Graduate School Application Timeline
Three to six months prior to applying
- Assess educational goals, career direction, financial resources, etc.
- Meet with selected faculty/career counselor to discuss application requirements
- Research programs - Decide which schools (summer before senior year)
- The Peterson's Guides to Graduate Programs (available in the Career Library) contains admission requirements, acceptance rates, and descriptions of most accredited programs
- Check out the web links for graduate and professional schools on the back of this page
- Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests
- Investigate national scholarships
- If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendation
- Write a resume
Three months prior to applying
- Contact targeted programs requesting application materials, course catalog, and financial aid information
- Prioritize choice of programs
- Begin drafting essays for applications; work with a faculty member and career counselor to critique responses
- Research and apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA after Jan. 1)
- Check financial aid web links on the back of this page
- Check on application deadlines and rolling admissions policies
- Take required admissions test(s)
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty, advisors, and former employers (give them your resume). Allow 1 month lead time
Fall, a year before matriculating
- Complete applications (note each application deadline and allow yourself plenty of time to thoroughly complete all forms)
- Collect recommendations from writers, or if the letter is a confidential letter, check with destination schools to ensure timely completion of letters
- Take admissions test(s) if you haven't already
- PROOF your application materials
- Make a copy of your application for your records before submitting
- Submit completed applications
- Request transcripts to be sent from Registrar (you may want to wait for your fall grades before requesting your transcripts to be mailed) to graduate schools of interest
Winter, before matriculating in the fall
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Financial Aid Profile, if required
Spring, before matriculating in the fall
- Ensure your file is complete prior to institution deadline
- Visit the institutions that accept you
- Send a deposit to your institution of choice
- Notify other colleges and universities that accepted you of your decision so that they can admit students on the waiting list
- Send thank you letters to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success
Web links for General Graduate Schools Professional School Resources
- Peterson's Education Center: Good site for researching graduate programs and writing a super graduate school application easily. Excellent keyword search feature. Includes detailed program descriptions.
- Statement of Purpose: Understand what a statement of purpose is and what schools expect from them.
- Graduate Guide: This is a directory of Graduate Schools in the United States and Canada. This site will help you find colleges and universities that offer accredited graduate programs that most interest you.
Financial Aid Web Sites
- Financial Aid Information Page: (Mark Kantrowitz, Carnegie Mellon University) A wide range of information on aid, scholarships, university financial aid offices and related documents.
Admissions Test Web Sites
- GRE On-Line: Includes information on test preparation, and includes practice tests, test dates and other information.
- Law School Admissions Council: A good law school site containing LSAT information and law school forum dates. Lists all law schools with sites available on the web.
- AAMC Web Site: Comprehensive site including information on medical school, the Association of America's Medical Colleges, research, as well as applicant information.
- Dental Admission Test: Learn about DAT eligibility requirements, rules of conduct, test regulations, irregularities/appeals, testing procedures, testing checklist and frequently asked questions.