We’re All in the Same (Admissions) Boat

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. You’re interested in a graduate program, you know you have to submit certain admissions requirements, you sit down to start your application … and your mind completely blanks! I know I have to upload my resumé, but what were my specific responsibilities at that one job back in ’01? Why haven’t I updated my resumé in so long? Personal statement?!? What do I write? Where do I start? I’ll just come back to this application later! Stop. Breathe. It’ll be okay.

Believe it or not, there are many prospective students who experience similar struggles. I not only know because I speak with them every day, but I also know because I was in their shoes not too long ago. In fact, it’s one of the things I enjoy most about my position at Northeastern University–Charlotte. Answering a prospective student’s questions as he or she navigates the admissions process is one thing, but the second I say, “I’m enrolled in one of Northeastern’s programs, too,” the conversation gets even more serious. How did you start? What did you write about in your personal statement? How do you balance it all? So what’s a hybrid course really like? I love providing prospective students with a glimpse into my world as a current Northeastern student. What’s more, I find it rewarding to reassure prospective students that it can be done! It took me about a year from the time I attended my first information session at Northeastern to the time I started my application, and the fact that I waited so long has absolutely been my only regret.

But for those who might still be worried about the process, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind:

Know what you want: A graduate degree of any kind is a serious commitment. At Northeastern, you’ll be taught by faculty experts who are leaders in their respective industries. They genuinely care about your progression as a student and expect that same passion from you. That said, make sure your commitment to earning your graduate degree is a goal you are willing to invest in.

Be prepared: So you know what you want and you’re ready to take the next step and start an admissions application. Before your fingers graze a keyboard, make sure you have a plan. Know the admissions requirements you’re expected to submit. If you’re the type of person who needs to write your personal statement first and then go back and make edits, do that. If you’re fine with mentally outlining your ideas, go for it. Make sure your resumé and other documents are error-free and ready to go before submitting anything. Have a plan that works for you and then go about executing it!

You are not alone: Like I said earlier, there are plenty of people out there who are going through the same experiences as you. There are also resources in place at Northeastern that can help. Whether you attend an admissions event on our campus for help with your application, or you call someone on staff to answer a quick question, we’re here to help you succeed. Never be afraid to ask us questions!

So as you further navigate the seemingly treacherous waters of the admission process, remember that there’s space for exploration on Northeastern’s admissions ship. I hope you consider hopping on board!

About the Author:

Tammy McNish serves as the Assistant Director of Admissions. She is the primary contact for associations, organizations and community events related to the recruitment and enrollment in the region’s social sector—including education, nonprofit, government, sports and tourism organizations. McNish received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Hood College in Maryland, where she graduated with departmental honors. In 2003, she was selected for the Los Angeles Times Jim Murray Sports Journalism Workshop. She is currently enrolled in the Sports Leadership program.

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