Sample Timeline for Applying to Graduate or Professional School

Below is a typical timeline for applying to grad or professional school. Please keep in mind that deadlines vary by institution and program. 

Junior Year

August- December:

  • Consult with faculty regarding your interests and programs you might like to pursue
  • Visit the Career Development Center for additional career guidance
  • Research potential schools and programs and utilize the postgraduate assessment form
  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admissions tests, i.e.. GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test), GRE (Graduate Record Examination), LSAT (Law School Admission Test), MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), etc.…

January- June:

  • Conduct more detailed research- find out about financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships
  • Review the application process and become familiar with admissions requirements and procedures
  • Contact program directors and faculty from schools that interest you and ask thoughtful, specific questions
  • Take graduate admissions practice tests to determine how much test prep you'll need
  • Register with national application services, if appropriate, like the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®)

Senior Year

July- September:

  • Ask your prospective program(s) about application fee waivers, especially if you are applying to multiple institutions. If the institution is unable to waive the application fee, research national or international organizations like this one, which reimburses up to $300 in application fees for eligible PhD programs. 
  • Begin drafting your statement of purpose/personal statement
  • Take the required graduate admissions test. Be aware of deadlines
  • Request official transcripts from your undergraduate institution(s)
  • Contact your recommenders and send them supplemental materials (resume, personal statement, etc.…)

October- March:

  • Continue to polish your statement of purpose/personal statement
  • Make contact with current students at your prospective schools and/or arrange a campus visit
  • Submit completed application materials. 
    • Don't forget your financial aid applications
    • Admissions test reports: You must request that score reports be sent to your schools of choice
    • Official transcripts
    • Letters of rec: Submit requests to faculty at least 4-6 weeks in advance of application deadlines
    • Application essays/personal statement
    • Portfolios, resumes, auditions, or other materials: Send as requested

April-June:

  • Track admissions decisions and check on the status of your application
  • Once accepted to a program of your choice, notify other institutions of your decision
  • Send thank-you notes to your recommenders and inform them of your plans