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									Graduate School Application: A Guide
      for the Serious Applicant


          Peter Bondarenko

              June 1999

1) Foreword

2) Application Calendar

3) Application Checklist

4) Summer Studies

5) Asking for Application Materials

6) Deciding About Schools

7) Taking the Required Tests

   a) Registering for the Tests
   b) Hints for TOEFL
   c) Hints for the GRE General Test
   d) Hints for the GRE Economics Subject Test
   e) Reporting the Test Scores
8) Asking for Letters of Recommendation

9) Preparing the Application Packages

   a) Payment
   b) Work Experience
   c) Visa-Type
   d) Transcripts
   e) Statement of Financial Resources
   f) Enclose Separately
10) The Statement of Purpose

11) Mailing the Applications

12) Things to do after mailing

1. Foreword

Let me first congratulate you for having decided to take the difficult path of graduate

The application process constitutes the final step you have to take in order to go to
graduate school. It can be very smooth and enjoyable if you plan things ahead of time
and work systematically, otherwise it can be really burdensome.

I decided to write this guide to help you complete your application process as
painlessly and as correctly as possible. I tried to emphasise all the points which
created trouble during my own application process.

Keep in mind that you may fulfil all the requirements demanded by the best graduate
schools in the US, but to be admitted you have to present yourself in the best way
possible. The motive behind this work is my intention to help you accomplish this.

I hope this guide will prove to be useful for you. The biggest thanks that you can give
me is by getting acceptances from the best possible graduate schools and by becoming
great scientist of tomorrow who will be devoted to serving humanity without waiting
for any returns.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Peter Bondarenko
                               2. Application Calendar
 June-July:

Time to begin work as a research assistant with a member of the economics faculty at the
university (see Summer Studies).

 August:

Start asking for application materials from the universities in the US by the end of this month
(see Asking for Application Materials).

Time to decide to which schools you are going to apply (see Deciding About Schools).

 September:

Time to start studying for the GRE General and TOEFL tests (see Taking the Required Tests).

 Late September

Time to take the GRE General and TOEFL tests (see Taking the Required Tests).

 October

Time to start studying for the GRE Economics Subject Test (see Taking the Required Tests).

 November:

Time to ask for letters of recommendation from your professors (see Asking for Letters of

 December:

Time to take the GRE Economics Subject Test (see Taking the Required Tests).

Fill out the application forms early in this month (see Preparing the Application Packages).

Send the completed application packages to the schools well before the deadlines (see
Mailing the Application Packages).

 January-February

Time to trace the application packages and to complete any missing documents (see What To
Do After Mailing).

 Mid March-Early April:

Time to wait for response letters (see What To Do After Mailing).

Negotiation stage (see What To Do After Mailing).
                            3. Application Checklist

A complete application package must contain the items listed below. You will be busy
preparing these items during the application process. Make sure to refer back to this
list regularly.

1. Application forms (carefully filled & checked).
2. Application fee (cheque or credit card payment order).
3. Statement of Purpose (spelling and grammar checked, name & surname written).
4. Signed and sealed Transcripts (as many as required by each school).
5. Letters of Recommendation (3 per school but can be more).
6. A separate envelope containing the documents mentioned in "Enclosed
    Separately" under section 9 below. Make sure this envelope bears your name,
    surname, the degree to which you apply, the term for which you apply and
    contains a list of the materials inside the envelope (i.e. CV, Work Experience,
    Course & Textbook List, etc.)
7. Statement of Financial Resources (if required).
4. Summer Studies
In all the application forms, you will encounter a section where you are asked to
report your work experience. Although the type of work experience you metion need
not be academic, presenting some teaching and/or research experience will surely be a
plus for your applications.

With this in mind, I strongly suggest you to work as a research assistant in the
summer of the application period. You will be able to present some research
experience (as part of your work experience) as a result of your summer employment.

It will be optimal if you work with someone from whom you will ask for a letter of
recommendation. By this way, your recommender can mention the work you did
during summer. This will add to the strength of the recommendation. Working with a
professor who doesn't know you well is an alternative strategy. This way, you may
secure a good letter of recommendation from him.

