How to Apply for Master’s Degree to Study Abroad?

Gone are the days, when you approach your colleges in person to put in applications. With opportunities around the world, the method and requirements for admission to Master’s have changed. Most of the universities around the globe now have an online system for putting in applications. Some are impeccable and completes all formalities online, while others needs to be followed up sending hard copy of documents. Some universities allow you to put in applications for the Masters in the final semester of your Bachelors. But few of them still want to have your final degree certificate before putting in applications. It is important to begin preparations well ahead of the application deadline as all the documentations takes time.

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Applying for master’s degree varies from country to country. There are a set of documents which are required for each country. Here I will try to put in almost all requirements that you may require.

Documents required to apply for Master Degree:

Academic Transcripts: By academic transcripts, universities mean the score card or marks card of each semester/ year of your Bachelors. Most Universities needs official transcripts (transcripts in a sealed envelope of university with the university/ college stamp) to be directly send from the university/college. Some countries might accept the consolidated transcripts but most universities need semester wise of yearly transcripts. Universities in US & Canada may need you to assess your documents through WES or other similar organizations to get the US equivalence of your current qualification and grades. Some universities in US accept only 4 year undergraduate degree with exception to 3 year degrees from top tier universities.

Degree Certificate: For courses which do not need work experience, they allow you to apply during your final semester. In such a case, you will receive a conditional offer, with a condition of getting required score and passing the degree. The condition can be waived with submitting a provisional degree certificate.

IELTS/TOEFL: As an international student, most universities in US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia & New Zealand will need you to submit either and English proficiency test score to prove your English proficiency. Popular English testes are IELTS & TOEFL. Some European universities will exempt you of these by conducting their own test or by submission of a letter from the last institution proving your English capabilities. TOEFL is accepted in US, Canada & some universities in Europe, while IELTS is accepted world over. Pearson test is also getting accepted in various universities.

GMAT: Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is an additional requirement for MBA or other Management studies in good universities world over. 550/800 is the minimum acceptable score. But the best universities needs scores above 700. Some universities also provide an exemption to GMAT if you have good work experience.

GRE: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a requirement if you are planning to pursue your Master’s in Engineering or other science related subjects. The general test has two sections each with 340 marks. A score above 310/340 is considered good. Some universities will also want you to submit a GRE subject score. Some universities exempt you from GRE if you have a Masters qualification.

Letter of Intent: This is a requirement for most Masters Application. It can have different names. But all of them want you to explain why you have chosen this particular program and why you have chosen this University for it. A little bit of research should go in before you start to write it. It is an average of 500 to 700 words.

Resume/CV: You should present yourself with a compact CV with all your relevant studies, work experience, internships, projects and other details. It should be your shortest professional biography.

References/ Letters of Recommendation: It is vital to provide good references as part of your application. Take it from people who can give your personalized reference letters or those who know you well. Some universities ask you to submit recommendation letters in sealed envelope from your recommenders and others ask for their email ids and send mails to them directly asking for your reference. If you have an extensive work experience, it is better to get 2 professional recommendations and one academic recommendation unless specified.

For some universities in US, you will also need to submit a financial sponsorship form which has information about the funds that you have to cover expenses of one year of study.

Documentation requirements are quite extensive and rigid in US, & Canada while it is easier to apply to universities in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Malaysia & Singapore.

Application process

Most universities have an online application with specific logins for certain universities. You will need to fill in all your personal, academic, demographic, professional, contact information as part of the application. Most applications will have an application fee which can be paid with a credit card.

Also there will be options in most of the applications to upload your documents. For some other universities, following traditional application procedure, you have to type in their paper application; sign and send an application package to the university with all relevant documents. It is always advisable to put in a cover letter to your application package and send it to the right address. In certain countries, there are common application portals which allow you to put in applications to multiple universities.

Once you submit the application, you will get follow up mails with initial acknowledgement and status updates from time to time. If they need any further documents, it will be notified by mail. Some top universities will have a face to face interview and other screening sessions with students for programs like MBA. Others might hold a skype interview for certain courses. Universities take six to eight weeks to process your application.

Keep your fingers crossed and wait for the good news. All the very best for your offers!!

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