Posted Nov. 6, 2012
If there is a particular postgraduate course that you are dying to get on to, then chances are you have already achieved high grades, written a killer essay or research proposal, and generally tried to make your application the best it can be. However if you only think within the confines of your application then you are already limiting your chances of getting into the university of your choice. If you get creative, there are plenty of out-of-the-box ideas to help along you along the admissions path .
University admissions is a business, so if you know the system inside and out then you are much more likely to be able to work the system in your favour. Here are some top tips on how to improve your chances of getting accepted to your university of choice without the usual generic padding.
1. Get connected It’s not always the easiest path, but getting connected with people related to your course of choice is an excellent way of upping your chances of getting in. And it’s not so much a case of ‘who you know’, but more of a case of ‘what you know about them’.
If you can find out about the research interests of professors in the relevant department, you can name-drop things they are interested in during the application process. It’s a subtle but tried-and-tested way of getting yourself noticed.
2. Get recognised Intertwined with the idea of getting connected is the idea of getting recognised. Enthusiasm and interest are almost always taken positively, so don’t be afraid to make yourself known when it comes to your dream school. Attend open days and meet the professors that might be responsible for your admissions. Go to open seminars and learn about what those professors are interested in. If a person in charge of admissions can put a face to your name and remember how enthusiastic and dedicated to the course you were, then they are more likely to view you in a positive light.
3. Get your excuses lined up If you have weak points in your application, don’t be afraid to address them (either on paper or in person). Instead of covering up a bad grade or the fact that you don’t have tons of related interests, turn them around and get it to work in your favour. Give a reason for the bad grade and turn not knowing much about your subject into ‘a newfound desire to uncover the mysteries of X and Y’. In the application process, even your bad points must seem like good points.
4. Get recognition Many people who have struggled through to get where they are do not like to showboat, but if you gone through actual adversity then don’t just stay quiet about it. Many universities look to recruit people from ethnic minorities or disadvantaged backgrounds, so make sure they know about any circumstances that may affect your application. Many people want to get in ‘on their own merit’, but if you have done well in despite of, for example, poor financial circumstances, then that only adds to your merit. Get recognition for your triumphs – don’t hide them.
All in all, getting accepted is about demonstrating why you are uniquely placed to excel in the program of your choosing. If you truly believe you are the best candidate, then fight to show your chosen university why you should be their choice. Postgrad admissions are competitive, but if you follow these tips and just generally keep thinking outside of the box then you are massively increasing your chances of success .
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