The safest way to secure a research assistantship in summer is to declare your wish
directly to the professor you have in mind. This will speed up things tremendously.
Tell him that you plan to apply to grad school and that you would like to assist him in
his work during summer. If somebody turns you down, do not be discouraged and try
somebody else.

5. Asking for Application Materials
The graduate schools in the US print the application forms and catalogs for applicants
willing to enroll in the Fall term next year in mid-August. Keep in mind that you do
not have to apply to each school from where you have requested application forms. So
do not be afraid to contact 20-25 schools at this stage.

The best way to contact schools and to request application material is via e-mail. Most
schools provide a special e-mail address for application material requests. You can
find these addresses from the web sites of each school. The easiest way is to use
UsNews's Graduate School Rankings page which supplies links to the economics
department of each school.

The address is:

However, some links may be broken and some may be unlisted. If that is the case, you
will have to search through a search engine like Yahoo or AltaVista. Type the full
name of the school in quotations as follows:

"Cornell University" or "University of Pennsylvania"

A new search screen will appear containing many links to various sections of your
search query. Click on the link bearing the full name of the university. This is usually
listed at the very top. If you don't see the full name as a link, click on "The College of
Arts and Sciences" link. In every school site you enter, first find the "economics" site,
then the "graduate" section, and then the " application" or a related section. That's
where the schools usually provide you the e-mails. You will find a copy of the letter
that I wrote to ask for application materials on section 1 in the appendix.

You may find this letter to be too formal or too serious but this is the way it should be.
You should in no way make the schools think that you are a non-serious applicant.
You should also never ever give any signs of poor English during the whole
application process.

Finally, I strongly suggest you to use Koc University's address for all your
correspondences, especially if the mail delivery system doesn't function smoothly in
the area you live.

6. Deciding About Schools
The earlier you decide to which schools to apply, the faster and easier (and less
costly) will be the whole application process. I suggest you to make up your mind
during August. Try to diversify a fair amount. Be sure to apply to a few top-notch
schools. Make sure you have one or two sure schools. Applying to 10-12 schools is
most common. I wouldn't recommend you to apply to less than 7 schools because this
would reduce your chances. I also don't suggest applying to more than 17 because you
will have a real burden filling out forms, reporting scores, and paying application fees.

Make sure to collect as much information as possible about every single school you
are considering. You can access the rankings from the following web site of USNews
Magazine: You will find the 1998 rankings on
section 2 in the appendix. The rankings will give you a general idea about the
reputation of each school. Keep in mind that the higher the reputation of a school, the
harder it is to get in.

You should also consult your professors and ask about these schools. Some graduate
schools have very large departments offering a wide range of fields within economics.
Others, on the other hand, are subject specific schools. For example, The University
of California, SanDiego has the best econometricians as faculty and the main
concentration is in time series econometrics. If you are not definitely decided about
your area of concentration within economics, try picking schools that have broad
departments strong in many subfields. Your professors are the best source of
information of this kind.

Also make sure to visit the web sites of the universities that interest you. Read the
details of the programs, browse the faculty lists, etc. Try to learn about the climate
and the surroundings of each school. You probably wouldn't like to go to Wisconsin
or Michigan if you can't stand cold weather. Perhaps you wouldn't like to go to Yale
University either because it is in New Heaven where a majority of the population is
African-American or because the crime rate is really high. Perhaps you would think
twice about applying to NYU if you consider the extreme living expenses you have to
incur in New York City. These may look like minor details but they may be worth to
7. Taking the Required Tests
The required tests for applying to a Ph.D. program in economics are the TOEFL and
the GRE General Test. Both are taken on the computer and I will hereafter refer to
them as CBTs (computer based tests).

I suggest you to take the GRE General test during late September for two reasons.
One, it is not a very early date and you will have the chance to study for the test. Two,
it is not a very late date and if something goes wrong you will have the chance to
retake the test. You are allowed to retake the GRE General as soon as a calendar
month passes. So, taking the test in late September will allow you to take it again in
early October, without loss of valuable time.

