Well, it’s that time of the year again…
CAAPID is open for the 2015 cycle!
Are you ready to get into this years game?
I hope you are, and I hope you’re excited about it too.
The application season can be very stressful. This takes most people by surprise during their first round of application; studying for the boards was hard, so after that it feels like the hard part should be over, but it isn’t. Everything that needs to be done just to apply, like writing your personal statement, Curriculum Vitae, CAAPID application, arranging and writing recommendation letters, responding to school specific short essay questions, while researching where to apply to and what each program’s requirements are, along with how each school wants you to apply, it’s pretty crazy.
I know it’s hard, can I give you some advice?
Tip #1: Apply Early! Please?
It’s no secret that early application plays a huge role in the likelihood of receiving an interview invitation. Talk to anyone involved in admissions, apply early is always one of the top advice they give to someone wanting to get into any kind of program. At the same time it’s an easily-glanced over point.
Don’t procrastinate. If you know you’re going to apply, and you know that early application will increase your interview chances, why wouldn’t you?
Yes I know, people submit their applications late for various reasons, not just because of procrastination.
Some applicants aren’t finished taking tests yet. You’re studying hard and doing the best you can, and your intention never was to apply early, but rather to apply as soon as possible after you’re done with all the requirements. This is the first year, and there’s just no way you’d apply early.
If that’s you, it’s not really in your control. Just make sure after taking tests you don’t waste anymore time. Plan things out ahead of time so that as soon as you get your scores back everything is ready to go.
Then there are the applicants who are attending Colorado’s interview this year. This is a tricky one, last year Colorado interviewed more than 5 times the number of seats they had, and didn’t send out acceptances until late June, which is when application deadlines start to approach for other schools. Also keep in mind that because Colorado’s interview cycle is so different from other programs their wait-list doesn’t move much at all.
So sorry to break this out to you, but even if you’re going to Colorado’s interview, I’d highly advise you to get ready for the next cycle as soon as you’re done interviewing.
Tip #2: Make sure your personal statement is OUTSTANDING
Your personal statement is the only place you can get your voice heard. It’s an opportunity to grab the committee’s attention and make them want to meet you in person.
For the majority of applicants applying to the Advanced Standing Program, an essay like this is a brand new project you’ve never worked on before. You don’t have a reference for its role, importance, or what it should look like. You end up writing a really boring personal statement that lists your achievements that’s already listed in your Curriculum Vitae. It becomes something like, a CV re-written in an essay form.
This is a classic example of a poorly written personal statement. Imagine you have the job of screening applications that come in, and in the middle of your boring day you pick up an essay like that. Would you like to meet that applicant?
Probably not, you’ll probably skim the essay in less than 30 seconds and won’t even remember what it was about.
Don’t do that, your writing assignments are a HUGE part of your application, it deserves a LOT of attention if you want to get into school.
The other issue I’d like to discuss is: don’t let there be a discrepancy in the writing level between your SOP and the rest of your application – meaning your CV, CAAPID, and essay questionnaires. Many applicants hear that a strong personal statement is extremely important so they get professional help with it, but try to do the rest of their application by themselves. It only takes 3 seconds to recognize the fact that the essay was professionally edited while the rest of the application is not. Reviewers can easily assume that the quality of writing reflected in the rest of the application is the true writing sample of the applicant. That’s not good.
(BTW, if you’re interested, we offer editing services)
Tip #3: Apply Everywhere
You want to get a Yes right? Then be ready for rejections first.
It’s costs lot of time, money, and effort to do this, and you may be thinking that you’d like to be strategic and just apply to the schools that are looking for students like you.
I’ve gotta say, “think again.” You can’t tell which of the 25+ programs spread all across the states will call you for an interview.
Last year one of my students got a call from just one school, and that was University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh only accepts 4 students. She wasn’t called for Boston, USC, UOP, or anywhere else that has a interview size of 100+. But she did get a call from Pittsburgh that only called a few applicants, and she got in. And yes, she applied everywhere.
The application fee is an investment. Do it, you won’t regret it when you get your acceptance.
Don’t get discouraged from rejections, it’s a natural part of the process especially when the competition is high like it is.
Instead, anticipate it, don’t let it bring you down.