Master Plan: Accomplished

29 Sep


An year ago I thought that I would be engulfed by a black hole because I was uncertain about my future. Actually I was not sucked into any black whole or whatsoever. Lucky me! I had a master plan after all. Remember?

Because I followed my master plan, I am now a master student of the research program Behavioural Science at Radboud University in Nijmegen. If you wonder what may help you when you have to choose your academic path, consider reading the following tips and my personal experience.

1. Explore early you interests:

I started thinking about myself and my interest at least an year before I graduated from college. The earlier, the better. It will help you take a control over the situation and perhaps reduce the uncertainty.

2. Match your interest with a prospective master program:

I browsed several prospective master’s programs related to psychology, sociology and anthropology. I requested brochures.  Then I made an Excel file with all specific characteristics of the programs (curriculum, finance, location, facilities, career options, accommodation and etc). As a result, I had a reasonable comparison criteria for about 10 graduate programs. Moreover, I emailed several secretaries and coordinators asking if my academic background met their program’s requirements. I received back friendly replies and additional information which was not published online.

3. Recommendation letters/ transcripts/ and other documents from your college:

In December (half an year before the application deadline) I approached two instructors for recommendations. They knew my work, potential and development during two or three semester. Approach professors in whose course you have reasonably high grades and at least one of them is related to the field of your prospective master’s program. You’d better also request all required certificates from your college at the same time.

4. Narrow you choice:

I talked to some of my instructors who are experts in the field of my interests. Consequently, I was pleased to learn the pros and cons of several graduate programs. Moreover, my teachers gave me good advises. This step can even come before your request for a recommendation letter.

5. CV and motivation letter:

Considering the collected information and advises from friends and students who had already applied to master’s, I began writing. My academic CV consisted of my personal details, courses, command of languages, computer program skills, projects, publications, work experience, interests and hobbies. Generally, the motivation letter included: why I wrote the letter, how I learnt about the program, what my background was (education, skills, motivation, interests), why I chose that program (how I’d like to develop my qualities, how the program was a good match etc.), possible research topics and plans upon graduation. My letters were 500 words long – detailed, but short and concise. After I had outlined the ideas of the main paragraphs, I typed my text. Finally, I needed some days to revise it.

6. Send your application:

I sent most of my application files at the beginning of my last semester. I don’t know if you actually send your file earlier you’d be admitted easier. Some admittion committees prefer waiting until the deadline, others would evaluate your application once they have received it.

7. Wait and enjoy life:

After sending the application file wait and enjoy your senior year. In case the institution has not confirmed receiving your file, do not hesitate to contact them and ask about the status of your application. If they like you, they will invite you for an interview or immediately admit you.

8. Enroll in your program:

Have you been admitted to many programs and cannot chose ‘the one’, contact students from the institutions or alumni from your college studying there. Considering the student’s experience from the inside of the university, it was easier to make my final choice and be prepared for the tedious registration process at RU (saved me the initial frustration). Also you can visit the institutions or join their social media to feel whether this is your place. Those tips are applicable earlier in the admition process too.

The plan worked for me, but perhaps yours has to be adjusted to your situation. Good luck!


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