six months ahead of taking the tests, depending on your initial level.

3. Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Think about your accomplishments, relevant experiences, influences, and inspirations.

– Identify your goals and reasons for pursuing graduate study and/or the specific graduate program.

4. Obtain your Letters of Recommendation

– Decide on and speak to the people you wish to get recommendations from; make sure you give them plenty of advanced notice.

– Discuss your plans, and remind them of your academic/professional achievements and capabilities.

– Give them clear and realistic deadlines for writing the letter (six to eight weeks).

– Follow-up with a call three or four weeks after making your request to find out how the letters are progressing (and as some recommenders have busy schedules, to remind them to start writing the letter).

5. Request for your undergraduate transcripts

– Do this at least two months before you submit your application.

6. Take the standardized tests

– Request that the scores be sent to the schools.

7. Finish drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Provide copies to friends and colleagues and ask them for their opinions regarding your work.

– Obtain the services of a professional English language review and editing company like KGSupport to enhance your essay’s content, improve English usage, and make your statement competitive.

– Type or write neatly. If your application is unreadable, it cannot be evaluated.

8. Mail all completed applications

– Do not wait for deadlines. Submit early!

– Keep photocopies for your records.

TIMETABLE (Option 2)

9-12 months before graduate school starts

– Select the programs you wish to enroll in.

– Obtain application forms and requirements from the university/school. Inquire from the admissions office if you have any questions.

– Decide who you will ask to write your letters of recommendation.

7-9 months before graduate school starts

– Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose.

– Collect your Letters of Recommendation.

– Complete the application in preparation for submission. Double-check that all necessary information has been provided. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.

– Keep photocopies of your application form, Personal Statement, undergraduate transcript, and Letters of Recommendation.

6-8 months before graduate school starts

– Submit your application documents. Check if there is a difference between deadlines for online submission and mailed applications.

– Begin looking for housing if required.

5-7 months before graduate school starts

– Request that your undergraduate transcripts be sent to your intended school/s.

– Acceptance letters are usually sent out around this time. If you have not heard from your school, contact them to make sure your application is complete.

3-6 months before graduate school starts

– Complete all your admission requirements: final transcripts, registration, medical checks, others

IX. Standard Tests/Exams Necessary for Application

GENERAL

1. GRE – Graduate Record Examination (General and Subject)

The GRE General Test measures a person’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills acquired over a period of time, and not related to any specific field of study. The standardized score serves as a yardstick for evaluating your qualifications as an applicant.

The GRE Subject Tests measure undergraduate proficiency in the following eight disciplines:

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Literature in English, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Psychology

2. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The IELTS is an internationally recognized English language test. It enables students to show their ability to pursue courses in English. It is accepted by universities in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. However, it is not accepted by most universities in the United States. The score that students must obtain to be eligible in a university that requires IELTS depends on the course and the university.

3. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL is the most widely accepted English language test in the world. It measures the spoken and written ability of non-native, English-speaking students. It is best to check the Web site of the university/school you wish to apply to before deciding on which English test to take.

4. TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication

The TOEIC assessment measures the capability of non-native English-speaking people to use English in everyday work activities.

5. TSE – Test of Spoken English

The TSE assessment measures the verbal communication ability of nonnative English speakers in an academic or professional environment.

SPECIFIC

1. LSAT (Law)

The LSAT is intended to measure skills regarded as indispensable for success in law school: accurate reading and comprehension of complex texts, organization of information and the capacity to obtain logical inferences from it, critical reasoning, and analysis and assessment of the reasoning and opinions of others.

2. GMAT (MBA)

The GMAT is a standardized test that aids business schools in evaluating the qualifications of applicants for advanced degrees in business and management. It is often used by business schools as a predictor of academic performance. The GMAT measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that have been developed through education and employment.

GMAT requirements vary depending on the school. You should research on the average GMAT scores at the universities you wish to apply to. This information should be readily available. Remember that top business schools view a score of at least 600 as competitive.

