Whether you’re applying for an MBA or a Master’s program, there are different graduate schools application deadlines to keep track of in your calendar. Some are strict. Others are flexible but you still need to plan for them in advance so that they don’t clash with the rest of your schedule.
Admission test dates
It’s common practice for most postgraduate programs to request different types of test scores as part of your application. If you’re applying for a business and management study, you might have to sit an exam such as GMAT or GRE and language proficiency tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English, and others.
Booking a test date at the most convenient test center can require planning several months in advance. If you have already shortlisted programs to apply to, you should make sure that the test date is not too late for your official score to reach the admissions office. Most importantly, you need to plan when you will be prepared to sit the tests and score high.
Program application deadlines
Graduate schools around the world have different types of admission deadlines. “Rolling admission” means the program has specific capacity and it will accept applications until the moment the class fills up. Don’t get mixed up just because there is no specific date to put in your calendar. Instead, follow the plan and schedule that makes sense for you.
Some universities prefer to have one specific deadline for accepting applications. The date is usually updated for every new application period (for example, once per year). This will give you a clear goal in mind and it will help you plan the rest of your schedule around this one deadline. However, if you don’t manage your time well or miss the deadline, you will have to wait for the next admissions period or pick another program.
Yet other programs choose to structure their admissions in rounds – around three or four in total. Each round has a deadline. Of course, this option gives MBA and Master’s candidates more flexibility to prepare their application. Missing the first round is not the end of the world, because the second one will be open next. However, admissions officers usually recommend submitting your application in the early rounds, especially for international candidates. In addition, the deadline for scholarship applications usually coincides with the deadlines for the early rounds.
Visa and relocation
If you are an international applicant, or even if you’re moving to another city for your studies, you will have to organize your relocation. Some international students have to take care of their student visa application. This process can be lengthy depending on your nationality, country of residence, and the country where you are headed. If you can, get advice on the topic early on and talk to representatives from the relevant institutions, so that you are sure you will not miss any deadlines or required documents.
Although there are no set deadlines in regard to securing your accommodation, this process can be tricky too. For example, if you are starting your Master’s program soon and want to register for on-campus housing, applying quickly will be essential. Dorms and other university accommodation may be in high demand.
Arrangements with your employer
While this mostly concerns MBA candidates for full-time programs, it’s an important aspect to keep in mind in the months before your application. Full-time programs require complete focus and participation. This means that students cannot juggle between the MBA and their job and they will need to take a break from their active career for one or two years. In some cases, this is an arrangement between the MBA student and their employer. In other cases, business school participants decide that this is the right time to make this step and they hand in their resignation.
If this is something you are planning to do, you need to think how it will affect your overall application schedule. For example, you might want to ask your direct manager for a letter of recommendation. Be clear about this request when you let them know you are leaving. In addition, you will have to wrap up current projects, train your potential replacement, and help your company transition to a work schedule without you. All of this will take time. Still, as long as you are parting ways on good terms, taking care of these logistic tasks should not be a problem.
These multiple graduate schools application deadlines require solid organizational and time management skills. Some of these deadlines are probably not as obvious as you expected, but they will still form an important chunk of your schedule.
Are you ready to start planning?