It’s no small feat to apply for a master’s programme. Deciding to do so demonstrates a personal and financial commitment to continuous learning and undertaking a journey that can alter the trajectory of your career and life.
There’s a lot to manage in the process, especially if you’re considering various universities, all with their unique requirements and steps. After making a list of schools and researching deadlines, applicants will want to get the right recommendations, edit their CVs, and perfect their motivation statements.
And while the final deadline to apply may be in June, or even August, giving you plenty of time to prepare, there are distinct advantages to not waiting until the last minute.
Here are a few reasons why you should opt for submitting that application early in the cycle!
#1 Study spots fill up!
The simplest reason for applying early is to have a better shot of gaining admissions. Many applicants do indeed wait until closer to a final deadline to apply, making it likely that they will be competing with more applicants for limited study spots.
Furthermore, if you’re applying to a programme that gives you flexibility of choosing a location or specialisation, for example, there’s a good chance that the more desirable, popular options fill up quickly, leaving you with your less-preferred choice when you’re admitted.
#2 Sort out scholarships
Applying early can present a significant advantage in that there will simply be more institutional and external resources available to you!
It’s likely that schools have more scholarships to give out earlier rather than later in the cycle.
Some universities may offer “early bird” tuition discounts for applying before a certain date. Also keep in mind that if you are seeking external funding, application deadlines tend to be quite early, compared to universities’ final deadlines.
#3 Appear committed and prepared
Sending an application early itself makes a statement.
It sends a message that you are a serious candidate and that you are committed to a study programme and the university.
#4 Flexibility in the admissions process
Applying well before the deadline can give you more leeway in the admissions process.
Perhaps you need to schedule an interview, but you have an exam? You may have discretion in selecting which days work best for you.
#5 Stress-free start to your studies
Imagine being admitted to the programme of your choice, accepting the offer, and then having months to prepare for the start of your studies.
If you’re currently finishing a study programme, you’ll be able to relax and really enjoy the last months you have with your classmates. Or, gain peace of mind by being able to plan for a move with plenty of time. This may include sorting out a visa, gathering funds, figuring out where you’re going to live, etc.
Doing it all without added pressure is worth it.
#6 Meeting classmates early
If you’re lucky enough to be admitted earlier than most, it’s likely that you’ll have a head start on building connections with your future classmates (and friends!)
These connections can be invaluable for your time as a student and beyond. Maybe you’ll find your new flatmate, or gain networking opportunities in the future.