Applying to Graduate School

Comic Credit: PHD Comics

Last week, I shared some tips on how to find a graduate school that fits your personality and your academic goals. This week, I cover the general timeline in applying to any graduate program. Below is a basic foundation of everything that needs to be done, stretched over twelve months. This is mostly to keep you sane as you apply to grad schools; I chose to do it all within a matter of three months since I’m such a procrastinator. Other than giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for the entrance exam, I highly recommend that you provide at least a month’s notice to those who will be writing a letter of recommendation for you.

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

Related Posts:
The New GRE
The College of Charleston now offers an MBA
And another semester begins…

One thought on “Applying to Graduate School

  1. […] to travel abroad this summer. We will cover many topics as usual. You can expect to read tips on how to apply to graduate school, about events in the Lowcountry, and where you can find additional sources of […]

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