How to Apply to Top US Universities for PhD Degree with Scholarships
There are hundreds of top universities in the USA for PhD and many offer top PhD or doctoral programs in the world. What are the benefits of earning a PhD from the US? Prestige, career growth, and good salaries for PhD are some of the benefits. Selecting the right PhD university is one of the most important decisions you will make.
What is the top US college or university for PhD in the US? When should you apply? How to submit a good PhD application? How do you apply for a PhD scholarship? Is a PhD worth it? These are some of the most frequent questions that you must answer if you are interested in earning a PhD from a top university in the US. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions for top PhD colleges and universities in the US.
When should I start the application for PhD at a top US university?
There are two simple rules you must follow:
1. The more prestigious the university, the sooner you must start.
2. For all universities, you must start a minimum of 18 months before the semester starts.
You must start your application process at least 18 months in advance. For example, if you plan to enroll in August, you must start the process at least by January or so of the previous year. Why so early? PhD applications are complex and will require many iterations. Your essay must capture your research interests exceptionally well. Also, you must research the profiles of faculty at the top US universities where you plan to apply. This takes a lot of time. So start early if you want to be successful.
What tests should I take for PhD admission at top US universities?
Almost all top US colleges and universities that offer PhD programs (except business) require the GRE. Business PhD programs usually require the GMAT, but many will accept the GRE also. Some universities may require GRE subject tests as well. If a school does not require the GRE or GMAT, in all probability, it is not a top US college or university. This means the value of your PhD from such a school won’t be much either! So you should prepare to take the GRE or GMAT if you plan to earn a PhD from a top US university.
It is important to take the tests early and to score well on these tests. Test scores are one of the many factors that are taken into account in deciding funding. If you are from a non-English speaking country, TOEFL or IELTS is also required. You must do well on these tests also.
What scores should I make on the GRE or GMAT to gain admission to a top US university?
The simplest answer is: the higher, the better. In most cases, if you score below 1000 on the GRE or below 500 on the GMAT, the chances of admission to a doctoral program in the US are difficult. Full scholarships will be difficult. Note that while test scores are important, that is not the only factor in gaining admission to a top US university.
How can I get full scholarship to study at a top US university for PhD?
Almost all top US universities offer PhD scholarships to attract good students. These scholarship can cover all your tuition expenses and some top US universities even pay for living expenses. Because good scholarships are available, top US universities receive a large number of applications from PhD students. Hence, your grades and test scores must be good and your application must be thoughtful, well-written, and nearly perfect! An important point to note: even though you may get funding, in order to get a visa, financial documents must show that you have funds to support your education. We like to add that each and every one of the students that we have counseled for PhD has received full scholarship!
How can PlanetGPA help me?
PlanetGPA will provide you with step-by-step guidance till you get a letter of acceptance from your universities of choice. Below are the primary stages of counseling that we provide:
regarding short-listing universities, selecting the right program, time lines, application process, and career counseling. Our goal is to make sure that every student of PlanetGPA is fully funded in the doctoral program. We work only with students that are fully committed to earning a doctoral program. The more dedicated and responsive you are, the higher are your chances of success in gaining funding and admission to a top doctoral program.
Customized and comprehensive list of doctoral universities:
Unlike other degree programs, short-listing universities for doctoral students is one of the most critical and time-consuming steps. It requires in-depth knowledge and expertise on the part of the counselor about US doctoral programs, admission criteria of institutions, funding opportunities and other related matters. Your report will include information on the following factors:
- Average GRE score
- Average TOEFL score
- Publications per Faculty member
- Citations of faculty work
- Percent faculty with grants
- Awards per faculty member
- Percent new students with full financial support
- Average Completion Percent
- Time to degree
- Percent PhD with Academic jobs
- Alumni employment
- Percent of Foreign students
- Number of PhD graduates (2002-06)
- Percent Interdisciplinary faculty
- Percent new students with external grants
- Student work space
Review of universities and selection:
Based on the information we provide in our Customized Report, you should review the list of recommended universities. This review should be thorough, on your part. If you have any questions as you review these universities, our counselors will be happy to assist. Based on your review, you should identify 3 to 5 universities and rank them in the order of preference.
Essay Development and Review:
The essay is one of the most important parts of your application. Unlike other degree programs, essays are reviewed carefully by doctoral committees and funding decisions are sometimes based on the quality of your essay. One essay does not fit all schools! Your essay has to be customized to the vision and mission of the institution and the department. Your essay should show your knowledge and understanding about the department, its programs, and faculty profiles. Your essay will be reviewed by our experienced counselors for content and then it will be reviewed by an editorial team for writing style and clarity. You should expect several iterations of your essay and should be patient and cooperative throughout this process.
Letters of Reference:
Like your essay, your letters of reference can make or break you. We will work closely with you to draft letters that align with your research interest and career goals. Further, your letters should appeal to the unique interests of the institution to which you are applying.
- Application Assistance: We will assist you to complete the doctoral applications to three universities of your choice
- Comprehensive Review of Documents: All documents will be mailed to the US office for a thorough review before it is mailed to the university. Each university has its own unique processes and procedures that must be met for successful admission. The more thorough and accurate your application package is, the better are your chances of admission. A team of US counsellors will review your documents, ensure everything is in order, and mail the package to the university once the checklist is complete.
- Follow-up: If and when necessary, we will follow up with the university to determine the status of your application
- Deadlines! Deadlines! Deadlines are firm in the US. There is no leeway. Hence, one of our tasks is to make sure that you meet all deadlines. In fact, we highly encourage early applications as funding decisions at some universities are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Ethics: We hold ourselves and our students to the highest standards of integrity and ethics. We expect our students to provide accurate and truthful information at all times.
PlanetGPA has earned a world-wide reputation as a leader in assisting doctoral students pursue doctoral programs in the US with funding. If you are committed to pursuing a PhD, PlanetGPA is your best and most trustworthy resource.