Graduate School ChecklistIt is important to start gathering information early in order to be able to complete your application on time. We recommend you start the process as soon as possible.
Application deadlines may range from August (before your senior year) to Spring/Summer (during your senior year). Most deadlines for the fall’s entering class are between December and March. You should, in all cases, plan to meet formal deadlines; beyond this, you should be aware of the fact that many schools with rolling admissions encourage and act upon early applications.
Eight to Ten Months Before Applying
- Research areas of interest, institutions and programs
- Talk to your advisor and professors about interests and application requirements
- Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests
- Investigate national scholarships
- If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendation
- Contact school for application materials
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, if required. Do this as early as January if possible.
- FastWeb — free Scholarship and College Searches, & Financial Aid Tools
- FinAid — the smart student guide to financial aid
Three Months Before Applying
- Take required admissions tests
- Visit institutions of interest, if possible
- Write your application essay (Personal Statement)
- Check on application deadlines and rolling admission policies
Note: You may not be able to adhere to this timeline if your application deadlines are very early, as is the case with medical schools, or if you decided to attend graduate school at the last minute. In any case, keep in mind the various application requirements and be sure to meet all deadlines. If deadlines are impossible for you to meet, call the institution to determine if a late application will be considered.
(Adapted from Peterson's Graduate & Professional Programs: An Overview 1996).