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.
* 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.
* 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
* 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
* 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
* Follow up with sources
* Request transcripts
* Verify transcripts are complete and correct
* Refine your personal statement
* Visit graduate schools
* Prepare for your interview
* Submit your applications