Question: How Should I Send My Hard Copy Grad Application? Can I Include a Picture?
Hard copy grad school applications aren't common today but some programs still request snail-mail applications. Hard copy applications also leave applicants with a host of questions. One reader explains, "just throwing everything in a large manila envelope seems lazy and disorganized. Any tips? Also, a friend included a candid, but professional picture of himself with his materials. Is this a good idea?"
Answer: Presentation matters. This is an important but often overlooked aspect of the graduate school application. How does one present a graduate application in a way that is professional and attractive? What goes into a professional application packet?
Clean, error free materials:
- Type-written forms
- Essays printed on white or cream paper. Do not use heavy-bond resume paper; instead use good quality printer paper.
- Informal school transcript. Each application requires a formal transcript, sent from your university, but also include a copy of your informal transcript.
- Cover letter listing all enclosed materials
- Sort all materials into the order listed by the cover letter.
- Do not staple materials as the admissions committee will separate all pages to make copies.
- Use paper clips to attach pages and a binder clip to secure the entire packet.
- Include your name on every page submitted. If your essay is more than one page, place your name as the right or left-hand header on every page.
- Your goal is to make it easy for the committee to review your application. Make their task pleasant by presenting your materials with care.