According to a report from the Council of Graduate Schools (co-published with the Graduate Record Examinations Board), there were 2.25 million grad school applications in 2016. That’s an incredibly competitive pool! So how do you stand out from the crowd? What’s the secret sauce to receiving an admitted status? Enter: Accepted.com.
Linda Abraham, founder and CEO of Accepted.com, worked as a writing tutor for UCLA in the early years of her career, which is also where she received her BA and MBA. After some life changes, she left the field to pursue her real estate license, which only lasted a few years. “I realized I had to commit more time to real estate, which eats away at family time,” Abraham Said. “Or I had to do something different.”
At this stage in her life, computers were now a big factor in everyone’s lives, and she had close friends that were making money writing for online magazines and other mediums. So, she thought she would give it a go for the second time around.
“I suddenly realized that the internet completely removed geographical boundaries. So, when the internet first entered the scene as a more popular medium in the early 90’s, I decided I would try to put up a website and business just exploded,” she explained.
Last year Accepted.com helped almost 800 students get accepted into their school or program of choice, and has an average acceptance rate of 85%, which is astounding!
Get Help with Essays, Resumes, Personal Statements and More
Accepted.com offers a slew of services for college grads, ranging from one-hour minimum consulting services to full-on application packages. However, that’s not what makes their services so successful. It’s the knowledge and years of experience held by the staff of the company that lets them walk away with an 85% acceptance rate for their clients.
“We bring years of experience to the process. We bring objectivity to the process. We bring experience of expertise to the process,” she said. Students are good at what they do, which is absorbing information and learning. They aren’t experts at college admissions, and they don’t want to be.
Think of it this way – professional writers have professional editors review their work before it gets published. There’s a reason for that: good writing is a process that takes time. Most applicants are going to school full time and working, and they just don’t have a lot of time. Accepted fills that void by lending their expertise to applicants that aren’t sure where to go or how to start an application.
Here is a list of services offered by Accepted.com:
- Essay editing
- Admissions consulting
- Interview assistance
- Waitlist letters
- Resume assistance
- Application packages
- And more
The application packages are one of the most popular services offered, which helps with everything from essay strategy to interview prep and decision counseling. The cost of services varies widely by the program you’re trying to get into, the service plan selected, number of applications, etc. Please visit their website for a full list of services and price points.
Four Ways to Make Your Graduate Application Stand-out
It’s incredibly competitive to get into grad school. On one hand you must show that you fit in with the particular program you’re applying to, while on the other hand, you need to stand out and show that you’re going to bring something unique to the program or community.
1) Tell a story
“I started looking into journalistic techniques and I realized that if applicants applied some of the same story telling techniques that journalists use, their essays would not only be correct, but also more engaging,” she said.
Nobody wants to read a boring essay. It’s very important to add some color to your story and give it life so the person on the other end doesn’t get bored. Make your essays engaging for the reader.
2) Know your ‘Why’
Abraham went on to explain that graduate school and graduate specialties are a means to an end and differs from undergraduate school. Most undergrads don’t know what they want to do, and they attend college for the sake of going to college. But if you go for an MBA, medical degree, law degree or any other graduate degree, the assumption is that you have a particular professional desire to pursue this course of study. Most schools want to know what that reason is.
For example, if you’re asked why you want to be a doctor, don’t reply with a superficial answer like ‘I want to help people.’ Most business professions are helping people in one way or another: plumbers, landscapers, Uber drivers, food and beverage service providers, etc. Students must explain exactly why or exactly how the pursuit of their degree matters to them.
3) Your application and experiences should complement one another
Abraham said the application must be results-oriented. College applications can have many different elements, such as a resume, essay, personal statement, transcript, etc. It’s important to make sure that all those pieces complement one another to give depth to your experience and shine a light on your goals.
A personal statement should be used to share your in-depth experiences as it relates to your field of interest. The resume then acts as a testament to your achievements and accomplishments.
4) Be authentic
And finally, she concluded, it’s important to be authentic. “Don’t just write what you think they want to hear. Answer the questions thoughtfully, sincerely, intelligently. There is only one of you and everyone has a story. To try and write what you think everyone else wants to read will just make you blend in.”
Not-so-obvious Reasons for a Denied Application
Graduate applications are denied all the time. The most obvious reasons would be failing to meet qualifications, such as a poor GPA or test score, but what about the less obvious reasons?
Abraham has worked with many admissions professionals who have told her how amazed they are at the types of mistakes they see on even the simplest of application forms. When you’re applying to a specialized school or program that demands acute attention to detail, your application must be accurate, for starters, and void of misspellings, improper capitalizations and punctuation.
Secondly, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses is a delicate balancing act. Some students focus on their weaknesses too much, while others completely ignore the fact that they have any weaknesses. Everyone has areas where they excel and areas where they don’t excel – it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Some applicants with high test scores and GPA’s come across as arrogant and cocky. Abraham spoke to one admissions officer who refers to that particular situation as the ‘jerk factor.’ It’s important that students counterbalance their strengths and weaknesses by providing evidence of their abilities.
If you’re interested in pursuing a specialized field of study or interested in finally getting your MBA, visit Accepted.com for tips, resources and college admissions assistance.