Given the fact that you won't have to study much for the TOEFL, you may prefer to
take it anytime in July, August, or September.

Some schools also require the GRE Economics Subject Test. The subject test is a
paper based test and will have a fixed date which will probably be sometime during
the second week of December.

a) Registering for the Tests

You can register for the tests either by fax or by phone. An advantage of the phone
service is that you can specify the exact date on which you want to take the CBTs
(this is of course not valid for the subject test which has a fixed date). There is a
registration deadline for the subject test but, as long as room is available, there are no
registration deadlines for the CBTs.

Lately, Bilmerk has been appointed by ETS (Educational Testing Service) as the only
official CBT center in Istanbul. Hence, you will be taking your CBTs at Bilmerk.

The subject test will probably be given in Robert College, Arnavutkoy.

See section 3 of the appendix for tips about phone registration and for the registration
fax and phone numbers. You will also find the relevant addresses on the same section.
What follows is some general tips and tricks for the tests.

b) Hints for TOEFL

The TOEFL score is really important. You may not meet the fellowship (full-
scholarship with no compulsory job appointment) qualifications of some schools but
you may still be able to get full aid in terms of a teaching assistantship (full-
scholarship with a compulsory TA appointment), taking into account the fact that first
year research assistantship (full-scholarship with a compulsory RA appointment)
awards are very rarely seen. To be able to receive such an award, you should secure a
score of at least 600 (250 on the new CBT scale) on the TOEFL.

The TOEFL is the test that will require the least amount of preparation. The test is a
CBT (computer based test). There are four sections in the test:

1. Listening
2. Structure (1/2 of Structure/Writing Score)
3. Reading
4. Essay (1/2 of Structure/Writing Score)

As noted above, 2 and 4 are scored together (50-50) and the score is reported as
Structure/Writing Score. You will receive 3 section scores and a total score at the end.

You will be seated in front of a computer with a headphone. Make sure you are
comfortable with using a mouse. Make sure to adjust the volume to a reasonable level.
You can do this during the instructions by using the mouse or anytime during the
listening section by playing with the volume switch on the cable of the headphones.

If you suspect any problems about the test equipment, inform the supervisor

Be aware of the fact that you will not be allowed to browse through the questions
during a CBT. Once you answer a question and press confirm, you won't be able to
return to it again.
The listening section in the new computer based TOEFL, unlike the paper version of
the test, does not let you see the answer choices while listening to the conversations.
You first listen to the conversation by just seeing a relevant stable picture on the
screen and after the talk finishes you get the question(s) and the answer choices. The
type of talk you hear may consist of a small dialog, a medium length dialog or a
lecture type of talk. They all come in random order. You don't take the small dialogs
first and the long lecture talks last. There are also new types of matching questions
whereby you match different objects or click on relevant areas of a picture.

The structure section is very similar to the old paper based TOEFL. It contains
grammar questions. Try not to miss any.

The reading section is also quite similar to the one in the old version of the test. You
can move between different questions in a given passage but not between different

The essay section is required and directly effects the structure/writing score. The
Essay section is present whenever you take the test, there is no escape. Make sure you
write an essay on what is being asked and you won't have much problems.

The computer will report you a score at the end of the test. This score will not be an
exact one but will consist of a range. You will learn you exact score after your reading
section has been graded. This takes about 10-12 days. Afterwards, you can learn your
scores by calling ETS (Educational Testing Service) immediately if you are impatient
to wait for the official score report. You will be talking to a computer on the phone
and punching some numbers. However, keep in mind that this service has a charge.
See section 3 of the appendix for the phone number.

The new computerized TOEFL is scored using a different scale (with the reason being
kept as an ETS secret). Refer to the concordance table on section 4 in the appendix for
an immediate conversion of your score to the old 600 scale. You can also find this
table on the official web site of TOEFL at The site contains
many other useful links and is worth to give a look.
c) Hints for the GRE General Test

The GRE General Test is also a CBT. Normally, the test will consist of three sections:
Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical. You will receive a score for each section on a
scale between 200-800.

