7. How can I improve the chances of getting an offer of admission?
Do your homework. Before you apply, study our programs and confirm that we're a good fit for you.
Identify one or more faculty members with whom you'd like to work. Read about their current research opportunities. Review some of their publications to see what kinds of work they do, and whether or not you find it interesting. Faculty will receive numerous inquiries; hence, generic inquiries and those that do not demonstrate knowledge of the faculty member's research will not be well received.
Contact the people with whom you'd like to work early in the application process. September is not too early.
Make a good first impression. Email prospective faculty members who don't know you a well written note that demonstrates that you've done your homework about our program and the person's research, and which highlights your strengths and qualifications. State your average in your last two years of full time study; if your grades are close to the minimum required, then be sure to highlight other strengths and qualifications that you would like considered. If your educational background might at first seem inappropriate, then explain why you think it is a good fit. Finally, in your first communication, make sure to request a follow-up conversation (in person or on the phone).
If you have applied for external scholarships and awards, let us know; the on-line application form has a space for this information. People who have a good chance of winning a major external award tend to be viewed very favourably (assuming their research interests and qualifications are appropriate).
Strong letters of reference are essential. At least one of the letters must be from an academic. The second letter may be from someone who knows you in a professional context and can evaluate your suitability for graduate school. Ideally, both letters will be from academics.
We appreciate professionalism. If you decide to apply, read the application instructions carefully and follow them.