Other Advanced Degrees

Applying to Graduate School Programs

Wondering when to take the GRE? Or when to ask for recommendations? Don’t worry…we’re here to help you make sure that you’re on time and on track. The graduate school application process can be time-consuming, but by following the timeline below, you can keep the process from consuming you. And you’ll even get to enjoy your holiday breaks without the stress of applications. Organization and strong time 

Note: This timeline assumes that you are planning to apply during your senior year to begin graduate school immediately after college. If you are planning to take time for other experiences between college and graduate school, this timeline is easily adjustable. Simply refer to the calendar months. This timeline is provided as a general overview for most graduate programs. Some disciplines may have varying timeframes and deadlines. Always refer to the standard practice of the discipline as a definitive guide.



  • Spring Semester of Junior Year (January – April)
  • Summer before Senior Year (May – August)
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January – March
  • April
  • • Meet with professors in your area of interest about career goals and possible programs.
    • Meet with your Career Advisor to discuss application plans.
    • Begin researching programs of interest.
    • Start thinking about potential recommenders. Talk with them before leaving for summer break to ensure they will be back on campus in the fall to write your letters. If not, secure letters now!
    • Register and begin studying for standardized tests (if planning to take them in the summer).
  • • Finalize a list of schools for application.
    • Begin writing the statement of purpose. Complete at least one draft.
    • Begin working on a curriculum vitae or resume.
    • Start preparing other admissions requirements (portfolios, performances, auditions, etc.)
    • Register for and begin studying for standardized tests (if taken in the fall).
    • Budget for application fees.
  • • Contact schools for application forms, catalogs, and financial aid forms.
    • Meet with your Career Advisor as needed for assistance in the application process.
    • Continue revising the statement of purpose and resume/ vita.
    • Open a recommendations file at the Career Center to collect letters of recommendation. Meet with recommenders to make formal requests for letters of recommendation.
    • Decide on a final list of recommenders and ask them for letters. Send a “thank you” note a few weeks later to express your gratitude. It will also serve as a reminder to them.
    • Continue studying for standardized tests, if necessary.
  • • Complete standardized testing and request score reports being sent to schools.
    • Submit requests for official transcripts to be sent to schools from the Registrar’s Office.
    • Attend the Grad School Fair to meet with any representatives from programs/disciplines of interest.
  • • Follow up with recommenders to ensure that letters have been sent.
    • Fill out application forms.
    • Submit applications for programs with December deadlines.
  • • Submit remaining applications, even if deadlines are later. Keep copies of your complete application for your records. Keep any mailing receipts as well.
    • Call programs before deadlines to ensure your application file has been received and is complete.
  • • Begin budgeting and preparing for admissions interviews if required.
    • Complete and submit applications for financial aid including the FAFSA, if applying for federal monies, and income tax returns.
    • Attend any required interviews.
    • After receiving acceptance letters, contact schools about visiting if interviews are not required.
    • Follow visits and interviews with “thank you” notes to each person you met with.
  • • Make a final decision on the program to attend (maybe later for Master’s programs whose deadlines are later in the Spring).
    • Meet with your Career Advisor to discuss any concerns you have as you review offers of admission.


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Personal statements are designed to give graduate schools insight into your motivation for applying to their program. It is …

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