Can you give me rough timeline to follow to get a Fall17 admit from a top notch Universities with scholarships?
To get into the top universities with scholarships for the admission season Fall 2017, you have to be extremely vigilant and careful. The amount of time spent for GRE preparation online varies from one month to four months or more. To be on the safe side we would suggest a 3 month window. So you need to start preparing by April. Finish the preparations till June. Appear for GRE by mid June and TOEFL by the end of June. To stay ahead of the competition start shortlisting universities by July and continue till August. After shortlisting universities, spend the month of August and September preparing for scholarship applications. Work on your online application in the month of October followed by SOP drafting and scholarship essay writing in November. Get your LOR and transcripts ready by the month of October-November, simultaneously prepare the bank statement. Draft your application by mid November. Keep all of your documents ready for posting and conduct one final check by the month of December.
When should a student think of shortlisting universities? Before or after GRE? And how to go about it?
Most higher education aspirants are under the impression that one can only start shortlisting universities after you have taken your GRE. Well, it’s not necessary to start shortlisting universities only after you appear for GRE. Rather it is better if you shortlist and select universities before you take your GRE. Why? The reason is simple. Once you are sure about the university you want to pursue your MS/Ph.D.(or any higher education degree) from, you could look into the GRE score(also TOEFL or IELTS, whichever is preferred by the university of your choice) required and set your target score accordingly. You should set a range of university choices as i) safe to apply universities-Universities you think you can easily get into ii) Moderately safe-Universities that are not in your immediate reach but still very much achievable. iii) Ambitious-Universities that you might have to stretch for i.e. aim and score high in GRE/TOEFL or IELTS, build a better profile etc. Keep a healthy number of universities in the mix for a well balanced admission process.