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Bolger Strategic Admissions Consulting: Home
 
 
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Pursing a graduate or professional degree requires a commitment to specialize in a specific field of knowledge. However, applying to a masters, professional, or doctoral program involves different strategies (note: I have separate information pages for business, law, and executive education).
 
                   
 

Masters Programs

It is important for you to communicate why you are applying to a masters program. Do you plan to pursue a doctorate in the future? How will the masters program add value to your professional aspirations? Do you seek a career as a practitioner or a scholar? There are many questions that admissions representatives may implicitly or explicitly have for you. It is important to demonstrate that you have a carefully mapped out life plan. You need to present an argument to the admissions committee that their specific program is the best match for you at this unique point in the development of your career.

It will be helpful to demonstrate aptitude for independent scholarship and self-direction. You also should provide evidence that you will contribute to the intellectual culture of the department or program running the masters program. Illustrate your initiative, problem solving skills, team working abilities, and potential to succeed under pressure.

Each masters program is unique and I will be happy to discuss with you the special nuances associated with your interested area of study.

 
   
   
   
   
   
                   
                   
 

Professional Masters Programs

There are a variety of professionally focused Masters degree programs (e.g., Masters of Public Health, Masters of Education, Masters of Public Policy, etc.). Each of these programs requires a specific customized approach. Please contact me and I will be happy to discuss important considerations for the program that you are especially interested in completing.

In general, your personal statement should communicate your professional experience, personal motivation, and promise for making a future contribution to scholarship and/or practice. You need to show, not just tell, why you are ready to take on a demanding focus of study that may require both specialization within a particular field, but also a readiness to think about problems from an interdisciplinary perspective.

You will need to answer many questions that admissions representatives may have about your file: why do you want to attend the program now? How will your career trajectory be changed by attending the program? What are your most meaningful personal, professional, and academic challenges and how have you persevered? Do you have the character, maturity, and judgment required for a demanding professional program? What significantly distinguishes you from other outstanding applicants? Answering these questions effectively may be more difficult than you think.

 
                   
                   
 

Doctoral Programs

There are far more qualified applicants who apply to doctoral programs than space available. Outstanding undergraduate grades and GRE scores makes you competitive with other applicants. However, alone, it does not give you a winning edge.

If a graduate department admits you, they are proposing to have you study in their intimate scholarly community for years. You must demonstrate your compatibility with the intellectual culture of your department. You need to identify specific faculty members who you would like to work with when you engage in research projects. You need to show that a particular department has the scholars that match your research interests. As a result, your application should be custom tailored to the department and program that you are applying to; generalization and vague goals are not helpful.

Scholars value the candid recommendations by other scholars who have a knowledgeable background on your performance and potential. It is especially important for you to carefully select who writes your recommendations. It will be helpful to the admissions reviewers if you use recommenders from the field that you plan to study.

Your essay should focus on your intellectual interests. You should also reveal the origins of your intellectual interests. It is important to establish the likelihood of your enduring interest to a particular field of intellectual investigation. You may also want to show your appreciation for interdisciplinary scholarship.

Preparing an application for a doctoral program is a demanding and nuanced process.

 
                   
                   
                   
                   
 
Admissions Focus:        
           
Consulting Details:
 
                   
 
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