3. MCAT (Medicine)

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test intended to evaluate an applicant’s problem-solving, critical-thinking, and writing skills as well as knowledge of scientific concepts and principles essential to medical study. These scores are considered by medical schools as an essential factor in their evaluation process. Majority of medical schools in the United States require applicants to submit MCAT scores.

4. DAT (Dental)

General academic competence, grasp of scientific concepts, and perceptual ability are among the factors measured by the Dental Admissions Test.

X. The Admissions Interview

Although not all graduate programs conduct admission interviews, it is better to be prepared for this possibility, especially if the university, program, or field you are applying to is particularly competitive.

What is the purpose of the admissions interview? Sometimes, graduate school applicants are not as ideal for a program as they appear on paper. Therefore, the interview helps the people involved in the selection process to identify if a candidate can be successful in their program. It often provides insights into a person’s motivation, fundamental knowledge, and interpersonal and communication skills.

The interview process is different for each university and program. It may even vary within the program itself, depending on the person or panel handling the interview. During your interview, do not expect the interviewers to remember anything about you. They may have read your application essay or have gone through your transcript or resume, but keep in mind that they have likewise reviewed hundreds if not thousands of applications. Therefore, be ready to repeat certain details that are already presented in your file.

Before the Interview

o Conduct research about the program and faculty. Identify the program’s strengths and the faculty’s research interests.

o Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What is it about you that make you suitable for the program?

o Step into the faculty members’ shoes. Try to determine what it is they want from a graduate student. Will your qualifications enable you to positively contribute to their program and research? What skills do you possess that will prove valuable to a professor as he or she conducts his or her research?

o Think about obvious questions that will be asked, prepare potential answers, and rehearse them with a friend (or even by yourself in front of a mirror).

During the Interview

o Always keep your goals in mind during the admissions interview.

o Try to sincerely communicate your passion, enthusiasm, and proficiencies.

o Be natural. Do not attempt to second guess what the interviewers are looking for. Be yourself, and most importantly, do not invent stories or accomplishments to impress the interviewing panel. You may succeed one time, but it could cost you your opportunity to get into the program if you are found out.

o Listen carefully to what the interviewers are saying and/or asking. When answering, remember to speak slowly and clearly.

o Establish and maintain eye contact with the interviewer/s and remember to smile. Show them you are happy for this chance to talk to them.

o Some interviews involve social affairs like a small gathering. Keep in mind that although it is a party, it is still part of the interview. You might not see it or feel it, but you are being evaluated all the time.

An Evaluation Framework – Economic Policy and Human Rights by Radhika Balakrishnan and Diane Elson

Economic Policy and Human Rights by Radhika Balakrishnan and Diane Elson apparently declares an intention to compare and contrast fiscal and monetary policy, public expenditure consequences, taxation, trade policy and pension reform in Mexico and the United States of America. The choice of countries is justified on several levels: they are of comparable size, differ in level of development, contrast in governmental approaches and, crucially, are both signatories of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement which, itself, suggests a commonality in certain policy areas. At the outset, the authors declare that the neoliberal economic assumptions that have dominated policy choice for thirty years have not worked, ostensibly because their main result has been the current crisis.

The authors thus attempt to illustrate this claim by examining a range of social, employment and economic indicators to assess the impact of the current paradigm on particular groups within both Mexico and the United States. But Balakrishnan and Elson also declare the intention of doing much more than this, in claiming that the framework they adopt could become transferable to other places and contexts. Their choice of framework appears to achieve exactly what they intend, and it does so quite spectacularly. And it is a position that could have benefited my own work a couple of decades ago, if only it had then existed.

My own research on education’s role in Philippine development found that increased use of market forces and privatisation in an education system already heavily reliant on the private sector produced distortions that undermined some of education’s potential and desired objectives. After the debt decade of the 1980s, increased reliance on market forces in Philippine education placed most high quality educational experience beyond the reach of anyone but the economic elite. And yet, declared policy stated that the promotion greater equality was one of the education system’s explicit goals. In the future, work intending to identify such contradiction will benefit from employing the universal reference point of the transferable framework identified in Balakrishnan and Elson’s superb study.