During the test, you are very likely to solve an additional random section (either
quantitative, verbal, or analytical) which will not count towards your score. This is
called an experimental section and you will not know which section is experimental.
This means that you should be mentally prepared to face four sections in the test.
Take this into account while doing practice tests. For example, after solving a full
GRE, do not stop and try solving an additional analytical section. I know that it is
painful but you at least know a priori that such a thing can happen. So be prepared!

The questions in the GRE, unlike the ones in the TOEFL, are graded. This means that
each section of the test begins with a question of moderate difficulty and depending
on your answers, the difficulty levels of the questions are adjusted. The first few
questions serve as the first signallers and they effect your score the most. If you keep
on answering correctly, more difficult questions start to appear. The score you get
from more difficult questions increases with the level of difficulty but in a decaying

As a result, two very important features of the GRE become apperant. One, no two
examiners who take the GRE at the same time receive the same set of questions. Two,
and most important, the computer GRE is scored in such a way that answering the
first 4 or 5 questions (the first signallers) correctly boosts your score to extremely
high levels. Therefore, you should put all the effort and try not to miss the first 4 or 5
questions in any section.

The most important sections that will be considered by the admissions people are the
Quantitative and the Analytical sections of the GRE, with more weight being given to
the Quantitative section. You should have no problem to get a full score in the
quantitative section. The analytical section is more tricky but a score above 700 is
quite good.

The amount of preparation required for the GRE General Test takes about 15-20 days.
During this time, you should solve the tests in the ETS Official Guide, which contains
past years paper based GREs. Do not be discouraged by the low scores (especially in
the analytical sections) you get on the first few tests.

Before you sit the actual test, you should familiarize yourself with computer based
testing which is quite different than paper & pencil testing. The best way to do this is
to use PowerPREP software, which is a computer program bringing the GRE General
on your desktop. The software contains a full-length test and several practice sections.
Make sure you try PowerPREP before you take the actual GRE.

Finally, I advise you to read the CBT-Test Taking strategies published on the official
web site of the GRE. This will give you a better idea about the nature of a CBT. You
will find it under section 5 in the appendix. The GRE site also contains demos, sample
questions, electronic bulletins and many other fancy stuff that can be really useful. So
make sure you visit it at

d) Hints for the GRE Economics Subject Test

The GRE Economics Subject test is a paper based test aimed at measuring your
general understanding of basic economics. It is scored on a scale between 200-990. It
is a multiple choice test consisting of 130 questions and lasting about 3 hours. Each
wrong answer takes away 1/4 of a correct answer.

The material you are tested covers basic micro (Pindyck & Rubinfeld level), basic
macro (G. Mankiw level), and econometrics (Econ 312 level). International trade &
finance questions (P.R. Krugman & M. Obstfeld: International Economics-Theory &
Policy) also appear.

Very few schools require you to take the Economics subject test. Most top schools
though highly recommend that you do. It is your decision to take the test or not. If you
were a teaching assistant and/or you feel that you recall the above material well then a
short preparation can bring you very high percentile scores.

In any case, it is to your advantage to report your scores after you learn them. As a
rule of thumb, I would say, a score exceeding 60% of the examiners or above is worth
reporting and a lower score is not.

You will find a broader ETS description of the test on section 6 in the appendix.
Reviewing the course material from the books I mentioned above is the best way to
prepare for the test. There are also test books in the library that you can use. Try out a
few full-length tests before you sit the actual one.

Some special tips: Past experience suggests that knowledge of the concepts of
Econ312 really helps (heteroscedasticity, multicollinearity, autocorrelation, etc.).
There were many questions testing these concepts either directly or indirectly. Also,
there were about 6 or 7 questions testing the IS-LM concept. The Mundell & Fleming
model and the exchange rate determination models are also worth to consider. Make
sure you know the basic definitions like marginal cost, marginal utility, average cost,
MRS, MRTS, etc. There were a lot of questions that one could make good educated
guesses. There were also some very US specific questions which were impossible to
do (for me at least).

e) Reporting the Test Scores

You will need to ask ETS to have your scores send to all the graduate schools to
which you are applying. No other form of score reporting is accepted by the US

The test scores may reach the schools after the deadlines. This will not create any
problems on your side. Nevertheless, it is best to try to report them by the deadlines,
with the subject test score being a natural exception.

