IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS YOU NEED FOR YOUR POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION.
Just before you begin your postgraduate application, it is expected that you have the following documents ready as they are supporting documents to your application. These documents are used for various purposes such as ascertaining your social background, work experience, citizenship etc. as well as if you are a good fit for the program you’re applying for.
- Curriculum vitae
Most postgraduate study applications require applicants to submit a CURRICULUM VITAE (CV) or RESUME as part of the application process. This is a short written summary (usually an average length 2 to 3 pages) of a person’s career, qualifications, education and skills. It is a chance for you as an applicant to highlight important aspects of your professional life/career and present your best skills and accomplishments to the admission committee of the postgraduate programme you intend to apply to.
Depending on the particular university of choice or the country/part of the world in which it is located, there are several types of CV/resume formats. Australian universities (for instance) have a specific CV format, so do the US and Canada. Europe also has a general format referred to as the Europass CV. It is therefore your obligation as an applicant to do your research accordingly and tailor your CV/resume according to the standards of the university you are applying to and the country in which it is located. If you observe closely, some university websites may even have ready-made downloadable templates for their applicants to make use of. Ensure to look out for these things in order to make the best of your application and increase your chances of being selected for the postgraduate study of your choice.
2. Academic Transcripts.
An academic transcript, also known as an academic record, is a document produced and certified by a university, providing a complete list of all the studies a student has completed with them. Basically, a transcript is a proof of education, and should contain all the subjects/courses studied alongside the grades/marks awarded for them. A transcript also contains the credit value of the courses or subjects taken, as well as the grading system followed by the academic institution issuing the transcript.
As a prospective scholar seeking admission for postgraduate study, your university of interest will require the submission of a transcript to support your claim that you are familiar with certain required courses, or have acquired necessary qualifications in a certain field or area of study. It is important to contact the appropriate authorities of the university from which you obtained your degree in order to make your transcripts available to you well before the application period for your program of interest.
3. International Passport.
A lot of universities outside your home country would require the submission of a means of identification as part of your application process for postgraduate admission. Some schools could request for your copy of the national ID card, but in most cases, the acceptable means of identification is the international passport. If you look carefully through the admission requirements or application procedure for your program of interest, it is usually stated that the ID page of your valid passport is scanned and submitted or uploaded to the application portal.
It is in your best interest as a prospective scholar to plan ahead in order to obtain your valid international passport well before the beginning of the application period for your program of interest. This would help you prevent any issues (such as missing application deadlines) that could arise due to delays in processing; this could jeopardize your application process. A stitch in time saves nine, nothing can take the place of foresight and careful planning.
4. Reference letter
One of the application requirements for admission into most postgraduate study programs would be to submit reference letters, also known as recommendation letters. These letters serve as additional evidence of your ability as a prospective scholar to handle or complete postgraduate study successfully. The letters are normally expected to be provided by academic or industry professionals that have supervised your learning, work or research at some point, and can attest to your resourcefulness and readiness for postgraduate study.
Depending on your program of interest, acceptable reference letters could be from professors/lecturers in your home (undergraduate) institution, an employer or supervisor at a job/position related to your program of interest, or in some cases, a research supervisor that can attest to your aptitude for research as well as your potential for productivity. The most important thing to note here is that your recommender should be someone who knows you well, and would be sure to put in a good word for you, in order to increase your chances of getting selected by the admissions committee for your program of interest.
It is thus advisable to develop a good relationship with such persons, and inform them well ahead of the application period for your program of interest, so that they would be ready to provide you with a good and well-structured reference letter as soon as you need it.
5. Proof of English Proficiency.
Proof of English proficiency as one of the requirements for postgraduate study application depends on the university of interest, as well as the region of the world in which it is situated, there are several ways of proving proficiency in English language, especially as a prospective scholar who hopes to study in the language. The university would need some kind of proof that you have a reasonable grasp or understanding of the language, and that your attempt to undertake learning in it will be an absolute success.
Typically, the major tests that are acceptable for most universities (and in most parts of the world) are IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Universities would typically require applicants to sit through these tests and provide their results as evidence of their capability to learn successfully in the English language.
As much as it is important to remember that different universities and postgraduate programmes accept different proficiency levels as proven by these tests, it is also important to remember that some schools do not require the tests at all, especially if you can prove (alternatively) that your undergraduate study was completed in an English-speaking university or country. This is why it is important for you as a prospective scholar to read instructions carefully before and during application, and take note of which ones do or do not apply to you.
According to your institution of interest however, or the region of the world in which it is located, there might be additional requirements such as a motivation letter or personal statement, a research proposal, or results of examinations or tests such as GRE, GMAT, etc. It is thus important to carry out your personal research and find out all the information specific to your institution of choice.
It is also important to keep in mind that, regardless of the documents, necessary and proper planning is essential in any situation, and it is very important to gather all your documents in good time, keeping in mind the beginning of the application period for your program of interest. This is necessary in order to submit applications early and give yourself a better chance of getting considered by the admissions committee.