The authors begin with a short discussion of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Importantly, the rather general goals that this advises have been rendered more specific by subsequent declarations. And, by signing up to these, governments – presumably – declare their desire to see the declared goals achieved, both at home and abroad. Such general aims have thus become more specifically objectified via the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Thus policy objectives, if not timetables for their achievement, in the areas of race, gender, employment and several other areas can be specifically identified as having been espoused by governments because they have willingly signed up to these treaties, even though that might have been prompted more by political expediency than commitment.

Using these objectives as a framework for evaluation, the book’s individual papers conduct a near-forensic examination of a range of Mexico’s and the USA’s recent economic and social policies in the specified areas in order to examine whether the agreed objectives have been furthered or hindered. Almost without exception, neoliberal policy conformity is shown to undermine these agreed objectives and often to impact differently from their declared intent on specific and identifiable target groups within the population. This evidence makes a strong case for greater and more active accountability of government action and thus also questions declared commitment to previously agreed – and politically convenient – principles. In more than one area, there is strong evidence to suggest that policies are mere populist window-dressing in that their stated objectives are in line with identified and desired goals whilst their implementation can only undermine their own stated intent.

Economic Policy and Human Rights thus provides much more than an examination of particular policy prescription in Mexico and the United States. Indeed it may even present an evaluative framework that could be applied by progressive analysts to any state or region that has adopted the objectives of these quite specific treaties. As such it will surely provide an important and enduring contribution to any debate on social and economic policy.

How To Make End of the Year School Awards Fun With Humor

When I was in school, end of the year awards were very strict–no funny business. They included the usual least absences, most improved student, best grades, highest test scores, and extra-curricular activity awards like most-valuable-player, first-chair band-students, drama students receiving awards for getting a “one” in competitions, and journalist getting awards for receiving all-league or all-state honors. Very usual, and very expected. Everyone who received an award knew beforehand that they were going to get them.

Nonetheless, for most students the awards assembly was generally boring, especially if they didn’t receive an award. Actually, I’ve noticed quite a few students sleeping through it. And frankly, why shouldn’t they? It has nothing to do with them, but they are still required to watch, clap, and whatever other nonsense the teacher watching over them wanted them to do.

The awards assembly was not a motivational experience. Watching someone receive an award does not–at least necessarily–motivate a “C student” to receive all “A”s. Even if it did, the student may not have had the means to do so.

There are many factors at play to motivate students to do better. Sure, those whom receive an award are proud, especially years down the road when they look through their scrap book and find them; however, for most students, it is still simply a waste of time.

So how do you make the end of the year school awards more appealing? By making them fun and humorous, of course!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  1. Lead the assembly with a funny story by a teacher about an awards assembly they went to. Of course, it has to be good humored, so something like them not receiving an award and being disappointed is a good choice. Or perhaps some other humorous story about a previous awards assembly.
  2. Have awards such as “student most hated by teachers”–which should go to a good humored student who has caused some trouble but definitely not the most hated. “Class clown award” is another easy choice in this department.
  3. Teachers can give a mini-show. A mime act, a one-act play, singing, or teachers showing off some of their rare talents. A mini-talent show, perhaps.

Doing something like this is intended to keep all students interested; they should never be bored in school. It also acts as a way for students to gain respect for their teachers by seeing them as human and not only as teaching robots.

To recap, end of the year awards are a great way to award students; however, it leaves many simply wishing for the assembly to end. Instead, try mixing things up a bit and adding humor and other fun activities to keep them interested.

The SAT – What to Expect

The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test used for college admissions. It was formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the SAT I. Published by the College Board, a non-profit organization, the SAT is administered seven times a year. Currently, SAT scores range from 600 to 2400, and the test is divided into three equally weighted sections: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. Understanding the material that will be on the test and how it is laid out is critical to your success. You may want to consider taking a SAT practice test or a SAT prep class to make sure you do well.