You have the right to report your scores to four institutions with no additional charge.
In the CBTs, you will enter the names of these institutions after you finish the testing
session on the computer. Therefore, it is important for you to have four schools in
mind to which you will definitely be applying before you sit the tests. This is a good
way of minimizing costs.

For the remaining schools, you will need to fill the Additional Score Report Reqest
Form(s) and fax it to ETS. There is an additional charge per each institution. The most
convenient way of payment is via credit card.

The other way of asking ETS to report your scores is by phone. I advise you to use
this service if and only if you are in a position where speed matters and cost is of
secondary importance because the service has an extra charge per institution in
addition to the regular score reporting fee. The service is very easy to use since you
will just be dialing numbers and following the computer's instructions.

8. Asking for Letters of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation is a descriptive letter written by your professors. Almost
all schools require three letters of recommendation and supply three letter of
reccommendation sheets each of which you will hand in to your recommenders.
However, sending a fourth one does not hurt you in any way. You can make a copy of
the letter of recommendation sheet of each school to give it to a fourth person.

Your letters of recommendation constitute the most important part of your
application. US schools, who do not know much about Koc University and the
grading system in Turkey naturally confine themselves to trust the word of someone
who they already know. Good letters of recommendation are the keys to open the
gates of the top 10 graduate schools. It is important for you to pick those professors
who have a strong international reputation as your recommenders (you know who
they are). Also, picking someone who has graduated from a school to which you are
applying is a wise thing to do. You may have that person write a letter to you just for
that specific school.

Ask for the letters of recommendation as early as possible (possibly in early
November). It will be really helpful if you prepare a recommendation request sheet
like the one I have done for each of your recommenders (see the recommendation
request sheet on section 7 in the appendix). By this way, you inform the professors
about the deadlines as well as some of your worth mentioning qualifications.

A typical letter of recommendation sheet, as supplied with the application package of
each school, contains two main sections. You will be filling out one of these sections.
In most sheets you will find a "waiver of rights" section. When you sign this section,
you are deferring your right to see the letter of recommendation after you have been
admitted to a certain university. I advise you to waive your right of seeing the letters
as a sign of reliance and trust to your professors. In case some schools do not provide
such a waiver option, you can attach a copy of the "waiver of rights" template that
you will find on section 8 in the appendix to the recommendation sheets before
handing them to your professors.

Although most schools suggest you to send a complete application package to them
with the letters of recommendation and everything, your professors may also send the
recommendation letters separately themselves. This is usually what happens when
your professors are too busy to write the letters on time (it happens). So, do not worry
much when you have completed everything except the letters of recommendation
close to the deadlines.

9. Preparing the Application Packages
a) Payment

Almost every school will ask you to submit a non-refundable application fee along
with your application. The application fees range from 40 dollars up to 80 dollars,
with the average being $55. There are three ways to pay those fees. The least costly
way is to use a credit card. However, a majority of the schools do not accept credit
card payment.

The other way is by issuing a cheque drawn on a US Bank. You can do this via
various banks in Turkey: Is Bankasi and Yapi Kredi are the ones I advise. An
additional burden will arise from the cheque commissions that these banks will charge
per each cheque. Yapi Kredi charges a fixed rate in each branch. The charges of Is
Bankasi vary from branch to branch. Make sure you contact different branches and do
not hesitate to bargain on commission charges. After all, you will be sending about 10
to 12 cheques and if they charge you 5,000,000 TL. per cheque(this was the declared
amount the year I applied), that creates an extra burden of about 50-60 million TL. on
your application budget (I managed to bargain it down to 2,000,000 TL. per cheque).

Almost all schools, though they do not state it explicitly, require the cheques to be
issued under your name. So, be sure to ask the bank officials to typewrite the
statement: "By Order Of : Name Surname" on each check.

