Get Organized About Applying to Graduate School!

Get Organized About Applying to Graduate School!

One of the areas where many students fall short is organizing and streamlining the graduate school application process. Actually, I have previously fallen victim to this fault myself – waiting until too late to get my ducks lined in a row to apply to graduate school. The end result? I did not get accepted to the Ph.D. programs I applied to. Avoid making these mistakes by following a timeline like this:

Twelve months prior to the application deadline:

* Determine which standardized tests are required
* Research graduate programs and request catalogs
* Calculate how much grad school will cost. How much will you spend on application fees, admission exams, transcripts, tuition, room and board.
* Set aside money for application fees, admission exams, transcripts, etc.

Ten months

* Take a practice test so you know what areas you will need to focus on while studying
* Request additional information from departments
* If you are an undergraduate, reinforce relationships with your professors
* Get more involved in your field
* Read each application carefully. Make a master calendar and task list.

Nine months

* Sign up for a GRE course
* Register for the GRE
* Draft a general statement of purpose outlining the reasons why you wish to attend graduate school. You will use some version of this in most applications

Seven months

* Narrow your choices
* Begin talking with your advisor and other professors about your graduate school goals
* Solicit letters of recommendation
* Begin investigating sources of funding
* Get and file applications for financial aid
* Complete your FAFSA
* Begin writing your statement of purpose

Six months

* Take the GRE. The earlier you take it, the more time you’ll have to improve your score.
* Identify and contact potential graduate advisors at a variety of schools

Five months

* Follow up with sources
* Request transcripts
* Verify transcripts are complete and correct
* Refine your personal statement

Three months

* Visit graduate schools
* Prepare for your interview
* Submit your applications