08 Apr 5 Commandments for Strengthening Your Masters Profile
Indian students continue to thrive abroad. In the last decade there has been significant growth in the number of students wishing to study abroad (200,000 in 2011 to 620,156 in 2019). Fierce competition has led to students getting extremely high marks. There is also the added pressure of the pandemic. If you think Covid-19 has reduced this competition, think again! The students who dropped the idea of applying last year will be applying this year with everyone else. This means more people will be scrambling for fewer seats. Therefore, to land a seat at a top university abroad, you will need more than just high marks. Your profile must be unique and stand out. There are a few ways to aid you in securing a place at the top of the heap.
There will always be someone out there who has scored better marks than you. You must find what makes you stand out. What is your unique selling point? Focus on your strengths. Make sure that your strengths are highlighted in your profile. Your strengths need to be visible to the admissions committee. Marks are not the be all and end all of your profile. Universities look for all rounded individuals. Write about strengths that you will use in the course that you are applying to. A certificate or achievement will cement this strength in the eyes of the committee. Try organising your strengths into different categories like – communication, technical, academic and professional expertise. Once you are clearer on your strengths, you can identify where to include them in different parts of your profile especially your application essay. You can then express these strengths in different forms – steps taken to achieve your strengths, tell a story which highlights your strengths, and give details and practical examples.
Write a Captivating SOP (Statement of Purpose)
An SOP is where you make the university understand why you want a seat there and how you would contribute to the college community. The SOP gives you the chance to be passionate and show interest in the subject that you want to study. Your SOP is more emotion driven than your resume. Your resume is technical. Mention your short term and long-term goals. The university will want to know whether you can handle the academic rigour of a master’s program, therefore the SOP is the best place to show that you are keen and prepared to face the challenges placed before you. Give an example of a challenge that you faced and how you overcame it. A positive attitude must be reflected in the SOP.
Many masters programs require some amount of work experience to be done before you can apply. If you have worked in a prestigious company, make sure to mention it. If the company is known to be difficult to get into, it will be a bonus. This tells the admissions committee that you are an exceptional candidate. If you do not have work experience, write about projects, internships and certifications that you have completed. In college you would have completed projects or made presentations. Any extra certificate course that you take will add weight to your profile. If the certificates are related to the subject you want to pursue, then all the better. Internships are also looked at in a positive light because it shows you have practical experience.
Be an All Rounder
Universities want all rounded individuals. They want to see more than just marks. They look for candidates who can contribute to their university culture. Sports, music, art, social work, are all added bonuses to your profile. They show that you have a multitude of interests and are not one dimensional.
Published research work is tremendously appreciated. This demonstrates the power of your research skills which will be an important aspect in most masters degrees. Publishing your work also shows your passion for the subject. Publishing a paper is not easy. It requires extensive research, writing and organisation skills. It requires extra effort, time and patience. It will speak highly of your academic ability and will give you an edge over other candidates.