A third way is to use cheques written by one of your friends studying in the US. This
may be difficult to arrange but it saves you from all the commission charges.

b) Work Experience

Almost all application forms provide very little space for you to write down your
work experiences. It will be to your advantage to specify the nature of your work
experiences in as detailed a fashion as possible, especially if you have been a TA
and/or an RA. Therefore, I advise you to write "Enclosed Separately" to the spaces
provided for work experience on the forms and to prepare separate work experience
forms which will include detailed descriptions. Refer to the part titled "Enclose
Separately" below under section 9 for advise on how to prepare these forms.

c) Visa-Type

The Visa you are going to get in order to enter the US will be an F-1 student visa.

d) Transcripts

You will get your transcripts from the registrar's office. You will be charged a certain
amount per transcript. Some schools require two copies of transcripts, so make sure
you have enough transcripts handy.

One thing that is very important is to have your transcripts sealed. Sealing means that
the transcripts should be put in closed envelopes with the back of the envelopes
bearing the signature of an official in the registrar's office. US schools pay very much
attention to such matters of confidentiality, so be prepared!
e) Statement of Financial Resources

Some schools require you to enclose a statement of financial resources to verify that
you have enough funds to meet your arrival expenses. You will see two samples of
this statement on section 9 in the appendix. Showing the existence of a few thousand
dollars will suffice for this purpose.

f) Enclose Separately

I strongly recommend you to enclose as many of the following documents as possible
in every application package you send, whether required or not. Remember that the
admission committies will appreciate any beneficial information that you can provide.

CV: You will find a sample on section 10 in the appendix.

Teaching Experience Form: If you worked as a TA during your undergraduate
studies, you should present your work with all its details. See section 11 in the
appendix for a sample.

TA Survey Results & Questionnaire: The Office of the Registrar processes the TA
evaluation surveys and issues the results. If you have a good outcome, make sure to
send a copy to each school. You will see a sample on section 12 in the appendix. Also
make sure to include a copy of the original questionnaire in each package. Send your
results to each school together with a descriptive letter explaining the survey and how
it has been scored. Such a letter can be written by one of your professors.

Research Experience Form: This is where you will present you summer studies. Do
not hesitate to be boastful about the research you did. That's what everybody does.
See section 13 in the appendix for a sample.

Course and Textbook List: This information is vitally important. People in the
admissions committees will be very much impressed if they see that the books used in
various courses at Koc University are in fact the standard ones used in most US
undergraduate programs. The copy on section 14 in the appendix will help you
prepare such a sheet.
Extracurricular Activities Form: Prepare such a form only if you believe that the
activities you did are really relevant for the purposes of admission. See the sample on
section 15 in the appendix.

10. The Statement of Purpose
This is the only part of the application where you are free to tell something about
yourself. I advise you to make up a good story and tell the admissions committees
something that they do not already know. For example, mentioning your degree in the
university entrance examinations will not be a good idea because having your
recommendation request sheet at hand, your recommenders will surely mention that

What admissions people want to see in a statement of purpose is most probably
something other than degrees and statistics. Most important of all, you should try to
make them feel that you are ready and dedicated to undertake full-motivated graduate
study in economics.

There is no fixed recipe for writing a perfect statement of purpose. The samples on
section 16 in the appendix may help you get started. Be sure to devote enough time to
writing your statement of purpose. A good thing to do would be to have it read by a
native speaker of English. Remember that this is of vital importance: in no part of
your application should you give any signs of poor English.

I have included quite a number of SOPs in the appendix. Some of them belong to
people applying to areas other than economics but I nevertheless think that they might
be useful.

11. Mailing the Applications
At the mailing stage, the most crucial thing to consider is the deadlines. You should in
no way put your chances at risk by missing the deadlines. Each school will have a
separate deadline and the first thing you should do is to make a list of them. You will
also use this list to submit the recommendation request sheet to your recommenders.
Never put your application packages at risk by sending them via PTT. Even registered
(taahhutlu) mails may get lost. Ruling that out, you are left with three choices to send
your forms.

