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  • General graduate school application timeline

    The ideal time to begin your planning for graduate/professional school is at least one year before you plan to start a graduate program. (Current students: Summer before your senior year of college)

    Everyone's timeline will vary based on field of interest, program and university, but this timeline can serve as a guide. Professional programs in health and medical fields may require applications to be submitted a year in advance of beginning a program.


    • Start a rough draft of your personal statement (statement of interest). 
    • Begin the search for graduate programs via websites and college catalogs
      • The Academic Advising Center has software that allows a student to search various programs
      • View Career Services Additional Links
    Don't limit yourself to only one program, search multiple programs.



    • Meet with faculty/staff members and Career Services staff to discuss your personal statement and learn about possible programs
    • Ask for letters of recommendation. Give your references at least a month to write a letter of recommendation. They may be writing letters for multiple people. Give them a copy of resume and personal statement to review.
    • Start to map our the application processes for each institution you are applying too. All programs vary in the deadlines and needs.
    • Sign up for the standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.) 
      • Visit the Counseling and Testing Center (1st Floor Wilder Hall) for more information. 



    • Take standardized tests.
    • Determine the schools you plan to apply to and request application materials.
    • Finish your timeline based on each institution's deadline and financial aid deadlines.
    • Complete your personal statement, adjust it to meet each application's specific needs.
    • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. (If fall semester grades are expected, then check with staff in the registrar's office to see if a transcript including fall semester grades can be sent in time to meet the deadlines of programs to which you are applying.)



    • Complete application forms. Make a copy of the form and practice before you fill out the official copy.
    • Give your references all the information that they will need to write recommendations for you for each of your application schools.



    • Mail applications. Even if deadlines are later, it is good to get the applications in early.



    • Contact programs about the possibility of visiting. Make trips if possible.



    • If you are applying for need based financial aid programs, you may have to file a copy of your federal income tax return.


    Congratulations!!!! Share the good news with Career Services & your references. 



    REFERENCE: Kidwell, Clara Sue & Hamblin, Jane A. (1999). Graduate School and You: A guide for prospective graduate students. Washington, D.C.: Council of Graduate Schools.