Ishita Jain, Manager, OnCourse

Ishita Jain is a trained Organizational Psychologist, with an MSc in Organizational Psychology and Psychiatry from King’s College, London. She has a double major in Psychology and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Now as a Manager at OnCourse, Ishita spearheads the master’s applications and overlooks training.

 

In the highly competitive environment of today, an advanced degree is one of the most crucial determinants for a successful career. For instance, having a Master’s degree or an MBA degree not only increases your professional worth but also makes you eligible for senior-level job roles.

However, putting together a successful Master’s Application requires significant effort and planning.

In our experience whilst working with over 500 applicants, we have found that Profile Building is key to make an application stand out. It helps demonstrate one’s candidacy and specific interest in a subject or field, crafting a story to resonate with admissions committees.

For a holistic application, the process of Profile Building can be divided into five broad categories as below:

  1. Academics and Research
  2. Work Experience
  3. Extra-curriculars
  4. Social involvement
  5. Interests and Miscellaneous

 

  1. Academics and Research

As the Master’s degree aims to help students become trained experts in a particular field, it requires a clear demonstration of academic interest. Hence your undergraduate degree and research projects play a significant role. To showcase this, it is essential to maintain a good GPA or show an upward rising trajectory in your grades.

Concurrently, you should keep a pulse of the modules you enjoy to analyze a specific field you would like to have mastery in. This will help you identify your interests early on and develop the required skills in time.

Additionally, working on research papers or research projects helps to deepen field expertise and demonstrates intellectual strength. To bolster your application, it is suggested to have at least 1-2 research papers, preferably published in official academic journals such as Sage and Springer.

Good practices whilst working on research projects are:

  • Keep a singular theme in your projects. Examples: Health care, Social Media influence, Income Disparity
  • Look for research opportunities outside of your curriculum
  • Have a professor audit your independent project
  • Present paper at seminars, conferences, conclaves, etc
  1. Work Experience

To ensure quality learning, colleges look for meaningful work experience that will help you contribute to the Master’s program. For example, internships add immense value to application strength.

We recommend getting internships relevant to your coursework or interests. During the internship, we urge students to identify their likes or dislikes and maintain linearity in their work to achieve clarity about their future goals.

After completing an internship, it is essential to pick your next internship based on what you enjoyed previously. To do this, remember to keep your ears and eyes open towards various departments and functions. Use processes and tools such as ‘Selection vs. Elimination’, Thematic Analyses, and detailed note-taking to help you in the same.

  1. Extra-curricular Activities

All activities outside professional work, such as College festivals or Clubs and Societies are part of the third component of the application. This helps the admissions committee recognize how a candidate will impact the Master’s community. Consistent and impactful contributions are important metrics while evaluating this component.

Clubs & Societies

  • Participate in clubs & societies in college
  • Associate them with your
  • interests/passion/hobby
  • Look for leadership opportunities

College Festivals

  • Be an organizing member for events in college
  • Participate/lead college delegations
  • Passion based activities are always preferred § Participate in academic festivals or conclaves
  1. Social Involvement

Community service or volunteering is a good way to demonstrate that you are interested in giving back. Several surveys of college admissions officers through the years have found that community service can be a tipping factor when making college admissions decisions.

To do this, you could either launch your own social initiative or look for leadership opportunities within an external social organization. To ensure consistency in your work, it is helpful to link your social involvement activities or your hobbies or passions.

Remember:

  • The impact of the initiative is greater than its size
  • Document all the work done
  • Try to quantify the change your work creates (e.g. x% reduction in school dropouts)
  1. Interests and Miscellaneous

Your interests provide a personal touch, giving colleges a window into your soft skills and individuality. To help build this component more holistically, remember to use your free time constructively to pursue hobbies. It is helpful to showcase the following:

  • Certified achievements – examples: PADI certified diver, National level shooter (FIDE ranking)
  • Technical skills – examples: Microsoft office, programming languages (C++, Python, Java, etc.), softwares (Adobe Suite, Coral Draw, etc.)
  • Languages – Foreign languages with their levels of proficiency – examples: French (Level A2)
  • Online Courses – g. Coursera, Udemy, EdX

Finally, remember to pursue activities that you’re really passionate about. Quality not quantity is what matters and the depth of your involvement will play a crucial role in your application.

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