Graduate School Application Timeline

Applying to graduate school is a lengthy process, one that should be started about one and a half years before you intend to enroll in an advanced degree program. Below is a suggestedtimeline of steps for your application process. Do not panic if you have not completed each step or if you are starting later. Each student’s process is different, so pick up where you need to for your style and schedule. Additionally, if you are starting this process later (senior year or after graduation) just take into account when you should begin taking action.

Junior Year:

  • Talk about your plans with your advisor, faculty members, and/or someone in the CCPD
  • Research schools and programs of interest
  • Request application materials from your schools of interest (note the deadlines)
  • Begin to approach faculty about writing recommendations
  • Register and prepare for required graduate school entrance exam(s)

Junior Year: Summer

  • Take required graduate school entrance exam(s)
  • Request applications, handbooks, and financial aid information from all schools of interest
  • Visit or speak with admission staff, current students, and faculty from schools of interest
  • Begin composing your personal statement and other application essays. Bring your drafts to the CCPD for review and feedback
  • Research financial aid sources

Senior Year: Fall Quarter

  • Obtain additional letters of recommendation from various different sources (faculty, SIP mentor, employer, etc.)
  • Submit completed application materials to each school (entrance exam scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statement[s], etc.)
  • Complete appropriate financial aid paperwork (FAFSA, etc.)

Senior Year: Spring Quarter

  • Follow-up on the status of your application while you are waiting to hear about admission
  • Visit your schools of interest to make final decisions
  • Interview, if necessary
  • Put thought into how to consider multiple offers or what your contingency plans may be
  • Once accepted, notify other schools of your choice
  • Send thank you notes to your references and let them know the good news

Most deadlines fall between January and March, but it is to your advantage to apply early. Submitting your application before the deadline is advantageous for schools with rolling admissions and sometimes it can affect the amount of funding available.