In the critical reading section, formerly known as the verbal section, you will be expected to answer multiple-choice questions designed to test your vocabulary and reading comprehension. There are two types of questions: sentence completion and those based on reading passages. Sentence completion questions ask the test-taker to select an appropriate word to complete a sentence. The reading passages are varied in nature; they range from narratives to passages from the social sciences. Questions about the passages test the student’s ability to identify the important aspects of the passage. There is another form of this type of question where the student is asked to compare two shorter passages and answer questions about them.

The math section includes both multiple-choice questions and grid-in, or fill-in-the-blank, questions. Calculators are permitted, but not all calculators are allowed. This section tests on a variety of topics, including, but not only, basic number theory, geometry, and algebra. There are ten grid-in questions which require you to write and bubble in your answer.

Finally, the writing section is comprised of an essay and multiple-choice questions. The essay, which makes up 28% of the writing score, is scored by two graders on a scale of 2 to 12. You are given a prompt, or a subject, to write the essay. Multiple-choice questions in the writing section test your ability to identify sentence errors and edit writing.

Another important aspect of the SAT is time limits. Overall, you have 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the SAT. The SAT format is as follows. There are two 25-minute and one 20-minute critical reading sections; all critical reading sections are multiple-choice. The writing section consists of one 25-minute essay and two multiple-choice sections, one 25 minutes long, the other 10 minutes long. The mathematics portion is comprised of two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. There is also a 25-minute “variable section” which is used to normalize scores. Being aware of the time limits is critical to succeeding on the SAT.

Taken together, all of these factors make the SAT stressful and intimidating. Often, SAT prep courses are a good way to help you prepare for the rigors of the exam. There are many options available–online and in person. Online SAT prep courses offer flexibility and the ability to retake sections you have difficulty with. In-person SAT prep classes or tutoring offer structure and a classroom environment, which some people prefer. No matter what you choose, make sure your course offers a score increase guarantee and uses official College Board SAT practice exams so you can make the most of your investment.

Understanding The Importance Of College Admissions Assistance

Many people do not really give so much importance to college admissions assistance. However, there are still some parents who understand that trustworthy admission help is vital when helping their kids plan their academic future. Astute parents recognize that planning for college should begin in middle school, when their children elect a rigorous course schedule, seek out leadership activities, pursue meaningful summer programs, and engage in creative and athletic pursuits.

All are essential to propel a bright and talented student through a good high school and into the country’s top university. Today’s colleges and universities have become so selective and highly competitive that your GPA and SAT score are not nearly enough to get you an admission. This is also not limited to Ivy League universities.

A lot of students don’t want to put their application at risk by applying to just three or four schools, which was the norm back in the 70s and 80’s. A news report from The Atlantic further reveals that applying to six or seven schools is on the low end; high achieving kids actually send applications to 10 or 15 schools. But while the country’s top schools may only be admitting a small percentage of the thousands of applications they receive, this does not mean that you have a slim chance of getting into the school of your dreams.

By getting admissions assistance today, you can learn and win entrance to the very school of your choice because you’ll have access to information that gives your application a big advantage over other students. You’ll discover college acceptance processes and strategies from different schools, and learn which colleges are the best fit. You’ll learn how the rules of admission have changed.

You’ll also be able to use the latest admission technology and services that allow you a better success rate with the college of your choice. You’ll be able to create polished, outstanding, and compelling admissions essays without stress. And you’ll get live sessions where a college advisor delivers empowering recommendations that allow you to present yourself to admissions committees with intelligence and charm. It’s true that with the increased number of applicants every year, and the globalization of schools, college acceptance to the best universities has become seemingly impossible for some students.

Whether you want to get into the best state schools or the most prestigious private universities, the expert guidance you get through a college admissions service will be a priceless investment for your future. Check out more about this here.