Congratulations on completing the GRE!
So now what are you going to do?
The best advice is to speak with someone who can evaluate the rest of your application and provide you with a non-biased opinion as to your
competitiveness. I know sitting for the GMAT is not a joy (I've done it), so please be assured that my colleagues and I only recommend taking the test again
if we think it is truly beneficial or necessary.
Now that you have your scores, you can take that deep, holistic view of your candidacy. One thing to keep in mind is that most applicants to
selective grad schools clear the same academic qualification hurdles (grades and
GRE) you're facing. So you need to make especially sure your
intangibles section – the
"wow" factors, your personal statements, letters of reference, resume and possibly even
an addendum – all reflect who you are and where you want to go. The grad school
admission process is more than just a "who has the best numbers" system; it's a
chance for you to stand out in the crowd and show the admissions committee you
have the most to offer their community.
Another step in the application process to consider is the ever-present question of money – and if you should apply for financial aid.
It is not too early to start thinking about financial aid! Typically, most applicants begin the financial aid application process in January or February. It's difficult to begin earlier
than that because you will want your tax information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal loans.
So why is it not it's not too early to start thinking about
it? Because if you anticipate securing private loans (in addition to federal loans) to fund your
graduate education, we highly recommend obtaining a copy of your credit report now. The sooner you receive that report, the sooner you can
correct, or at least mitigate, any
credit problems. Additionally, these reports sometimes contain inaccurate information, so getting one now will allow you plenty of time to correct any mistakes.
It is imperative that you ensure you have good credit prior to applying for any private loans.
Lastly, one thing you might want to hold off on is your letters of reference.
Oftentimes, it's best to wait until you have the rest of your application
together so you know what
to have your recommenders focus on about you. Instead, start taking a look at getting your list of extracurriculars together, tightening your resume, and put some more time into
researching your target schools. Get to know what they're looking for and make sure they're
also the best fit for you. If you've got a pressing question about the
graduate school admissions
process, please don't hesitate to call us at 703.242.5885.