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Graduate School Timelines

Last updated August 14, 2014

For Medical School Information and Timelines:

Preparing for Law School:

Other Graduate School Programs:

Freshman & Sophomore Year:

Start talking with faculty members about graduate school, various programs, requirements for admission, etc.
Begin finding experiences that will help you grow intellectually and will enhance your graduate school application (leadership and community activities, study/travel abroad, internships, research projects, service learning, etc).  Keep a journal of your activities so you can remember everything.
Strive to keep your GPA as high as possible, while taking challenging courses.  Graduate admissions representatives will look at the quality of courses you take, in addition to your GPA.


Junior Year:

Find a mentor.  Someone who has completed a similar program and can assist with your application process.  This person can also give you a realistic view of the graduate school experience.
Begin to investigate specific programs.  Make sure you feel a passion for the subject area.  If you have questions about what programs are available and where, visit Career Services.
Start to investigate schools and programs.  There are massive amounts of information on line, in the library, in each department and in Career Services.  Be sure to apply to more than one school.  Look into your financial aid options.
Stop in Career Services to get graduate test preparation information and test center information.  Plan to take your graduate test sometime between 2nd semester of your junior year and 1st semester of your senior year.
If you have written any researched essays, keep them on hand to use as a writing sample.  Begin thinking about your personal essay.
Map out a timeline for graduate school applications for your senior year.  This timeline will include deadline dates for admission, scholarship or fellowship opportunities, interviews, etc.


Senior Year:

Talk with faculty and alumni who have recently completed graduate school about their experiences and how to prepare.
Find out if faculty knows current/recent graduates of the program you are interested in pursuing.
Find out about graduate assistantships or fellowships available through the schools financial aid.
Apply to 5 or 6 graduate schools
Solicit letters of recommendation from three faculty members who know your work well. 
Write essays or personal statements to support your application.  For assistance, visit with your department and/or Career Services
Be prepared – send early!