Home > NewsRelease > For Prospective International Graduate Students, Part 1: A Word to Students By Dr. Don Martin, June 1, 2022
For Prospective International Graduate Students, Part 1: A Word to Students By Dr. Don Martin, June 1, 2022
Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

There are three major challenges facing most international students pursuing graduate study in the United States. The first is demonstrating proficiency in the English language. The second is financing their education. The third is securing a student visa. We will cover each of these in upcoming segments of this series.
Please permit me to offer some additional advice right now, based on my experience working with literally thousands of international students over the years.
Tip One: My best advice for prospective international graduate students is actually the same as for U.S. prospective graduate students: Do not place so much emphasis on the ranking and prestige of U.S. institutions. During my years in the field of graduate enrollment, it was extremely disheartening to witness the excessively high level of attention given to rankings/prestige. In extreme cases, this was the only criterion used to determine where to apply. As a Dean of Students it was my unfortunate experience to sit across the desk from many a student (both international and domestic) who was very unhappy with their choice of graduate institution. But they were already enrolled and felt they would lose too much if they withdrew. When asked what contributed to their decision to apply and enroll at that institution, the answer in many instances was, “It is very highly ranked.”
My intention here is not to discredit rankings. They do serve a purpose. But they should never be used as the sole or primary determinant of where to apply or enroll. At best they should be part of a very long list of items used to determine what institutions/programs are the best matches for you. Please read or re-read the 12-month checklist found in Chapter One of Road Map. This will be of tremendous help to you. Pay particular attention to the tips on what to do 12, 11 and 10 months before you apply. It could make all the difference for you in finding, being admitted to, enrolling at, and receiving your degree from the graduate program of your dreams.
In the final analysis, your success in life is not dependent on the ranking or prestige of your graduate institution. It is dependent on your level of persistence and determination, and also, on your genuine demonstration of the “Three C’s:” Character, Credibility, and Communication. If you are going to focus on something, that is it.
Tip Two: My second piece of advice is that this is YOUR life, your education, your journey, and no one else’s. While there are obligations to others, the first person to whom you owe allegiance is you. Be careful that you do not place too much emphasis on pleasing others, and in the process, forget yourself.
Tip Three: My final piece of advice it so make sure to allow enough time to prepare for your graduate education. There will be a lot to do, including preparation for the TOEFL/IELTS, the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, getting application materials and deadlines in order, preparing transcripts, essays and letters of recommendation, and more. This all takes time. Rushing things will cause undue stress, and will also increase the chances of making unnecessary mistakes. In my book it is suggested that you start working on your graduate school applications a full 12 months before sending them in (see Chapter One of Road Map). In some cases you may want to take even longer. Bottom line: Take the time you need to adequately prepare. You will not be sorry you did, as doing so can make the difference between being admitted or denied.
Coming up next: A Word to Parents
Be sure to check out Dr. Don’s book, “Road Map for Graduate Study, A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students,” right here on the GSRM website. For a reduced price CLICK HERE, go to The Book page, scroll down, click on the Order Now box, and use discount code GSRM.
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Name: Dr. Donald C. Martin
Group: Grad School Road Map
Dateline: Chicago, IL United States
Direct Phone: 773-549-7639
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