Are You Ready for Graduate School?

A master’s degree can be an incredible asset. It can give you an edge over the competition when applying for a job. It can also help you earn a highly coveted promotion. It can prepare you for a change in your career or prepare you for a doctoral program. There is no question that earning a master’s degree can open a lot of doors, and, while being a graduate student is exciting, it is a major life decision that requires a serious commitment. Even the application process can be overwhelming. At the College of Charleston, we are here to help prepare you for your graduate school journey as well as do everything we can to ensure your success, and, so, we have created this recommended timeline to get you ready to apply and ready for graduate school.

12 Months Prior

  • Research graduate programs and their requirements.
  • Enroll in necessary prerequisites, if applicable.

Ten Months Prior

  • Take a practice version of the required standardized test to determine what areas to focus on while studying.
  • Attend scholarly lectures and discussions.
  • Reinforce relationships with professors – when you know you are going to graduate school, make appointments with them to discuss your plans. Ask them for recommendations, and discuss your motivations.
  • Read applications carefully.

Nine Months Prior

  • Register for a GRE or a GMAT course.
  • Speak with graduate students and postdocs in the department.
  • Draft a general statement of purpose outlining the reasons why you wish to attend graduate school.

Seven Months Prior

  • Narrow your choices.
  • Begin talking with other professors or your advisor about your graduate school goals.
  • Make a master checklist of all deadlines, documents and other supporting material you are required to provide.
  • Begin investigating sources of funding.
  • Complete the FAFSA.
  • Begin writing your statement of purpose.

Six Months Prior

  • Take the entrance exam.
  • Identify and contact potential graduate supervisors at your top choice schools.

Five Months Prior

  • Solicit letters of recommendation.
  • Request transcripts.
  • Refine your personal statement.
  • Submit your application.

Three Months Prior

  • Visit graduate schools.
  • Prepare for your interview.

Of course, this is just a generic timeline that will not necessarily apply to everyone. However, it is important to be organized in your application process, and to ensure you are submitting all required materials before the deadlines. If you are interested in funding options and assistantships, the earlier you can get your application submitted, the better. Also, it is a wonderful practice to reach out to graduate faculty and supervisors of the programs in which you are applying to ensure it is a good fit. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the graduate programs at the College of Charleston or the application process.

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