What I’ve Learned From Applying to Grad School – A Retrospective

written by: Cosme Lozano

We grew up our whole lives thinking about the next step. When we are in elementary school, we cant wait till we’re in middle school, then from middle school we want to go to high school. Once you pass high school, it’s onto college. Time for no parents, sleeping in past your 9 am class, and cramming for the midterm the night before the test. For most people, college is a time to really explore yourself and find what you like and don’t like, whether that be personally or academically. After four years, you finally reach graduation and are ready to conquer the world.

Then the world has other plans

Receiving a bachelors degree is still very important and valuable today. I do not want to get that confused. Having said that, with more people choosing to attend college, a bachelors degree is losing some of its value. This has led me, and countless others, to pursue expand their education past the undergrad level.

Right now is probably a stressful time for many. Midterms are starting up, and classes are in the thick of their coursework. With extracurricular activities, all of this becomes very tiresome and a lot to manage.


Pair all of that with the added responsibility of filling out grad school applications, life becomes very hectic. I always joke with myself that I want to go back to high school already. With how everything is going in my life right now, it sure feels like that all over again. Trying to get good grades, studying for the ACT, and applying to colleges. That’s what I call living the life..

Needless to say, that is what I am doing again. This time however, it feels a lot different.

My time in college and my time in high school share some similarities, but for the most part they have both been completely different periods of my life. At the moment, I am applying for grad programs at universities in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs. The application process has not been difficult, but it is a lot. There is a lot of information that needs to be recorded, and paper work that needs to be submitted. All of this is fine with me, and I am glad that college me is better equipped to handle this than my high school self.

One thing you can learn from me is to not procrastinate. One of, if not my biggest weakness, is procrastination. Procrastination is what ruined a lot of chances for me coming out of high school, and it is something I have gotten better at. This time around I procrastinated a lot less, but there was still more I could have done to be prepared.

For anyone reading this, whether you apply to high school or grad school; or if you are just going about your life, try to not procrastinate. It is so easy to fall into that trap, but it is equally as easy to get out of it. Don’t let opportunities pass you by and take control of the life you want for yourself.

Additionally, all the “boring conversations” people have about making connections in school is of the utmost importance here. Fortunately for me, making connections has not been much of a problem for me. I do know some people struggle with this though, and the connections play a huge part in your application process. Whether they be submitting letters of recommendation or just giving you advice, all connections are valuable simply because you do not know what doors they can open for you.

TL/DR: We wait so long for things to pass us by, that sometimes we start to procrastinate. Procrastination and a lack of connections will making applying for masters programs very difficult. Do not wait, and seize control of the life you want for yourself

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