Career Exploration and Development

Graduate School: Timeline

Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

  • Begin browsing though graduate school guides, such as Peterson's Guide to Graduate and Professional Programs  or the GraduateGuide .
  • Write graduate schools for program information, applications, and financial aid and assistantship information.
  • Determine if there are any special admissions requirements, if you meet pre-requisites, and your chances of acceptance.
  • Start working on a general personal statement.
  • Estimate the expenses related to applying to graduate school and begin saving for application fees.
  • Check with the fellowship advisor in the Career Development Center, and investigate requirements for national scholarships and fellowships.
  • Sign up for required standardized tests. Prepare for tests by familiarizing yourself with the instructions and types of questions. Use sample practice books, such as Barron's Guide to Taking the GRE, and prep courses, such as those offered by Kaplan.
  • Open a Credential File with interfolio 
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  • Meet with faculty members and/or Career Counselors to talk about possible programs, and consult US News Best Graduate Schools .
  • Ask Professors for letters of recommendation. Provide them with appropriate forms, an addressed and stamped envelope, and a resume. Discuss your goals and motivations for wanting to attend graduate school, so that they have a better idea of your intentions.
  • Develop a resume.
  • Schedule time each week to work on applications and essays.

  • Take the standardized test. Remember that you don't have to wait if they are computerized.
  • Request applications from programs, if you haven't already.
  • Begin lining up your letters of recommendation. Meet with your recommenders, and provide them with a copy of your resume and any application forms.

  • Request copies of your official transcript. Insure that the Registrar's Office can send transcripts and fall semester grades to designated graduate schools in time for the appropriate deadline.
  • Put finishing touches on your personal statement, and have it reviewed by friends, faculty, staff, and Career Counselors.

  • Complete your application forms. Many are online, so become familiar with the process.
  • Take or retake the appropriate tests.
  • Contact professors to insure that they have mailed off recommendations.
  • Mail completed applications. Send your applications at this time even if deadlines are later. Some graduate schools accept applicants on a rolling basis, which means they accept applicants as applications are received, until all spots are filled.

  • Send in financial aid information if necessary.

  • Contact graduate programs before the deadline to insure that applications have been received and are complete.
  • Visit as many schools as possible; accepting a graduate school offer without visiting the campus is like buying a car without test driving it! Talk with faculty and current students.
  • Set up appointments for admissions interviews, as well as assistantship interviews. Be sure to follow up with "Thank You" notes.

  • If you are applying for financial aid, you may need a copy of your tax return.
  • Sit back and wait, knowing that you've done your best!