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.
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