March 10, 2009
Detour! – THE ENGLISH REQUIREMENT
Recently a few of incoming students have been balked by a statement in their letter of acceptance from Rackham Graduate school, which says that you have to take an English proficiency test before registering for classes. This has been bothering quite a few of the students. So I would be taking a small detour to shed some light on this test, before I continue describing my voyage towards and beyond the school of information. Well, let’s shed some divine wisdom about this “clause”:
• The incoming students to the University of Michigan, whose native language is not English, need to fulfill English competency requirements. These requirements are tested by various standardized tests like TOEFL, IELTS, etc. The score requirements which show the university that the student is proficient in English and can cope with the courses being taught here, are listed on the following link:
• The above link also describes the cases wherein a shortfall in the score of a particular standardized test, requires the student to take up the AEE (Academic English Evaluation). The cases are very well presented in a tabular form at the bottom of the page.
• AEE – “The Academic English Evaluation (AEE) is used to evaluate the English language skills of nonnative speakers of English entering UM and to assign them to appropriate EAP (English for Academic Purposes) classes.” – University of Michigan’s English Language Institute.
• Now lets decode the above sentence, the University of Michigan has among many others an English language institute and you might have guessed it, that is also among the most reputed in the world , so the people at this institute are trying to say that, students who are nonnative speakers of English, who are entering UM (that’s University of Michigan’s acronym), need to take this test, so that their English proficiency can be evaluated and they can be recommended a few English courses to take up just incase their English proficiency is not adequate. A more detailed description can be found from the home page of the institute here.
• There are links on the above page that navigate you to the appropriate page to register for the test. These tests are offered all throughout August until the mid of September, so you would have ample of time to appear for the test but I would recommend registering for the test before arriving so that they are not all full.
• While we are at it so lets clear up a few myths as well
o “My admit to the university would be taken back if I fail this test”
This is absolutely not true, if you are not able to score appropriately in this test you would be asked to take up a few English courses here at the university, along side your other courses.
o “I won’t be able to register for classes until I take the test”
The university is aware that as you come in it would be very difficult for you to give the test before registering for the classes, so you are required to take the test before registering for the next semester, so that you are not over-whelmed with a lot when you arrive.
So summing it all up, I’d recommend victims of this “clause”, not to be surprised and shocked but, also not to take this lightly. Register for the test before arriving, prepare if you feel you need to and go ahead and give the test. This is no big deal and is only meant to give feedback to nonnative English speakers about any areas that they may want to work on during their studies here at SI.
P.S. If you are required to take the test then it would be mentioned in the letter from Rackham graduate school, if the letter states nothing of this sort then hurray! You are a free bird :-), welcome!
March 06, 2009
How to manage your applications
While I was applying to various universities for my Master’s I came across a plethora of information, such as the application deadlines, financial aid requirements, application documents required, VISA formalities, etc, etc, etc. In fact there was so much information that at one point I thought that it would be great if someone had a small little Google managing and searching only application information. Well since there was nothing like that I took it onto my head to organize this information properly so that I don’t miss any critical point or date and so that I could use any and all the information for my benefit.
Well after I was done with all my standardized tests (which was such a relief, phew!), I started short listing universities which I wanted to attend. Well the list was never ending. So I fixed a number to which I would limit the list. One of the factors to limit the list was to monetary as well since each application required around $100-$150, including everything from official transcripts to score reporting to international couriers. Once the list was finalized I prepared a spreadsheet for managing and tracking my applications. The spreadsheet looked something like the one below:
Through this spreadsheet I was able to keep a track of the things I had done for each application and the things that were still pending. Each column depicted tasks and each row depicted an application, also each cell showed the status of the task.
Once you have your application process under control, you can easily manage your applications without missing out on critical stuff or missing any deadline.
Posted by malhar at 11:09 AM