One, you may use worldwide delivery services like UPS, TNT, DHL, or FedEx to
send each application package separately. This is an assured way of doing the task but
it is also an expensive one. If more than one of you are applying to the same school,
you may cut down costs by sending all the forms in one delivery package. One
important warning: worldwide delivery services say that they do not deliver to P.O.
Box addresses (i.e. addresses specifying a P.O. Box). Some schools (like NYU,
Princeton, Harvard) provide you a special address for express delivery. If that is the
case, send your packages to these express delivery addresses. Nevertheless, if you
cannot find such an address, experience shows that all items that have been send to
P.O. Box addresses have been promptly delivered.

The second way is to use your professors. You can give, at least some of the packages
(you wouldn't like your professors to pay excess baggage charges), to one of your
professors going to the US. Local mail charges are very much lower than you would
expect and your applications are guaranteed to reach their destinations in two working

The third way is to send all your application packages via a worldwide delivery
service to a friend who is already in the US. This way, you will only have to pay once
because delivery services provide you huge bags that you can stuff all the envelopes
in. Your friend can mail your applications directly via local mail. If he is a Ph.D.
student though, on time delivery may not be guaranteed..!!

12. Things to do after mailing
If you think that sending the letters terminates the application process, well, you are
terribly wrong. The first thing you should do afterwards is to check whether your
packages have reached their destinations. This is best done via e-mail. You will find a
sample message that you can use for this purpose on section 17 in the appendix. Since
most schools receive a majority of the applications close to the deadlines, during that
hassle, you may not get a reply to your e-mail message. If that is the case, you will
have to call the schools and ask whether they have received your materials or not and
whether there are any missing documents.

After accomplishing this task, there will be a brief period of waiting. Use this period
to complete any missing documents that have not reached the schools.

During the first weeks of March, you will start hearing good news. Most schools send
out their first round of offers between mid-March and early April. Some schools may
put you on a waiting list for a fellowship or a TAship. Do not be stressed out, be
patient. The US universities that are members of the Council of Graduate Schools (I
haven't heard any that aren't) have jointly accepted April 15th as the deadline for you
to reply to their offer. You, therefore, have the right to hold until April 15th.
However, if you have received a couple of offers and you can comfortably eliminate
some lower ranked ones then it will be to the benefit of another student for you to
reply early. An early response usually gives the universities more chance to shift the
offer to someone else. The way to reject an offer is to send an e-mail. You can use the
sample on section 18 in the appendix for this purpose.

Here is an advice that I took from Professor Asher Wolinsky while I was impatiently
waiting on the waiting list of Northwestern University: "I understand that the state of
uncertainty is not pleasant. My best advice is to be patient and keep your options open
till April 15 if necessary. You should not release your current best offer without
getting a commitment for a better one, but you also should not hasten to accept an
offer and foreclose valuable options." I think it is an advise that is worth to follow.

You will forget all the troubles you have experience once you start getting
acceptances. I hope the results turn out to be as you expect. Afterwards, you will look
back just like I do now and remember those days when you checked your e-mail 5
times a day, when you waited for the "posta" to arrive and all that sweet rush and

I again wish you the best of luck.
                                 13. APPENDIX

                               -Contents (by Section)-

1. Sample Letter to Request Application Material
2. 1998 USNews Magazine Rankings of Graduate Schools, Economics
3. GRE & TOEFL Registration
4. TOEFL Concordance Table
5. CBT Strategies Published by ETS
6. Economics Subject Test Information Published by ETS
7. Letter of Recommendation Request Sheet
8. Waiver of Rights Template
9. Statement of Financial Resources, 2 samples
10. CV Sample
11. Teaching Experience Form
12. TA Evaluation Results Form
13. Research Experience Form
14. Course & Textbook List
15. Extracurricular Activities Form
16. Statement of Purpose, 6 samples
17. Sample Letter for Delivery Confirmation
18. Sample Letter to Reject an Offer

                        -Extras (not referred to in the text)-

1. Letter of Recommendation Template (to be used in cases not supplied by the
2. Additional Recommender Form (to be included in each package for notification)
3. TOEFL International Test Scheduling Form
4. GRE International Test Scheduling Form
5. Sample Letter of Recommendation Sheet, Cornell University
6. Class of '99 Graduate School Application Results
7. Map of USA

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