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Last modified
11/13/02


Other Documents and Issues

Application Fee
Financial Aid
Special Course Lists
Cover Letter
Filling out Your Application
Sending Your Application
If You are Invited for an Interview

Application Fee

Whether or not it will be possible to waive an application fee completely depends on the university. I would say 90% of the universities will waive the fee and if you are persistent it maybe 100% (when applied second time I didn't pay fee to any universities including MIT and Stanford, which are usually the most strict ones in terms of the fee).
First of all, ask the secretary via email whether it is possible to waive the fee, explain the financial hardship, see the Sample Letter. If the waiver has been granted, state so in the cover letter when sending your application materials, if not include request for the fee waive with your application materials see Sample Letter, you might also include the Letter from Profkom (don't forget to get it signed), and state in the cover letter that you are requesting a fee waiver. After that it is important to check with the department whether the fee waiver has been granted and your application is being considered, because some universities might put your application on hold until you pay the fee and you won't find out about that unless you contact them.
If after all your attempts, your fee waiver was not granted, you might try to send another request to the dean of the department or somebody else on the admission committee, if it fails it's probably better to pay the fee or just cross out this university.

ATTENTION:
If you are applying on-line you won't be able to submit your application without paying the required application fee.

Financial Aid

Most Physics/Mathematics/Engineering/Biology Departments give full support to 100% of their students (I can't think of any exceptions). All you need to do is fill out the Financial Report (or whatever it is called), which is included with your application, which basically means putting "0"s in most fields.

If you apply to Humanities or Social Sciences it is much harder but still possible to get the financial aid, usually in terms of Teaching Assistantship. Check the department web page or ask the department secretary for the details.

Special Course Lists

Some universities require applicants to send Lists courses they attended in some selected fields.
Example 1 (Word document)
Example 2 (Word document)
Example 3 (Word document)

Cover Letter - "soprovoditelnoe pismo"

Cover Letter is not required, but it is highly advisable to include it. See Example.

Filling out Your Application

The easiest way to fill out an application is to do it online. Unfortunately in the most cases to submit it you will have to pay an application fee, so if you don't plan to pay  the fee you will need to fill out an application forms by hand. Remember that neatness is important. Before filling out the original application, you might want to answer some of the questions on a separate sheet of paper. You risk delay or even denial of admission if you send an incomplete application. It is very important to collect all the requested application materials (statement, recommendations, test score report copies if you don't request originals, transcripts etc.). University admissions committees will not review your application until all the requested documents are received (if you have a valid reason why you cannot submit some documents by stated deadline, explain it in the cover letter and send these documents ASAP).

Sending Your Application

To avoid losing parts of the application, send all the requested documents together in one large envelope. The recommendations should be sealed in individual envelopes signed by recommenders and enclosed in the big one. If you are able to pay the application fee, it is better to do so. Some schools will waive the fee, but others will not.  If they refuse to waive the fee, they will hold your application and contact you.
IMPORTANT: If you are applying to graduate school and are unable to pay the application fee, send the application to the academic department (you can find their address on the university website or ask the secretary) to which you are applying. Only the department may apply for a fee waiver. If you are able to pay, follow the instructions on the form.

The best and cheapest way to send your application is with your friend who currently in US and come home for winter break. If it is impossible use good post service such as Garanpost, PXPost.com, etc.

Deadlines for receiving application materials are often in January and February (mid-December in some top schools). Do not wait until the deadline, send as soon as possible. After you mail the application, it is very important stay in touch with the university departments to monitor the progress of your application. One or two weeks after your application was supposed to be received check whether it was received, is complete and was given to the members of the admission committee for consideration. Personal Story.

If You are Invited for an Interview

Taking a trip to the schools under consideration can be a valuable experience in your application process. Flexible in their aims, these visits can be completed to good effect either before, during, or after the application season. Whether your intent is to learn more about the "feel" of the school, speak with current students, or discuss your qualifications with program administrators, a school visit aids your admissions process immeasurably.

One of these immeasurable gains is in learning more about the school. By doing so, of course, you will be helping to improve the focus and specificity of your application, but more importantly you will get a sense on how you might fit in with this program and this campus. Sitting in the library stacks, watching interactions across the quadrangle, reading the school newspaper, and overhearing student conversations are all nonobtrusive means to gauging the ephemeral "quality of social life." Less timid graduate school hopefuls might also attempt something known as "actually talking with someone" for the same effect. In any event, you should leave the school with a much better sense of the school's intellectual and social climate.

If you decide to interview (these are generally optional), follow all those standard rules about eye contact, conservative dress, self-confident presentation, and so forth. Know the specifics about the program in which you are interested, read the school paper for up-to-date news, and be prepared with intelligent questions to ask. Interviews which are not mandatory for the admissions process are generally quite less rigorous than ordinary, and often turn into a sort of mutual question-and-answer session. Regardless of this informality, your interpersonal skills, maturity, professionalism, and ability to communicate effectively should permeate the interview. If you are terrible at interviewing, don't be afraid to shy away from such meetings (sickness and travel costs are two perennial excuses that work), or to practice your skills with some lower ranked schools before approaching your top choices. If you are great in person, greet the opportunity to interview with open arms and a ready smile. It's usually not a deciding factor, but every little bit counts.