Applying for online programs can be daunting. There is a lot of competition for some of the best and biggest programs, and with that competition comes increasingly more complicated application requirements. While you may have the bare minimum, you may not get in if there are more qualified or experienced potential students than you. Most programs want to know why you are taking the program, what your goals are, what experience or transcripts you come with, and more.
Just as a great job application can help you get that dream job over an auto-apply application, the same applies to online degrees. You can do a lot to stand out, so use this guide to help you craft a winning application today.
Check the Admissions Page Carefully
Every program worth its while will have a full and comprehensive page outlining the admissions process, requirements, and other essential admin considerations like cost per application. Create a list of what they want on the application. You would be surprised at how often people leave essential (and asked for) information out because they simply forget to check the admissions page. If you are interested in any of the Merrimack online degree programs, for example, visiting the admissions page can help give you everything you need to know to create a winning application that will help you get accepted the first time.
Tips for Creating a Personal Statement
Personal statements are often misunderstood. They are less about why you are great and more about why the course in question is a great fit and will help you with your goals. You should include how the degree or program in question helps you build on your existing experience, especially if the program is a master’s degree or higher.
For the first draft, write as much as you want. Get everything you want in there said. For the second, third, and however many drafts you put it through, work on removing the excess until you have a clear, concise, and brilliant personal statement.
What to Include in Your Personal Statement
While it is always a great idea to include a few personal details, such as why you are passionate about the subject or career path, know that you must answer the question or include the points the institution requires first and foremost. Being able to clearly answer the question will do more for your personal statement than explaining all the good work, volunteering, and other resume-boosting activities that you do.
If you want to go in for education, for example, you will often need to answer the question “what is your interest in pursuing a career in education” usually in the state where the university or college is located.
Answer this question first, and then provide the reasons why and how your life and passions relate to PreK-12 education. Keeping your statement short and to the point will mean your message will get across properly.
Create the First Draft, Then Leave It
Go through and create a draft of your application and then hold on to it. By simply waiting a day or two, you can look back on it with fresh eyes and pick up any silly mistakes or editing errors. If you have a friend or family member happy to check for you, this is another great way to ensure there aren’t any issues before you send off your application.
Keep Track of Your Applications
There are two important ways that you need to keep track of your applications. The first is the cut-off date for applications for your shortlist of courses. Input those dates into your calendar, and if need be, create a schedule so that you can have all your bespoke applications ready before they are due.
You should also put a note somewhere of when you submitted your application. This can help you estimate when you should hear a response so that you can be ready and on the lookout.
Don’t Get Discouraged
If you don’t get in, don’t get discouraged. Not getting into a program means less about your personal qualities or experience and more about the others who applied. You may not have gotten in this one time, but you might the next time. Simply work on improving your career in other ways and then apply again.