Admissions decisions are influenced by a number of factors, and each school will have its own set of policies and procedures. Knowing the policies of your target schools can help you develop strategies that work to your advantage.
Typically, admissions committees base their decisions on a combination of grade point average, standardized test scores, personal essays, previous work experience, research, and co-curricular activities. Each program will have a means of weighing these factors to reach their decisions.
Developing a Strategy
Once you are satisfied with the range of programs you have investigated, you will be in a position to create a list of the programs most congruent with your personal profile. To increase the probability that you are accepted to at least one program of your choice you may want to employ a “tier” application strategy. Apply to a range of programs — from those that are highly selective to others for which you would clearly be viewed as a highly competitive candidate.
A typical graduate school application may request a written application outlining biographical information, a written essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation and standardized test scores. In addition you may be asked to participate in a campus interview. Each of these components should be equally well developed and communicate professionalism.