You just hit submit after all of those months of preparing for Graduate School; Securing letters of recommendation, taking your GRE’s once (or twice) finally feeling confident on your personal statements which are sheer perfection especially after having more rewrites than a New York Times piece on foreign policy. Now it’s time to sit back, relax and wait for the decisions to come in. Well, not exactly. Applying for graduate school is just the beginning. Here are some tips to maximize the waiting game after hitting that submit button:
1) Answer your phone. Most of us ignore phone numbers that we don’t recognize. You may think, “if it’s important they’ll text me.” Maybe the last time you answered a number you didn’t recognize it was a telemarketer or a scammer trying to get steal your identity. But think about it, you’ve just sent a lot of schools applications so the likelihood of getting a phone call from your future PI (Principal Investigator) is high. If not your PI then one of their graduate students so the next time the phone rings pick it up.
2) Read journal articles. Now that you’re convinced that you need to answer your phone be sure to keep up to date on research. There’s nothing worse that talking to a prospective student who forgot which research area they’ve applied to or even worse who they’ve applied to work with. Create an excel spreadsheet listing which school, which lab, which faculty, and what research you’ve expressed interest in. Brush up on articles so that when you get the calls the information will be fresh in your mind.
3) Don’t be afraid to share new information. You just hit submit and not even a day later you find out that you received a fellowship or your publication has just been accepted. Have no fear, it’s okay to contact the department directly and ask that this information be added to your file. However, before you do so make sure it’s something substantial and if in doubt ask a mentor or faculty member from your home institution.
4) Remind your recommenders. You’ve secured letters of recommendation so don’t forget to give a heartfelt thank you to your recommenders aka a reminder. Sometimes that thank you is actually a nudge reminding them. Faculty get busy so bumping this to the top of their email is a great reminder and if you’re still in the process of securing letters make sure to tell them whether you are applying for Masters or PhD and what the actual due dates are.
5) Start looking for housing. I know this one may sound bizarre and possibly premature but if you’re going to be relocating you need to know what your housing options are. Avoid sticker shock by researching university housing or nearby housing options now.