Guidelines for your OSU Atmospheric Science Application
Hopefully the application is fairly explanatory, but here are some suggestions.
1. For your OEAS supplemental material, make sure to be clear which concentration(s) interest you. You can include multiple concentrations (e.g., Atmospheric Science and Physical Oceanography if you're interested in ocean-atmosphere interactions). You can also specify something more specific (bio-physical plankton dynamics). You don't need to include your thesis title here (or even have an idea of what it might be), but we use these interests to help decide which concentration group(s) should consider your application.
2. You CV should include all of your formal education, starting after high school. List any research or work experience you have. You can highlight key courses you've taken, but leave most of this to your transcript. List publications, formal presentations (posters or talks), scholarships, awards, honors, and extra-curricular activities. You can briefly explain your research positions in your CV, but leave the lengthy descriptions for your personal statement. We want to get a quick overview of what you've been doing the last few years.
3. Your personal statement can include both why you want to study atmospheric science and what research experience you've done in the past. Basically, we want to get an idea of your research interests. What sort of work would you like to do for your thesis? Graduate school is different from undergrad because most of your time is spent doing research, not coursework. We would like to see that you have an idea of what it's like to do something open-ended like science (discussing past research experiences is great).
4. Take a look at the Atmospheric Sciences (and other CEOAS disciplines, depending on your interests) faculty web pages, and select a few whose work interests you. Ideally, you should contact some of these faculty ahead of time so they can be on the look out for your application. Mention these specific faculty and/or specific grad student opportunities that interest you. Your personal statement helps us decide where to direct your application within the group. Note, however, that you can still switch advisors or (less often) curricular groups if you decide your interests lie elsewhere once you've started your studies.
5. We do pay attention to improving grades when we look at transcripts (especially math and science grades). You can mention it in your statement if you think it demonstrates that you are a better student now.
6. In general, we don't look at applications before the deadline, so it doesn't make a difference if you submit it early. Do make sure that you give your letter writers enough warning so that their letters arrive by the deadline though. These are some of the most important components of your application. We can't evaluate your application until we have these letters.