Applying to Grad School: Part One

So let’s say you’ve made the decision to go to grad school.  You might be an OCI participant, a non-degree seeking student, or are taking the dive and jumping into a master’s program as a degree-seeking student. Congratulations – that’s great news!

Now here’s the tricky part.  What do you need to do, and when?  The below timeline is a good guideline for applying to any graduate program.  You can expedite the process depending on when the application deadline is, and if you’ve already taken the GRE or GMAT.

Good luck!

Twelve months prior to the application deadline:

  • Determine which standardized tests are required
  • Research graduate programs and request catalogs
  • Calculate how much grad school will cost.  How much will you spend on application fees, admission exams, transcripts, tuition, room and board.
  • Set aside money for application fees, admission exams, transcripts, etc.

Ten months prior

  • Take a practice test so you know what areas you will need to focus on while studying
  • Request additional information from departments
  • If you are an undergraduate, reinforce relationships with your professors
  • Get more involved in your field
  • Read each application carefully.  Make a master calendar and task list.

Nine months prior

  • Sign up for a GRE/GMAT course
  • Register for the GRE/GMAT
  • Draft a general statement of purpose outlining the reasons why you wish to attend graduate school.  You will use some version of this in most applications

Seven months prior

  • Narrow your choices
  • Begin talking with your advisor and other professors about your graduate school goals
  • Solicit letters of recommendation
  • Begin investigating sources of funding
  • Get and file applications for financial aid
  • Complete your FAFSA
  • Begin writing your statement of purpose

Six months prior

  • Take the GRE/GMAT.  The earlier you take it, the more time you’ll have to improve your score.
  • Identify and contact potential graduate supervisors at a variety of schools

Five months prior

  • Follow up with sources
  • Request transcripts
  • Verify transcripts are complete and correct
  • Refine your personal statement

Three months prior

  • Visit graduate schools
  • Prepare for your interview
  • Submit your applications

6 thoughts on “Applying to Grad School: Part One

  1. […] last week’s post about applying to a graduate school, one of the first steps I mentioned was the need to research schools and programs.  If you have […]

  2. […] the previous two installments of Applying to Grad School: Part One: Application Timeline Part Two: Researching Grad Schools and Programs under: Prospects, Uncategorized Tags: […]

  3. […] the previous three installments of Applying to Grad School: Part One: Application Timeline Part Two: Researching Grad Schools and Programs Part Three: The Personal Statement/Admissions Essay […]

  4. Thanks for the info. I wonder if universities release their admission criteria? There are some hazy areas there and it always leaves me guessing about thier criteria for admissions.

    Is there any resource where you can find a accurate admission criteria for all the top universities?

  5. David, All universities release their admission criteria which is found on each website. I am not aware of any website that will be more accurate than the actual university website. If there are any questions about admissions criteria, it’s suggested you talk with the admissions council or the program director.

  6. […] posts you might find interesting: Considering grad school? Get an application fee waiver The application process: Part one The application process: Part two The application process: Part three The application process: Part […]

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