Applying For Postgraduate
Once you’ve decided to embark upon the postgraduate journey, you will need to pass the admissions stage for the course at a university of your choice. Most of the admission information and application forms are available on the university’s website or will be provided to you upon request. Here are the following things you will need to consider and prepare when applying for a postgraduate course.
Your first step in applying for a postgraduate programme should be to check its entry requirements. These vary between courses and differ from university to university. Some top ranking universities may have more stringent criteria while less prestigious universities may be more lenient. Different courses may also have different selection criteria; for instance, some courses may emphasise on academics and research while others on working experience and extracurricular accomplishments.
Forms and documents
Nowadays, you can apply through the university’s web application system or by filling up an e-document and sending it back online. Although this takes away the hassle of printing and compiling a sheaf of papers, it does mean that any supporting documents you send will have to be scanned and attached to your online application in the appropriate format.
These are supporting documents that are commonly requested for during the application process:
- Academic transcripts and degree scrolls of all university-level studies.
- Copy of your NRIC or passport.
- Certificates of achievement or extracurricular activities.
- Proof of English language proficiency (if necessary).
- Academic referral letter from previous mentor and/or head of school to attest to your academic capabilities.
Sometimes you may be asked to write a personal statement to support your application. This is your chance to convince the institution in writing why you should be given admission; you should convey to the reader a sense of your identity and motivation for your application. A good personal statement should cover the following:
- Your academic achievements.
- Your non-academic skills and extracurricular activities.
- Evidenced and knowledgeable interest in your intended subject of study.
- Why this particular course and university would benefit you and how you in turn could be of benefit to the university.
Most importantly, your personal statement should be straightforward and honest. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, relate each of your points to the course you wish to study and avoid generic and impersonal phrases.
For research programmes
If you are applying for a research-based postgraduate course, you may need to choose and make contact with your potential supervisor as well as prepare a research proposal as part of your application process. Both your choice of supervisor and proposal must be accepted before you can be admitted onto your postgraduate course. This is more common in PhD programmes but may also form the basis of application for some research-based masters courses.
Some postgraduate courses invite applicants for an interview as part of the selection process. You should expect to cover the same points mentioned above in the section about personal statements, as the purpose of the interview would be to uncover if your experiences, achievements, and interests make you a good candidate for the course.
Treat the admissions interview as you would treat an interview for a job. Act and dress professionally, come prepared and make sure you speak clearly, knowledgeably and enthusiastically.
If you are applying for a course in a country different from your country of origin, you will be considered an international student. In that case, there will be some additional factors you need to be aware of when making an application. These include visa requirements, institutional support and financial considerations such as the differences in fees and availability of scholarships for international students. Furthermore, the application process may take a longer time and thus have an earlier deadline than for local students.