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Graduate School Timeline

This timeline outlines, in general terms, what you should be doing in preparation for graduate school. The timeframe refers to what needs to happen in advance of the semester you begin your program, (for example, 2 years in Advance of Fall 2011 or Fall 2012).

Thinking about graduate school later in your college years? That's okay- just use this list as a reference for the things you should be doing and thinking about as you prepare for graduate study.

2.5 Years in Advance

  • Discuss your interests for post BA/BS work with your advisor and faculty member.
  • Begin to define or inquire about specialties in your chosen field.

2 Years in Advance

  • Meet with the Center for Career Development staff, academic advisors, and faculty to discuss your interests, learning style needs, etc.
  • Become knowledgeable of the resources available to you and develop a list of schools of interest.

1.5 Years in Advance

  • Get more intense with your research and become even more familiar with the programs that look like a good fit for you. Ask faculty members for their input and advice.
  • Investigate fellowships, scholarships and financial aid. Fellowship assistance can be obtained in the Academic Advising Office and the Provost Office.

1 Year in Advance

  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
  • Have a list of 6-12 target schools. Visit as many of these campuses as possible.
  • Begin to acquire letters of recommendation.
  • If necessary, request application material. Get started on your application essay. Set a timeline for yourself on application deadlines.

9 Months in Advance

  • Confirm and collect recommendation letters (3-5).
  • Take necessary admission tests if you haven't already.
  • Make copies of all application material and mail completed applications.
  • Request transcripts from the registrar and send additional transcripts as necessary.

6 Months in Advance

  • Call all schools to which you have applied and confirm that your file is complete - do this prior to the application deadline.
  • Keep faculty members informed of your application status.
  • Visit all programs of acceptance and evaluate offers. Notify all accepted and rejected schools.
  • Consider deferring admittance if that is available.

3 Months in Advance

  • Make up any and all academic deficiencies or get a head start and enroll in a graduate class.
  • Thank all recommenders for their support, assistance, and encouragement. Keep in touch with faculty.
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