How to Apply for the Best Nuclear Engineering Schools

Nuclear engineering programs prepare people to design and build nuclear plants that produce energy.
An entry into best nuclear engineering grad school is increasingly competitive and involves a great deal of homework and hard work.  Applying to college can be an extremely stressful process, but planning ahead of time and doing your research makes things much easier.

Following are the applying directions:
  • Research

    • Use college and search sites to your advantage: Look at colleges that have features that interest you, such as ideal major, class size, location, and the like. Check out their websites, since many of them have application information. Many companies nowadays will compile lists of colleges that you can browse through. They break down how hard it is to get into, what kind of SAT/ACT score you need, what campus life and academics are like, and what kind of job prospects alumni have upon graduation.

    • When choosing colleges to apply to, do your research: Choose a variety of schools to apply to and analyze your chances at getting in by looking at mean test scores and GPA's. Choose a couple schools that are a stretch and a good amount of target schools.

    • Narrow down your list of schools: By the time you are a junior in high school, you should be narrowing down the list of schools you want to apply to. It would be a good idea to visit some schools during your junior year. Decide what college(s) you want to apply to, based on the information they sent you, the information you received from other people, and your own reconnaissance. By October of your senior year you should know who you are applying to and what they want in terms of references, test scores, etc. Do not leave this decision until several days before the due date for forms and paperwork. A lot of information may need to be obtained, including references for some colleges.
It is also important to be certain about your choice and not just apply "for the heck of it" or because everyone else is going to that college. It needs to suit you and what you want.
    • Visit some colleges: Each school is different - some are huge with 50,000 or more students, and some have only a few hundred students.

    • Do you want a city campus or a country campus? North or South? Go there and look.

    • If you have a friend, or another kid from your high school who goes there, get them to show you around.

    • Try to talk to students in various grade levels and ask them for their perspective of the school. Listen to what they have to say, but form your own opinion on what you like and dislike.

    • Sit in on a class. Try to imagine what it would be like to be a student there. Can you imagine yourself being happy and living fruitfully there?

    • Oftentimes, a college will give a visiting student a fee waiver. These can save you $50 or more, plus visiting beforehand can help you decide whether or not you even want to bother applying.

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) and application fee: Every college has an application form and a non-refundable fee for the admissions.

ii. Statement of Purpose: The Statement of Purpose should be between one and two pages in length, addressing your career goals, research interests, and how you have prepared to achieve your educational objectives.

iii. Standardized Test scores: Take the Standardized Test like GRE (Graduate Record Examination), SAT (Scholastic Aptitude test) Subject Test, 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. Official records: 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. Outside Experiences: Extra-curricular activities on top of your academic work can help to improve your time management skills. 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. This brings in some practical experience and putting it in the admission application differentiates you from others as you have experience outside of your class studies.

vii. Internships 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: 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.
  • Decide on “When to apply”

There are 3 modes of application in the USA which define when you apply, they are:
    • Early Decision/Early Action - Deadline is usually around November 1st.

    • Regular Decision - Most students apply for this; the deadline is around the 1st of January and you can expect to hear back by around the 1st April

    • Rolling Admissions- Only some universities offer this where you can apply any time before the term starts and you will hear back a certain number of days after your application

Interview Preparation

Interviews matter a great deal when you want to get yourself in the grad school of your choice. If possible, try to arrange an on-campus interview rather than an alumni interview off campus. On-campus interviews are conducted directly by an admissions officer, and thus an on-campus interview holds more weight than an off-campus interview, which can be to your benefit if your personality and dedication is more than what the numbers say about you.

Interview tips are
    • Be relaxed, confident, and focused.

    • Research the school before going to the interview. Think about why you are applying, why it would be a good school for you and what you would bring to the school.

    • Think of questions. Whether this is an alumni interview or an interview with an admissions officer, realize that this is a great way to find out more about the school! If you are interviewing with an alumnae, ask them about their experience at the school, what their favorite part was, about the dorms, the food, etc.

    • Be natural and polite. Show the interviewer exactly who you are and why you are interesting. Be friendly and polite, and show them your good side!

    • Look on the internet for some common college interview questions, and think of your answers. Some common questions: Why do you want to go to this university? What books do you like to read? What do you do in your free time?

    • Brush up on some current events. You don't need to know "everything" that’s going on in the world, but it's a good idea to read the newspaper daily for at least a couple days before the interview.
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