“Ah, yeah, his app is showing as incomplete because he never sent verified TOEFL scores to us; his GRE is waived but since he self-reported, he’ll need to send those too. But once he pays his application fee we should be ready to review him for the first priority deadline.”
If that sounds like gibberish to you, never fear! As we move further into the application cycle, I thought it might be helpful to share some lingo that’s common in graduate admissions. This glossary can help you make sense of all the information you’re sorting through.
Application Fee: The fee required to submit an application to the program. Heller’s application fee is US $55;his fee is waived for applicants from developing nations and current or returned Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year, and other service organization volunteers.
Curriculum Vitae (CV): A detailed document highlighting a person’s professional and academic history. CVs usually include work experience, achievements and awards, scholarships and grants, completed coursework, research projects, and publications. This is similar to a resume, but with a few key differences.
Deposit/ Enrollment deposit: In order to confirm your space in the incoming class, you must fill out your “Reply to Offer of Admission” form by the deadline stated and pay a non-refundable tuition deposit. The deposit will be credited toward your first semester tuition charges and will secure your place in the entering class.
Duolingo English Test: The Duolingo English Test is an English proficiency assessment. The test is available online, on demand. You don’t have to make an appointment or travel to a test center—you can take the test from your home via a computer and webcam. The test is administered using computer adaptive technology, meaning that the question difficulty adapts to each test taker. The test also integrates a video interview and writing sample, which are sent to an institution along with your proficiency score when you send your results. The entire test experience takes just under an hour. Test results are certified within 48 hours, and they can be shared with an unlimited number of institutions. The majority of our successful applicants tend to have a score of at 115 on the Duolingo English Test.
English Proficiency: As an international applicant, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For some international students, your English Proficiency requirement will be automatically waived based on your citizenship or where you obtained a previous degree. For other intrnational students, you’ll have to demonstrate your proficiency by taking a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam, or Duolingo English Test.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans (also called Unsubsidized Stafford Loans) are non–need-based guaranteed educational loans. With a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, students can borrow up to $20,500 per year. Unlike Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans accumulate interest while students are in their program, and this interest is added to the principal amount. However, students do not have to make payments on their loans while they are enrolled in their program at least half-time.
GMAT: A standardized graduate business school entrance exam administered by the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, which measures verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills. For Heller’s Social Impact MBA program, we usually require either the GMAT or GRE (Note: Heller has extended its test-optional policy for applicants to the MBA, MPP, or PhD program for the Fall 2022 cycle, although International applicants must still either qualify for an English Proficiency Waiver or submit IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo English Test scores.).
Graduate Plus Loans: The Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed-interest student loan guaranteed by the federal government that allows graduate students to borrow the total cost for their graduate school needs, including tuition, room and board, supplies, lab expenses, and travel, less than any other aid. The Graduate PLUS Loan is a non-need, credit-based loan similar to a private student loan with the benefit of having a fixed interest rate and federal guarantee.
GRE: A standardized graduate school entrance exam administered by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service (ETS), which measures verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills. Heller’s Master of Public Policy or PhD in Social Policy program usually require the GRE; Heller’s Social Impact MBA program, usually requires either the GMAT or GRE (Note: Heller has extended its test-optional policy for applicants to the MBA, MPP, or PhD program for the Fall 2022 cycle, although International applicants must still either qualify for an English Proficiency Waiver or submit IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo English Test scores.)
IELTS: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English proficiency assessment. Students taking the IELTS to apply for graduate school should take the IELTS Academic Test IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9. There are six sections; the total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The majority of our successful applicants tend to have a score of at a 7.0 on the IELTS.
Merit-based aid/ merit scholarships: A type of financial aid awarded to students who have demonstrated special academic ability or talents, regardless of their financial need. This is what Heller uses! All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships, and recipients will be notified along with their admission decision.
Official transcript: Official transcripts must a) Be issued directly by the institution and b) include one or more of the following features: the registrar’s signature, the registrar’s seal, an institutional watermark, and/or be printed on official institutional paper. If you have been admitted, and you have accepted that offer of admission, we will require official transcripts; we do not require official transcripts at the time of application.
Priority Deadline: The date by which an application must be received in order to be given full consideration. At Heller, this can apply to admissions and financial aid. After the priority date passes, applications are considered on a rolling basis until the next deadline.
Rolling Admission: An admissions process used by some colleges and universities in which each application is considered as soon as all the required materials have been received, rather than by a specific deadline. This is what Heller uses, starting after our first priority deadline.
Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is a pivotal piece of the entire application package and should discuss the reasons for applying to the degree program of your choice. In the statement of purpose, you should highlight any previous academic and professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for this degree. You should provide the admissions committee with further insight about your personal and professional interests, and include an in-depth discussion of your career goals following completion of the program. The statement of purpose should also highlight what aspects of this program appeal to you most, and why you’re specifically interested in completing your graduate education at the Heller School. The committee would like to know what you hope to gain from the degree and what you believe you can bring to the program.
Stipend: In addition to tuition, fees, and the individual health insurance premium, the Heller PhD program also provides stipend support to full-time PhD students. Stipends are a fixed amount of money given to students to support them while in their program; at Heller, your stipend is completely separate from any requirement to work on campus.
TOEFL: The TOEFL test has 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The total test takes about 3 hours to complete. Official TOEFL scores must be sent directly through ETS to our institution code 3097 at the time that you apply. The Heller School only considers TOEFL scores from a single test date, not MyBest™ scores. The majority of our successful applicants tend to have a score of at least 94 on the TOEFL,
Unofficial transcript: We accept unofficial transcripts at the time of application. Many institutions allow students and alumni to access their grade report online; these reports are sufficient for application file review.
Waitlist: A list of qualified applicants to a school who may be offered admission if there is space available after all admitted students have made their decisions. At Heller, only the PhD program uses a waitlist; all other programs have rolling admission.