TIMETABLE FOR APPLYING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL
From "Graduate School and You: A Guide for Prospective
Graduate Students," Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, D.C., 2004,
Begin at least a year before you plan to attend graduate school.
Most students begin the process during August of their senior year.
Follow a timeline and always examine each application for deadlines.
Writing down the steps on a calendar may help you gain some perspective on the
process, and keep you on task.
- Write a draft statement of purpose/personal statement about why you want
to go to graduate school.
- Start looking through guides to graduate programs, web sites and college
catalogs, to select at least 3-5 programs in which you are interested.
- Meet with faculty and staff you know to discuss your personal statement
and learn about possible programs in your area of interest.
- Ask for letters of recommendation from people who know your academic achievements.
Faculty are the best to write about your academic strengths.
- Begin to develop your personal timeline for the application process.
- Sign up for required standardized tests (GRE, MAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.)
Check with the universities first to know what tests they accept.
- Take standardized tests . Many tests are available on the computer, and
you can get results in 3-4 weeks.
- Decide which schools to which you plan to apply, and request application
materials, or complete online.
- Finish your timeline based on each institution's application and financial
- Complete your personal statement and adjust it to meet each institution's
- Order transcripts from all post secondary institutions.
- Complete application forms, after downloading the form from the university's
web site and doing a draft.
- Give your references all the information that they will need to write a
good recommendation for you for the schools you want. Give them a current
resume, and talk with them about your strengths.
- Submit applications; better to get them earlier than later.
- Contact the university about making a visit, and make the trips if possible
to visit the faculty. You can also email faculty. Keeping up on correspondence
shows your level of interest.
- If you are applying for need-based financial aid programs, you may have
to file a copy of your federal income tax return.