Grad School Application Overview, Timeline, and Tips!

hey guys what's up welcome back to my

channel so today I wanted to do a video

kind of going through some of my grad

school application tips and kind of like

a rough timeline of when you should be

doing things if you want to apply so I

pretty much just finished the whole

application process it's currently

January and my applications were due at

December 1st and I am applying it to

developmental psychology neuroscience

PhDs and I know that the application

process is going to be a little bit

different for everyone you know

depending if you're doing masters PhD if

you're in the United States or not if

you're in a stem program or not when

your application deadline is all of that

but I'm going to be telling you just my

personal experience and some of the

things that I wish that I knew when I

was starting the application process

because it is quite a process and I'm

currently at the stage where I'm

starting to hear back from some schools

and then flying out to schools to

interview and stuff like that

so I'll keep you updated on that but as

of right now it's still a little bit

early I haven't heard back from any

places yet but this video is just going

to be about the application itself which

I am done with thank goodness so one of

my first pieces of advice is to know why

you want to go to grad school there's no

point in going to grad school if you

don't really want to do it because it's

a lot of your life if you're getting a

master's it'll probably be one to three

years and if you're getting a PhD more

like five to seven and it can be very

expensive so when you get to the point

where you want to apply to graduate

school know that you really want to do

it and know you know what your future

career goals are and that a masters or

PhD is going to be critical for that

career so something to know ahead of

time is that grad school applications

are quite expensive the GRE itself is

two hundred and five dollars I believe

and then sending each GRE score is an

additional twenty seven dollars for each

school and you might have to take the

GRE more than once and then submitting

your applications to graduate schools is

usually I would say between about sixty

and $110 for each school so all of these

things can add up really quickly so just

know that ahead of time and make sure

that you are financially ready to even

do the application process now it's also

super important to just start early and

I can't stress this enough want to start

researching the programs and schools I

would say at least May or June the year

before you apply so again my application

deadlines were December 1st give or take

a few days but I started researching

schools basically as soon as school got

out in May the year before also some

background information if you guys are

unfamiliar with my channel I am

currently a senior undergrad and I plan

to go to graduate school right from

undergrad that's another thing to think

about do you want to go to graduate

school immediately after undergrad or do

you want to wait a few years take a gap

year take a gap five years

lots of people come back to graduate

school much later after they've been

working for a bit and there was no right

or wrong answer to that that's very

dependent on you anyway yes okay start

early I had no idea how to start

researching programs honestly I was like

do I do a Google search of like

neuroscience PhD programs I had no idea

and in the beginning I was pretty set on

going into either cognitive or

behavioral neuroscience that I thought

was for sure what I wanted to do but now

I've actually switched my focus and I've

been applying more to developmental

psychology programs with like a

neuroscience focus and how I found that

out was basically I you know was

researching programs you know cutting of

neuroscience programs and stuff and

looking at the faculty in that program

because what's different about grad

school than undergrad is in grad school

you're really wanting to match with a

faculty and that faculty will be your

adviser for the entire duration that you

are there unless they leave or something

they're really looking to match with

that person and I noticed in cognero

programs and stuff I just really wasn't

as interested in what the faculty were

doing then the faculty who were in


and then I realize oh yeah wait ok

developmental psychology has what I want

anyway I am this video is just gonna be

me getting way off topic and then trying

to come back I apologize I just get

excited yes basically in the beginning I

did start by just doing Google searches

and sitting there in my laptop

researching programs and you know seeing

what the top schools are in different

areas I would also recommend a site

called the grad cafe it's a little bit

dangerous because it also like people

post their results and stuff on there

and sometimes make me feel a little bit

sad that other people have heard back

from a school that I haven't heard back

from but I think it would be useful to

look at that site when you're

researching programs in the beginning

because even now when I go on there and

I type in developmental psychology or

something it comes up with a lot of

schools and like oh I didn't even look

at that school or I didn't even know

that school existed and oh now that I

look at it maybe I should have applied

there so make sure you do so much

research in the beginning and then kind

of once you have your programs and

faculty narrowed down you want to start

contacting faculty actually that will be

more when the new school year starts so

I started contacting faculty

mid-september and I just send them an

email basically I crafted all of these

emails and word took a long time again

this whole process takes a long time now

I would say something like hey I'm

so-and-so from so-and-so University and

I'm really interested in your research

and then I would mention something

specific like oh I see you work with

this and this and I do this and think I

would be a good fit for your program

because of this and then at the end of

the email I would ask are you taking new

students for the next you know whenever

you're applying for and sometimes they

might reply oh no I'm not taking

students sorry but then at least you

know oh okay then maybe I won't even

bother applying to that school because

maybe we're only interested in that

particular faculty member and you also

want to make a really good impression on

them in the beginning and show them that

you are very interested in what they do

and show that you would be a really

strong candidate and would fit well in

their lab and also in this process I had

several Skype and phone call interviews

with these professors that I reached out

to and then they know you from the

beginning so I think that that increases

your chances that you might get admitted

to the University later on because they

can tell the admissions committee oh I

talked to this person and they're really

good and I want them in my lab so you

should invite them out so yes make sure

that you contact these faculty

beforehand I know it can be intimidating

but they're getting lots of these emails

that's not unusual in fact it's very

common they're probably getting lots of

emails from different grad students and

stuff so you want to make sure that

yours stands out but also make sure this

email is concise don't go on and on and

on like I am right now keep it short and


and show that you're genuinely

interested so then again backing up a

