Life history document
The process starts with getting to know you. You will document your life history covering your personal and professional life. The purpose of this exercise is to help you recall the various activities you have participated in since childhood, challenges that you may have overcome, learning experiences, catalysts that have influenced your development etc. The professional part of your life story will help us understand your responsibilities, achievements, skills and impact on the organizations you have worked with. This also lays the foundation for constructing your resumé.
We then schedule a "life history walk through", an exercise to get to know you better which gives you the opportunity to share more information and answer questions arising from your life history document. This exercise takes a few hours and could be conducted in a single session or multiple sessions.
Constructing your resumé
Vikram Shah Consulting will teach you how to construct a world class resumé which stands out from the crowd, is well-worded and is easy to read. Importantly, your resumé will highlight your skills and achievements. We share with you sample templates, help you create content, and teach you how to write each bullet. Your resumé will go through a number of edits (on average 7) and the process usually takes 2 weeks to complete.
While you are working on your life history document, we discuss and identify schools you should consider applying to. We encourage you to reach out to current students and alumni of every school on our initial lists and learn more about these schools. While we freeze on at least two schools to apply to, the initial list of schools may change through the duration of our engagement for a number of reasons. As the firm gets to know you better, we will be in a better position to suggest schools will match your needs and expectations.
Summarizing your USPs
Based on what we know of you, we summarize your strengths, weaknesses, skills, attitudes and values into a document. We also identify some of your experiences which differentiate you. We use this document to help keep track of the messages we tailor to different schools.
We begin work on an application by discussing all the essay topics, identifying 2-3 stories for each essay and then selecting the best or the most relevant stories. When you begin drafting essays, our initial focus and effort is aimed at getting the content of your essay right. Once we have most of the content in place, we then begin the process of editing essays and bringing them down to the word limit. For your first application, essays may go through anywhere between 2 to 20 edits (the average is 7 edits). Your first application can take anywhere between 2-5 weeks to complete, depending upon the degree of difficulty of the essay topics, your availability and your ability to respond to and incorporate feedback.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation take long to complete and it is essential that you give your recommenders as much time as possible to draft them. I advise you on tactics to adopt to ensure you get quality letters of recommendation.
Once you have filled in the entire application form and uploaded all your documents, the team reviews it to ensure that all the information you have provided is clear, correct and consistent. If there are sections of the form which have a character/word limit, we create and edit content for these in the same manner that we do for your essays.
Some applications require you to submit a video essay along with your application, some with spontaneous questions. We share with you questions that have been asked in the past and teach you both how to prepare for such essays and how to answer random questions spontaneously in a time bound manner.
Once we give you a go-ahead, you may submit your application. For candidates using services for more than one school, we usually complete 2-3 applications before submitting your first application as the more practice you get in writing, the better your essays will be. Hence, if time permits, we revisit your first application just to check if there is any further scope of improvement.
Once you receive an invitation to interview, we start interview training. Ideallyneed 2 weeks to get you ready. I share with you common interview questions and teach you how to answer questions. I help you construct answers, monitor and correct your body language and answer delivery. Most importantly, I teach you how to take control of the interview. I do not limit the number of mock interview sessions or hours of training. I spend as much time with you as required and train you till you are ready.
There are three possible outcomes:
If you are accepted and you accept, we then help you with any Scholarship Essays if required, and I20 documentation review.
Depending on the school, we may adopt different wait-list strategies to help you convert the decision to one of "admitted".
We may decide to apply to more schools or will continue to await for the results of applications to other schools.