Our Three Top Tips for a Great Application

Application TipsSo, you’re in the thick of things. You have written out your SOP, you have got the transcripts and letters of recommendation, and you have filled up the University application. But, you still have a question: “Is this enough? Or, is there something else I can do to make my application really stand out from the rest?”

Before you submit your application, consider this: what makes a “good” application a “great” one is the extra effort you put in. So, here are our three top tips for fine-tuning your application and making it one that is really great:

  1. Research the school website – There are a lot of subtle hints which you can pick up from college websites, so take a little time to browse through the sites carefully. One thing to look for is the graduate student handbook which you should download and read. It is important to go through details about the faculty research and labs. Doing this will help you to to get a clear idea about what you can focus on during your studies in the university you are considering, and it is therefore very important in deciding which universities to apply to. It will also help you to decide which research areas to highlight in writing your SOP.
  2. Connect with somebody – It’s a good idea to connect with either staff or seniors at a grad school beforehand (preferably do both). You can email the member of faculty that you find most impressive and would like to work with in the future. This will help if you want to establish contact – a bonus when you already have a proven and focused research interest. But remember, that it is dangerous to do this without having a clear idea of what you want to do, or why you want to do it. Also, don’t overdo it – you might end up boring the professor and make him or her completely unwilling to respond to you.
  3. Proofread your documents – Make sure that you don’t end up sending SOPs to a university which mention a different one as the one you are applying to – at best this will be seen as a sign of carelessness, at worst it may even be taken as an insult; and it’s surprising how many students make that mistake. But also, send copies of your draft SOP to to a teacher, or guide who knows your work and progress and to at least 3-4 trusted friends. They can tell you whether what you are saying makes sense or not.

And do take the time to draft a good SOP– it has a weight and importance of its own and can give you the opportunity to present your strengths in a way that no other document can. (Click this link to get an idea of how to do this.) But don’t get too worried if you can’t do this, the staff at DOA’s counseling center can help you put your SOP into top shape!

Related Links

The importance of the SOP (or application essay)

How to write a good SOP

Answers to Practice GRE Test Quant Questions

Post: Did You Know these Facts about GRE Math?

Question: How many positive integers, less than 20, are either an even multiple of 2 or, a multiple of 9 or, the sum of a positive multiple of 2 and a positive multiple of 9?

Answer: There are 11 such integers:

  • Multiples of 2 – 4, 8, 12, 16 (total 4)
  • Multiples of 9 – 9, 18 (total 2)
  • Sums of a positive multiple of 2 and a positive multiple of 9 – 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 (total 5)


Post: Quantitative Comparison Questions: Doubtful D!



X < (1/X)

Column A Column B

X X2


Answer:: (D)

The given inequality is X< (1/X).

This is possible only in two cases:

(1) If 0 < X < 1 OR

(2) X < -2

Now, you need to compare ‘X’ with ‘X2’

If you pick the value of ‘X’ from 1st range, let’s say ‘X’ = ½, then X > X2, thus the possible answer is option (A) and hence, options (B) and (C) can be eliminated.

But if you pick up the value of ‘X’ from the second range of values, lets say X = -3, then X < X2.

That means we are not able to reach to any unique conclusion using the information given, thus the answer is option (D)


Web Development Skills: Engineers Read This!

In March 2012, we had put up a post advising ECE students, about job opportunities in the US. Today, let’s talk about something related but slightly different: while you are waiting for an admit or preparing for an MS, you can use the time to build useful skill sets. If you are an engineer who would like to explore options in software development, you could think about the area of web-development and related technologies.

Web development specialization: Making an educated choice in operating system technologies and related skills

If you are a wannabe web developer, picking the right skill sets is key to a successful career. Once you have chosen the web development skills you want to acquire, there are many ways to develop them:

  • extra “private” courses or certifications
  • regular college and work-related project work
  • ad hoc additional projects at college / work

(The latter two will also allow a hands-on tangible demonstration of your skills.)

The question is “what web development skills should you focus on?”

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How to Apply for an ‘MS in US’: Find the Key Steps Here

Application Process ImageOnce your final list of universities is ready, you can start applying to universities for your much dreamed of ‘MS in US’. Here are the key steps:

  • Complete the online application forms
  • Request ETS to send your GRE and TOEFL scores to the university/department
  • Prepare document packets, consisting of:

It is really important that you carefully follow all instructions regarding the sending of documents. Please also adhere to prescribed deadlines since the application can be rejected if you are late.

Remember you can always call up the Academy if you feel you can’t carry out this demanding process all alone. We have services that are designed to take care of every difficulty you face – we are always there to help.

All the best as you move on to a great admit!

Related LInks


An Easy Way to Learn GRE Words (Through Roots) Part 2

Word RootsIf you found the last post on roots helpful, here are 2 more roots which cover 25 GRE words. For those of you who have come directly to this post, here’s a link that will help you understand why we are talking about roots so much: go to first roots post. (But basically, it helps to make learning the GRE words much easier).

genus generis (14 words)

The Latin word genus (cognate with Greek ‘genos’ and the Sanskrit root ‘jan’) has produced a number of English words. Genus has two basic forms: ‘genus’ and ‘generis’ (the second of which is more important because most derived words in English and other modern European languages have come from it whereas ‘genus’ exists as a single English word).

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