3 Tips for Parents of Grad School Applicants

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Make sure your child’s in the driver’s seat

I’ve been working in graduate admissions for almost 20 years so I have witnessed this trend firsthand: Parents are playing a much larger role in the application process these days than they used to.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – parents can provide a lot of much-needed support (financial, practical, emotional) for their kids during the admissions process; but I cringe when I see parents overstepping their bounds, attempting to control their children’s actions and outcomes.

How much involvement is TOO MUCH involvement for parents of applicants? Check out these 3 tips:

• Make Sure Your Child’s in the Driver’s Seat. – When you take the lead in the admissions process, you’re essentially telling your child: “I don’t think you have what it takes to manage this process yourself.” And what you’re telling the school is: “My kid isn’t competent or ambitious enough to apply to school himself.” You can help your child apply, surely, but make sure that’s what you’re doing – helping them, and not the other way around.

• Your Child’s Voice Should be the Sole Voice of this Operation. – All communication with the school should be between your child – not you, the parent – and the school. Likewise, the voice your child uses to write her application essays should be her voice – and not yours. And it should go without saying that this advice relates to interviews as well. Help, guide, coach, and edit, but please never speak for your child.

• Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment. – Be it a rejection or a poor score, a parent needs to understand the role they play here. First, your child is the one experiencing this distress, not you. By showing your disappointment, you will only make your child feel worse, not to mention potentially preventing your child from continuing to move forward. Instead, allow your child time to express disappointment, provide the appropriate amount of comfort (you know your child best), and then encourage your child to persevere.  Suggest that your applicant explore alternatives and examine the factors he or she can change to improve the outcome in the future. Play the role of the motivational coach; don’t play the blame game.

Not sure you can effectively guide your child through the grad school admissions process (in a balanced, non-pushy way of course)? Browse our catalog of services to access professional guidance today!

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Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid on Your Grad School Statement of Purpose
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake
•  Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

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The Accepted team is super excited to welcome all of our new blog readers!

For those of you who don’t know much about Accepted, here is a little bit about who we are and what we do best:

We look forward to getting to know you better too – so keep up the great conversations in the comments section.

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Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Already TakenAdmissions committee members across the board (college, grad school, med school, b-school and law school) want you to do ONE thing in your applications, and one thing only: Introduce yourself. This does NOT include:

• Talking about who you WISH you were.
• Exaggerating your volunteer achievements.
• Making up job titles to boost your employment profile.
Cracking jokes when you’re really not such a funny person.
• Using big words that you found in a thesaurus when you have no idea what they mean.

Instead, when introducing yourself to the adcom, follow these simple tips:

• Use your own, authentic voice in your writing.
• Talk about what’s important to YOU instead of what you think the adcom want to hear.
• Tell things as they are – you don’t want to get the boot because a fact checker shows that you were really an “Office Assistant” instead of an “Office Manager.”
• Use a dictionary/thesaurus to ensure you use words correctly, not to engage in communicative creativity…

In short, if you want to stand out among the throngs of applicants in your field, your goal shouldn’t be to introduce yourself as a superhuman, god-like overachiever; instead introduce yourself as you actually are, with your unique interests, passions, accomplishments, and voice. This will be the most extraordinary, stand-out, note-worthy introduction. Not the introduction that makes the adcom members roll their eyes and say “yeah right.”


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Related Resources:

From Example to Exemplary – A Free Guide
6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays
The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes

Got Dinged? You Can Handle It!

Rejected from your top-choice school?It may or may not be fair, but many of you are going to get at least a few rejections. What are you going to do about them?

First and foremost—if you’ve gotten dinged at your top choice school, that doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get in. It doesn’t even mean that you won’t be going to school next year.

And so my first point is: DON’T GIVE UP.

However, you do need to respond constructively. For the Four Reasons for Rejection and tips on how to do exactly that, please see this video.

For more admissions-specific reapplication advice, check-out:

For all of you, if you don’t know why you were rejected or would you like expert advice on improving your next application, please consider an application review:

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Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply

Oh No! A Typo!!

Worried about writing your application essays? We've got you covered!

If the readers see a lot of mistakes they will assume you are careless and sloppy.

Will it doom your otherwise perfect application to the great round file in cyberspace, putting the kabosh on years of effort and nixing your attempt to walk through the hallowed halls of your favored institution?

No.

A single, minor typo will do absolutely nothing. So don’t sweat one minor spelling mistake, a missed comma, or a couple of transposed letters.

You have cause for worry if you find any of the following after you have hit SUBMIT or put the envelope in the mailbox:

1. You find several typos or mistakes. If the readers see a lot of mistakes they will assume you are careless and sloppy. Not exactly the impression you are aiming for, and one that will definitely hurt you.

2. Your typo changes the meaning. For example, a client years ago submitted a draft to me in which he wrote, “Through research I exorcised my mind… ” I have never forgotten this one because I almost fell off my chair laughing. He meant “exercised.” If this only happens once, I don’t think it would necessarily be fatal, but you don’t want to be remembered for rib-splitting typos either. In his case, I just had a good laugh and it was never submitted.

 3. You forget to change the school’s name somewhere in the essay. Ouch. Adcoms universally hate that. It isn’t really a typo either, and it usually results in rejection.

What should you do if you find any of 1-3 in your application after submitting. It’s a tough spot. If you find the error(s)–especially if you find 1 or 3 — soon after hitting SUBMIT, you can contact the school and say that you accidentally submitted the wrong draft of your essay(s). Maybe, just maybe, someone will have mercy on  you and let you submit the corrected draft.

Download 5 Fatal Flaw to Avoid in Your Application

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes
5 Ways to Clean Up Your Online Presence for When You Apply
How to Deal with Deadlines