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PG deadlines around Dec 15 & Strategies-How to approach your employers for reference letters for applying abroad?

Unlike MBA and Undergraduate admissions, PG or MS admission (Graduate admission) deadlines are dependent on each department or program within a college. Hence, it is very important for students to look closely at the program they are interested in applying to and keep a list of upcoming deadlines.

Many top universities in the U.S. such as Stanford, UC Berekely, UCLA, UT Austin, Univ. of Michigan, Georgia Tech has their MS deadlines coming up soon in December of January.

Other universities have the deadlines in Jan and Feb and a few even going into March/April of 2018.

NAME OF THE UNIVERSITIES Fall 2018 Application Deadlines

MS Massachusetts Institute of Technology December 1/December 15/Jan 1

Stanford University January 2, 2018

University of California December & January

Georgia Institute of Technology Deadlines vary with course. General deadline Dec 15-16. Check website for more information.

University of Illinois Dec 15/Jan 15/Feb 15 (Data Science)

University of  Michigan 15-Jan-18

Cornell University December 5, 2017

Purdue University December 15, 2017

Texas A&M University 1-Mar-18

University of Southern California 15-Dec-17

Columbia University December 15, 2017

Pennsylvania State University 1-Feb-18

University of Washington December 15 2017 Document deadline: Dec 19, 2017

California Institute of Technology  Deadlines vary with course from December 1 to 15.

Ohio State University May 1 2018

Rice University Department dependant

February 15, 2018 1-May-18 LSU 15-Jun

University of Wisonsin Jan 1 2018

Virginia Tech Jan 15 2018

Oklahoma State University Feb to April (Department)


How to get a Letter of Recommendation from your Employer?

When you are applying to Graduate School for Admission, you are telling the school and admission committee about your intent and interest to further your undergraduate education with further specialization i.e. you know what you are interested in pursuing, why and you want to develop more technical subject matter expertise in the area. Hence, the admission committee at the colleges will look at the following in your application to gauge this interest, aptitude and attitude:

1) Your Coursework and GPA from your Undergraduate college

2) Test Scores to get a better idea on your aptitude

3) Letter of Recommendations that support the above and your interest/attitude

4) Statement of Purpose

5) Other work in that field i.e. papers, courses, experience

Given the importance of Letter of Recommendation in your application, how do you get a powerful LOR from your employer or faculty?

1) Reach out to your manager or manager’s manager for Recommendation – Key is to have someone you knows you well and is glad to be your biggest supporter as you move to the next phase of your journey to join a graduate program. You can also have a LOR from one of your team member to complement a manager’s LOR.

Don’t go for title, go for someone who will spend time providing an insightful LOR to admissions team and can show they know you well over the last few years to make that recommendation. If it is not for the above, the value of LOR holds little meaning even if it comes from a senior CEO, owner or a polictical minister.

2) Tell them about your goals and what you would like them to write to support your goals. Letter of Recommendations are confidential so you may not have a full grasp on what is written, but providing a direction helps. Provide them of a few examples to show them how you have taken steps and done work to achieve towards your goals over the last few years. Help them understand why you are looking at pursuing your MS degree and what you want to focus during your studies.

3) Make sure they write examples to support the good recommendation they are providing. There are thousands of LORs with just general words like “good standing”, “hard working”….make sure your LOR highlights only a few of your personal strengths but shows clear examples to support it. Most of the Letter of Recommendation do not do much to help an applicant’s admission chances because they are too general in nature.

Have your recommender write what you have done at work and how your work supports your aspirations of the graduate degree and interest.

Here is an example of a Letter of Recommendation:

4) Lastly, give your employer enough time to write your Letter of Recommendation. – A good LOR always takes time to write….so give enough notice to your recommender. If you do not receive it within 2 weeks, remind them of it.

Good luck! Send us an email if you need any further guidance and help.

A few other blogs by this author:

What do Top Colleges in the World Look for in Successful Applicants?

I am graduating from College in a few months….How do I land my dream job post graduation?


Scholarships and Aid for International Students Applying for Undergraduate Programs 


Interpreting Your GRE Percentile Score and Creating College List 

About Author Ajay Singh

I graduated from I.I.T India and came to U.S. for higher studies in Engineering 20 years back. After working for a few years in Austin, Texas as a design engineer, I went back for a M.B.A at Harvard Business School. I have worked for number of global companies in senior leadership and management positions. Over the years I have advised number of students on college admission.

Author: Ajay Singh

Ajay is the co-founder of Stoodnt and spent 20+ years in senior leadership roles with companies such as American Express, Cendant and Intel prior to starting Stoodnt. He has a M.B.A. from Harvard, M.S. in Computer Engineering from U.T. Austin and B.Tech from I.I.T Roorkee (India).

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