The Study Dude—Get Noticed to Get into Graduate Studies

The Study Dude—Get Noticed to Get into Graduate Studies

So, you’ve got ambitions beyond your AU degree?  Perhaps a master’s degree or a PhD?   But what if AU doesn’t offer the master’s or PhD program you desire?  Well, Paul Lloyd Hemphill, author of 25 Top Secrets Expensive College Consultants Reveal Only to Their Clients about College Admissions, has got you covered.

According to the NAICA Survey, 2018, (as cited in Hemphill), the following is a sample of the “top 10 reasons colleges use to admit your child.” But, from my experience, the top 10 reasons also work for masters—and PhD—applicants.

With that said, here is a checklist to boost your chances of acceptance into any grad schools—even Ivy League schools.  You’ve got it in you!  The more reasons you give an Ivy League to accept you, the better your chances.

So, you’ll need the following:

“A high school curriculum that challenges the student … students should include … Honors and Advanced Placement classes” (87%).  Similarly, if you’re a fourth-year university student, don’t shy away from taking a graduate level course as a replacement for a 400 level one.  You might surprise yourself with a spectacular grade.  But first, research the course to see if you’re up to the challenge.  Then, ask the prof for permission to take it.

“Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT, ACT)” (87%).  If you take the GMAT (to enter the MBA), MCAT, or some other test, make sure you score high.  But don’t just study the test willy-nilly.  Instead, pay for high-quality tutoring, preferably from an agency that specializes in your test.  It might cost, but your future’s worth it.

“Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative” (87%).  Believe it or not, a lot of companies want to hire people with military training.  I see that question asked on lots of job applications.  Experience as a cadet helps, too.  And I believe the military may help fund your schooling.  On a less risky front, sports experience helps, such as serving as captain of a team or as coach of kids’ soccer.  Working as a Starbuck’s or McDonald’s supervisor helps, too.

“Community service showing evidence of being a ‘contributor.’ Activities should demonstrate concern for other people” (87%).  Volunteer in a field that moves you.  I feel great empathy for anyone undergoing pain.  So, I’d love to help people with chronic illnesses.  Maybe you have a different passion.  Maybe you’d love to help the elderly, children, or homeless single-parent families.  Whoever has your heart, help them out.  In return, they’ll boost your odds of getting into a topnotch school.

“Out-of-school experiences (including summer activities) that illustrate responsibility, dedication and development of areas of interest.  Work or meaningful use of time demonstrates maturity” (87%).  If you taught kids at summer camp, that’s a great summer activity.  If you spent your summer learning how to paint Picasso, that, too, makes for a great out-of-school experience.  Whatever develops your skills or character, do it.  Just be sure to get photos or other evidence of your out-of-school experiences to add to your application.

 “Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that give evidence of integrity, special skill, and positive character traits” (89%).  Always make allies with your profs.  If you can’t stand your prof and want to wage war, take the high road.  In other words, stay polite, cooperative, and appreciative.   They have the power to write you a letter of recommendation.  Aim for at least three strong letters of recommendation.  Show your integrity by helping a professor you like get a teaching award.  Score as many A’s in your professors’ classes as you can.  Give fellow students lots of advice and resources on the Landing.  Basically, the more you serve others and the more effort you assert, the stronger your letters of recommendation.

“Anything special that makes the student stand out from the rest of the applicants.  Include honors, awards, evidence of unusual talent or experience” (87%).  If you’ve spent the first decades of your life studying violin, put that on your application.  If talent scouts hovered over you during your soccer youth, highlight that, too.  Or if you’ve travelled to Africa, digging wells, on a missionary with your Church, add that.

Now you’ve got a head start on how to woo your way into any grad school.   If your grades are high enough, and you excel at the above, who knows, you might find yourself studying at Harvard.  Just look at AU’s Jason Nixon, who “served as the Opposition House Leader in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta …. [and now as] Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks.”  His AU degree led to one of the most powerful roles in Canada.  So, give the above a go, and see which elite schools compete to accept you.

Hemphill, Paul Lloyd. (2018). 25 Top Secrets Expensive College Consultants Reveal Only to Their Clients About College Admissions: Get an Unfair Advantage When Applying to College.  E-book.
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