Applying Tips for the Best Chemical Engineering Schools in USA

An entry into best chemical engineering grad school is increasingly competitive and involves a pile of homework and hard work. Following are the applying directions:

College Visits

Firstly, enlist all the schools providing chemical engineering major and go through their website- know about the courses they are offering for chemical engineering, whether ABET accredited or not, their admission and financial requirements. Then shortlist some best grad schools according to your preference list. Visit those shortlisted grad schools preferably when school is in session. Take a tour of the grad school, talk to students present and faculty and creates notes for reference later when applying. Stop by the admissions office and introduce yourself. Let them know what interests you about the school so they can direct you to the best place for further investigation. Collect contact information and send a brief, friendly email thanking them for taking the time to speak to you.

If there is a sign–up sheet, add your name! Colleges do keep track of which applicants have demonstrated genuine interest in the school. A visit is a great way to demonstrate your interest.  If you visit many schools, your memories of them are bound to overlap. Keep track of the details you like and the stuff that you don't like.

The official tour will likely steer you clear of the school's atmosphere. The official campus tour is worth your while. Also, if you recognize that you will need financial assistance in order to attend grad school; “Visit Days” is the time to start researching your options. While visiting different grad schools you can investigate financial aid options, sources of independent scholarships and make arrangements to speak with financial aid officers at grad schools to which you will apply. The more you know about actual costs at the front end of the process, the easier it will be to identify and target schools that are likely to admit you and give you the assistance you will need.

Application Documentation

Most grad schools have online applications but know that some schools have specific requirements for the way applications are submitted.

Your application should include:

i. Application form(s)

ii. Statement of Purpose: Statement of Purpose gives you an opportunity to distinguish yourself beyond grades and test scores. The Statement of Purpose should be between one and two pages in length. You may choose to write about previous experiences, your personal and professional goals: Why this school? What might follow? What inspires you? What drives you? Etc.

iii. Standardized Test scores: Take the Standardized Test like GRE (Graduate Record Examination), SAT (Scholastic Aptitude test) and SAT Subject Test preferably in Chemistry or science, ACT (American College Testing), and applicants who are not Americans are also required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign language) or IELTS.  The scores of these standardized tests take an applicant’s application one step ahead.

iv. Educational History: Education history i.e. official records will provide the information on your scholastic record for your undergraduate or graduate course work from previous colleges attended.

v. Letter of Reference: A reference letter is a detailed discussion, from a faculty member, of the personal qualities, skills, accomplishments, and experiences that make you unique and perfect for the programs to which you've applied. A letter of reference provides insights that cannot be gleaned by simply reviewing an applicant's score.

vi. Extracurricular Involvement: Admission department at several Universities are interested in a student's extracurricular activities -in other words, how you spend your time outside of classes. Colleges care about the character of the people they admit; therefore, what you do after school, during weekends and over summers tells them a lot about the kind of person you are.  Getting involved in something is a great way of networking. Many people are able to discover their interests and values through getting involved in various activities different from a regular routine. Extracurricular activities are the major way students can demonstrate how unique you are, possibly more interesting.

vii. Internships/ Practicum and Co-ops: Internships and Cooperative Education provide students with a great opportunity to acquire real-world experience while still in school. In addition to giving students direct experience in the field they are considering, interaction with others in the field can help provide perspective on career path options. Listing them adds weight to the application and also their future in the same field.

viii. Essays/ Personal Statement: Essays are considered as a way to judge the applicants potential and skills. Admission Essays are also called as Personal Statements. A two-page personal statement (approximately 500 words) outlining your background, research interests, goals, and reasons for applying to the course and university is essential.

- Write what you think and speak. The purpose of the essay is to show the real you, what you think and what motivates you.
- Remember that what bores you pretty much bores others. So be original and creative.
- Nothing excites a reader more than writing that’s invigorating. When choosing your topics, pick what genuinely excites you. Your enthusiasm will show through.
- Use active verbs, simple and clear words and sentences.

The application deadlines vary by graduate schools. Few grad schools follow the policy of a single-choice early action program, wherein an applicant can only apply early action to one school.

Interview preparation and tips

Once you have cleared the preliminary hurdles, are shortlisted, have evaded the numerous piles of the 'rejected' applications and have received an interview call, you feel ecstatic and there starts the rigorous interview preparation. It is the first meeting with of the applicant with the university and vice-versa. The university gets a feel of the personality behind the paperwork they have read and assessed so far. It is golden opportunity to put your best foot forward.

The interview is imperative for the admission in Chemical Engineering.
  • The interviewer expects the applicants to ask some questions about the school or the program. So, the applicant must prepare specific questions about the same.

  • Practice before the actual interview happens. Sit down with one of your parents or a teacher and have him or her ask you questions. Answer them honestly and seriously. Then ask your "interviewer" how you came across.
  • Be confident, clear and yourself. Do not pretend to be someone you’re not.
The applicant bears the chance in the interview to walk into the limelight and steal the show. The applicant simply needs the right approach and right attitude.
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