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With Graduate School Applications, the Early Bird Gets What Exactly

Posted By Leah Kaminsky

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I struggled here for a moment, and in fact am still struggling a bit:  A blog post about why you should get those applications for grad school in early obviously must have Early Bird in the title.  Must.  But how to fill in that blank?  Here are my top three contenders:


*Gets a longer time to be anxious before application and acceptance?
*Gets the satisfaction of crowing to friends about how his or her apps are done?
*Gets to start going out again on the weekends and returning phone calls to relatives again?

All of these are things that you, as an Early Bird, will get once you finally hit Submit on that last application.  But if you are a true procrastinator, none of these “Gets” will motivate you to apply early.  Here are some reasons that I hope will have you clearing off your calendar this weekend and settling down to finish those apps:

*While having your applications in early will not likely mean that that application is read any sooner, it will give you time to track the many pieces of your application.  Depending on how far you are into the application process, you are probably aware that a grad school application has about a million moving pieces...many of which can end up stuck on someone’s desk, in a spam folder somewhere, or otherwise floating unhelpfully nowhere near your file.  If you are scrambling until the very last minute to finish your portion of the application (the form, the writing statements, etc.) then you will have very little time to troubleshoot the pieces that you have less control over.

Once your applications materials are all in, however, you can feel free to call your chosen department to ask if everything has arrived and wrangle any of those missing pieces.  Of course, give enough time for things like mail to be delivered, people to get back to work on Monday, etc. And, note that by “call the department,” we don’t mean “bug the professors.” We mean... “Bug the administrative assistant.”

*In a perfect world, everyone could rely on full funding for all types of graduate school.  I think Ethan Hawke would play the main character in the movie of this perfect world and be reunited with Robin Williams as his graduate mentor.  But ALAS, we do not live in a perfect world, which means that you will likely have to figure out how to pay for this crazy endeavor you have chosen to apply for.

Having those applications in and out of the way will give you enough time to give some serious consideration to questions like: Are there scholarships or grants that I can apply to? (Yes!).  How will I pay my rent? (Good question, friend).  Should I leave my job, or try to do school and work? (This depends on how much you value sleep).

Whatever the reasons for getting those apps done, I think we can all agree that it is better to not have those deadlines looming.  So get them in, sit back, enjoy some Halloween candy, and wait for those decisions to come rolling in.

Jamie Oldham is a college admissions coach for Just Start Applications, and a pretty great gal, too. While her interests are varied (she does have a higher degree in Liberal Arts, after all), one of her great life's passions is helping students and parents through the admissions process, doling out great college and graduate school admissions tips along the way. Check out her full bio here and contact us today to get her on your team.

With Graduate School Applications, the Early Bird Gets What Exactly

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With Graduate School Applications, the Early Bird Gets What Exactly Will getting your grad school applications in early increase your chances of getting in? JustStartApplications.com's Jamie Oldham takes a look.

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