little bit I think that the best time to

study for and take the GRE is over the

summer that's what I did I basically

spent all of June all of July studying

for the GRE I did like I'd say about

three hours a day and then I took it at

the end of July so that I would have

plenty of time if I needed to retake it

that worked out really well for me

because if I were to study during the

school year while I was taking all of my

classes I would have been very

overwhelmed so make sure you give

yourself lots of time at least two to

three months because if you want to

retake it you have to wait at least

three weeks they say it can take six to

eight weeks for your GRE scores to be

sent to the university that you told

them to send it to so make sure that you

have that six to eight week buffer

before your deadline also if you guys

want to use the goose GRE online study

thing I did a video of that a while back

I'll link it if I remember but they did

give me a 20% off code for Mugu SH I'm

not being sponsored to say this they

didn't pay me anything I wish they did

that would have been great but they gave

me the code Zoey 20 so if you want to

use that code you can get to 20% off any

of their plans so yeah okay letters of

recommendation are another really big

part of your application

most places want three and some schools

that I applied to had some specific

things that they wanted from those


there's like one school said that they

wanted two of them to be people you had

as a professor so this means it can't

just be someone you did research with or

someone you work for something like that

they wanted them to be people who know

your academic strengths so keep that in

mind and think about who you want your

recommenders to be and make sure that

you give them enough time to write your

recommendations and that means I would

say at least two months so make sure

that you ask someone who knows you well

and can really talk about your strengths

and make sure that the three people you

choose kind of give you a holistic

well-rounded view of you other parts of

your application include your CV and

your personal statement your CV is

basically a resume but includes

everything you've done it has no page

limit you can list everything on there

you can write paragraphs

well maybe not paragraphs maybe small

paragraphs but your CV is really where

you highlight everything you do and all

but one of my programs asked for a CV

actually most of them asked for CV slash

resume and in that case we'll give them

a CV because you're giving them more

information in the CV whereas if you

give them a resume they're only seeing

like two pages of you as for the

personal statement start early on this

too I wish I started earlier but I

didn't I would say start this like three

months in advance before your

application deadline you're going to

have to write a different personal

statement or statement of purpose or

different places call it different

things but you're gonna have to write a

different one for every single school

and you can kind of use a template for

it because you'll be saying some of the

same stuff like past research experience

and stuff that you have but you're going

to have to tailor it towards each school

in each program and say why the

background you have in your goals align

with that program and with the specific

faculty members at that program so again

it's going to require a lot of research

on your part of figuring out what

exactly they do and really knowing your

stuff and then outlining all of that in

a well-written concise format other

things that schools sometimes ask for

are a

writing sample so this should be

something that you've you know written

for a previous class that really

demonstrates that you are a good writer

so I would pick some kind of research

paper or something that's what I did and

I just kind of read it over a little bit

it corrected a few typos that I had made

sure it was written well because again

it is your writing samples so you want

it to be really well-written so just

keep that in mind if you have previous

papers from classes maybe bring them out

of the deep dark hole of all your school

work polish it up a little bit and then

you can turn that in some schools also

ask for a diversity statement I had to

write a few of these basically just how

diversity which is it's a broad term

it's not just like racial diversity or

whatever but diverse experiences and

backgrounds and cultural considerations

and things like that tie in to how you

would contribute to diversity in their

program and basically just kind of what

makes you unique and what sets you apart

from the other applicants and that would

be in addition to your personal

statement so yeah there's a lot of

application materials a lot of things to

write you'll also have to send in your

transcripts so again make sure you allow

time for that so with all of this stuff

that you're gonna have to submit it gets

really confusing so my other tip would

be to be organized when I started

narrowing down schools I would you know

go through their application materials

whatever place on their website and

write down everything that they asked

for something okay they want a CV they

want transcript they want the personal

statement here's their instructions for

the personal statement follow that read

all of the instructions make sure you do

things right you don't want them to

immediately throw out your application

because you didn't follow something that

they said to do on the website I

personally made a checklist in Word like

a table and that was like a lifesaver

for me basically I had different columns

I had the school name the program the

application fee and the deadlines I had

a checkbox for when the GRE scores were

submitted and then I also had checkboxes

for when each of my recommenders four

letters of recommendation submitted


I had listed what faculty I wanted to

work with there I had other checkboxes

for transcripts personal statement CV

writing sample and diversity statement

and because not every single school

wanted every single one of these some of

the boxes I just grayed out if they

didn't want it that allowed me to go

through and check everything off and

make sure it had all of my application

materials in so I would highly recommend

it doing something like that just to

keep you on top of things and make sure

you don't forget anything and my last

tip is just to submit early don't wait

until the day of the application

deadline you want to give yourself at

least a few days in case something goes


know what if you tried to submit and it

doesn't load or it says oh we don't have

your GRE scores or oh your transcript

didn't come up or something you never

know but you don't want something stupid

to happen and then you're not able to

apply to that school or something so

like mine even though most application

deadlines were December 1st I think I

submitted all of my applications

November 29th just to have them done and

out of the way and then that was like a

huge weight lifted off of my shoulders

so yeah anyway I think that's it that I

have for this video I probably forgot

some stuff even though I feel like I

just rambled on for the last like 20

minutes if I think of some other things

that I didn't include here I'll write

them in the comments also if you guys

have questions leave them in the

comments below and thank you guys so

much for watching if you are getting

ready to start some grad school

applications good luck to you have a

wonderful day and I'll see you guys next

time bye