Fundamentals guides

Whereas the admission officers are looking for candidates with positive adjectives attached, the whole admissions process itself is typically described with negative adjectives: confusing, anxiety-inducing, tiring, expensive, etc.

The aims of our free 'Fundamentals Guides' are to help applicants (1) understand the process well enough so that they can confidently (2) prepare and (3) apply on their own while (4) improving their individual experiences associated with the process.

This aligns with our mission of 'putting students first.'

We also highly encourage our Self-prep, Personalized Mentoring, and On-demand Mentoring candidates to read these guides so that they can focus on more advanced strategies in the programs.

Email us if you have suggestions on how else we can improve the 'Fundamentals Guides.'

How admission decisions are made

It’s very helpful to understand the thought process, challenges, and dilemmas that admission offices face. It may help you reverse-engineer the process so that your application can make their job a little easier.

US BS/MS/PhD application timelines

There are hundreds of moving pieces, many of which depends on your continuous efforts and many other external factors beyond your control. 1.5 to 2-years seem to be a lot of time to prepare. Maybe yes, may be not. Depends on how you use the time. Let the song “Time” by Pink Floyd be a cautionary tale of how time slips by for all of us and most do not realize until too late


Understanding the lingo, timelines, and approach should be enough to get you started on the applications on your own. We cover advance level strategies in our Self-prep and Personalized Mentoring programs.