Fellowship for the Future
Application for admission to Master's degree programs at U.S. universities - important tips and resources
It is important to allow yourself ample time for completing your application to graduate (Master's) programs in the United States. You should begin one and a half year or even two years prior to the date you wish to begin your studies. Below you will find the information you need to get started.
Selecting Master's programs
Graduate education is an opportunity for advanced study and for the pursuit of your unique academic and professional interests. You should therefore spend some time researching institutions and programs before you create the list of programs you will apply to. You have probably heard of one or more famous U.S. universities, however, do not limit yourself and make sure you explore the wide choice of programs which are available in the United States higher education system.
You should focus on finding the best graduate programs in your particular field rather than looking solely at the university's overall reputation.
There are dozens of distinguished universities in the United States offering versatile opportunities for learning and excellent resources.
Try to learn from the program's website as well as from other sources about what makes a certain program distinctive and how its qualities fit your own goals. You may look at the program size, the faculty members' background, students' background, the main focus areas in the academic curriculum, life outside of the classroom, the type of jobs and careers graduates of the program pursue, and so forth.
The best place to start is the website of the Institute for the Development of Education, an authorized EducationUSA center in Croatia, which offers a wealth of information and further links and resources about identifying and applying to universities in the United States:
Be sure to read this excellent guide available on the Institute for the Development of Education's website:
Most academic programs in the U.S. require international students to submit results of the TOEFL test in order to demonstrate possession of sufficient speaking, reading, writing and listening skills in the English language. The other standardized tests that many graduate (Master's) programs require of all applicants are GMAT and GRE (either of the two). They test verbal, quantitative and analytical skills and are substantially more difficult than TOEFL. The deadline for receipt of test scores by the admissions office is often the same as the application deadline. You should register to take the tests in time for the scores to reach the admissions office by the application deadline.
Standardized tests are an important element of your application for admission to U.S. universities – do not underestimate their importance or take them without practicing. It is recommended to allow three months to prepare for a test, and you may wish to practice longer. Consistent practice and familiarity with the test format and types of questions will enable you to do well.
You can find all the information you need regarding standardized tests at the Institute for the Development of Education:
Read more about standardized tests in the guide available on the Institute for the Development of Education's website:
Completing the application for admission
You should approach your application as you would a project or paper and work on each part of the application with equal care. Your personal statement and other essays are perhaps the most important part of the application. This is where you have the opportunity to share your unique background and goals. Other parts of the application in which you provide information on your education and experiences are also crucial for the overall impression your application gives. Your application as a whole should be organized, consistent and highlight your achievements and experiences well.
While some Master's programs in the United States require certain academic coursework as a prerequisite for participation in the program, most do not require that you hold an undergraduate degree in one specific field. In your application, you will have an opportunity to explain why you wish to obtain the degree you are applying for and why you would be a good addition to the program. U.S. schools will look for evidence of your motivation and fit with the program in your experiences outside of academic study and your goals. In the United States, it is common to obtain work experience between the undergraduate degree and graduate school. Most professional degree programs (such as, for example, public policy, journalism, business, engineering) prefer to admit applicants who have some work experience in the field. In many cases, your application will be stronger if you can demonstrate that you have relevant professional experience.
For more information, do not miss reading this guide, available on the Institute for the Development of Education's website:
Letters of recommendation are another central part of your application. You should ask individuals who know you well to write letters on your behalf. That will ensure that your application is supported by genuine and enthusiastic letters. Read this guide on recommendation letters to gain better insight:
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