Exact timelines depend on the needs of the individual, but here are some recommendations:
Six months prior to applying (e.g., toward the end of Junior Year)
- Research areas of interest, institutions, and programs.
- Talk to advisers about application requirements.
- Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
- Investigate national scholarships.
- Obtain letters of recommendation, if appropriate
Three months prior to applying (e.g. the summer before Senior Year)
- Take required graduate admission tests.
- Request/download application materials.
- Write the first draft of your application essay.
- Check on application deadlines and rolling admissions policies.
- If appropriate, register for the national application or
data assembly service (e.g. Law; most health fields)
Fall, a year before matriculating
- Obtain letters of recommendation
- Take graduate admission tests if you haven’t already.
- Send in completed applications
Winter, before matriculating in the fall
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) and the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE, if required.
Spring, before matriculating in the fall
- Check with all institutions before their deadlines to make sure your file is complete.
- If possible, visit institutions that accept you.
- Send a deposit to your institution of choice.
- Notify other institutions of your decision so that they move to their wait list.
- Send thank you notes to your recommenders, informing them of the outcome.