Familiarise the Application Process

After your research is done, your next step would be to familiarise with the application process.
The official opportunity website or even our Rethink wiki could come handy here.
Most opportunities have an application form that you can fill up. There are some cases where you might have to email a document in place of filling up a form.
Now the form may contain few application questions that will help the reviewers understand more about you as a person and also your work. Some common questions we have seen are Essays, particularly Statement of Purpose, Resume, Video Testimonial and Recommendation Letters.
Most opportunities have only a single step process - where you fill an application form and selections happen based on what you have written.
Some opportunities have a verification round at the end of your application submission. The verification might be to obtain proof on your eligibility or merit and confirming that your profile fits in with their selection criteria.
And some opportunities will have a telephonic or skype interview after your application submission. Some have an in-person interview and some opportunities have both a telephonic and in-person interview.
It is critical for you to clearly understand the steps in the process and the requirements at each stage.
At this point, you should also look to internalise the program timeline and details -
  • When is the deadline to submit the application?
  • Is there a separate deadline for your recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation?
  • When can you expect to know the results and when might you possibly have an interview?
  • How would you be intimated if you were to be selected or rejected?
Do ensure that you know the dates and procedure well so you don’t miss out on anything.
Do also ensure that you will be able to commit your time to the process and meet its demands if you truly wish to get through the opportunity.

Why is this important?

There have been cases where students have been surprised to know that there would be an interview round if they get selected based on their written application.
And there have been cases where students successfully submitted their applications on time but their recommenders missed to submit the letters of recommendation on time, just because the student missed to note the deadline for submission of LoRs and remind their recommenders about it.
Be sure to not overlook the nitty-gritty in the timeline or the application process. Sometimes one such act may completely throw you off the track.