Because many graduate programs have rolling admissions, it is best to start early when applying to graduate schools. Different programs have different deadlines, but the list below covers most programs.
- Depending on your field of interest, take a practice test for the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or DAT to determine how much preparation you’ll need for the real deal.
- Begin researching graduate schools and narrowing choices of programs, regions, and schools.
- Register for the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or DAT general test.
- If you need extra preparation, sign up for a test preparation course online or in person.
- Consider which faculty members to ask for letters of recommendation.
- Professors also can recommend good programs and may even help you make some connections.
- Take the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or DAT.
- If you’re not happy with your scores, sign up to take it again. Begin drafting your statement of purpose.
- Register for the November GRE subject test (if necessary).
- Finalize your list of graduate schools. Examine each application for any essay topics or questions you may need to address.
- Research sources of financial assistance.
- Draft your statement of purpose and ask professors or advisors to read it. Keep polishing your statement of purpose.
- Familiarize yourself with the professors who share your research interests at each school.
- Contact your recommenders.
- Request official transcripts from your undergraduate institution.
- Ask professors to write letters of recommendation.
- Send those who are writing recommendations supplemental materials (like your statement of purpose, resume, personal statement, etc.) that they can use as a reference.
- Make contact with students and professors at your prospective schools.
- If possible, arrange to visit campuses.
- Ask professors or advisors to read over your statement of purpose.
- Draft essays and ask professors or advisors to read them. Finalize statement of purpose.
- Ensure that that your GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or DAT scores will be sent directly to schools.
- Check due dates for applications.
- Complete and submit all graduate school applications which have been typed, keeping copies of every section for your records.
- Verify that your recommendations have been sent.
- Arrange for your official transcript to be sent to each program to which you apply.
- Request that the Registrar hold your transcript until the Fall semester grades are in.
- Apply for fellowships and other financial assistance.
- Graduate schools send receipts of application packages. If you don’t receive notification, reach out to the admissions office of the graduate school to ensure that your application package has been received.
- With your tax forms handy, fill out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
- Begin planning for the admissions interviews.
March and April
- Arrange campus visits for graduate school to which you have been accepted.
- Review acceptances with a faculty member to make informed decisions.
- Discuss rejection letters to understand why you might not have been accepted.
- Send acceptance notification to the graduate school of your choice.
- Remember to notify schools that accepted you that you will NOT be attending so those slots can be opened to other students.