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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the Midst

Four out of my eleven applications have been submitted.  Seven more to go.  Based on past experiences, I know it’s way too early to pull out the champagne and light the cigars, but still, damn.  Woot.

Some apps are submitted online, and though clicking ‘submit’ is sort of satisfying, it’s the ones that require physical copies, the ones that you package up and drop off at the post office that truly offer that sense of accomplishment.  It’s like dropping off a letter to Santa, letting it slip through the mailbox slot, turning away and knowing that you’ve written your best list and most convincing letter of appeal.  Now it’s all in Big Red’s hands and out of yours.

Dear Santa Grad School, please love me.
With multiple applications—particularly with eleven—it’s easy for the whole process to become chaotic.  I’ve already hashed and rehashed—painfully—all of the minor and not so minor differences that run from one application to another; length of statements of purpose, inclusions of curriculum vitas, etc.  And though completing these sundry items is rough, keeping them organized can be worse. 

Throughout my entire application process I’ve kept a separate document detailing the requirements of each program’s application—a checklist with phone numbers and e-mails I can use for help.  Without it, I’d just be toggling back in forth between admission guidelines pages and probably absolutely getting things mixed up.

Then when it comes time to actually submit an application—if it requires a hard copy mailed in—you can print off this checklist and label it as a “Table of Contents” listing all of the items that are included in your package (writing samples, statements) and all the required items that the program should receive separately (GRE scores, academic transcripts, letters of rec). As confusing as it is for applicants dealing with 5 to 10 to 20 applications, each school has to deal with 100 to 200 to more applications and when they mix an application, that applicant is simply dropped without remorse.  So the more organized and reviewer-convenient you can make your app, the better—for you and them. 


I still have seven more apps to go and hopefully I’ll get in another two this week.  If I do that then the remaining five aren’t due until January and I'll have some breathing room, not that I’ll be using it. 

SAMPLE TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Table of Contents: Launchpad McQuack

List of application items included in this package
1.)  English Department Applicant Form
2.)  Statement of Purpose
3.)  Curriculum Vitae
4.)  Writing Sample (26 pages total)
a.      My Drugged-out American Dreams (personal essay, 13 pages)
b.     Storms of Humanity (article, 13 pages)
5.)  Letters of Recommendation (signed and sealed before I received them), from;
a.      Writey McWriterson
b.     Recommedra St. Recommenderton
6.)  Pre-stamped, self-addressed Thank You card to be mailed back to applicant to verify that all materials were successfully received


 List of application items that should have been received separately from this package
1.)  Online application
2.)   (2) Letters of Recommendation mailed from:
a.      Dr. Sues
b.     Bill Shakespeare
3.)  Official academic transcripts from State University sent to:
a.      Department of English
b.     Graduate School
4.)  Official academic transcripts from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizzardry sent to:
a.      Department of English
b.     Graduate School
5.)  GRE scores

Please let me know if I’ve omitted anything that is required—thanks!

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