It is important to start gathering information early in order to be able to complete your applications on times. Most people should start the process a full year and a half before their anticipated date of matriculation. There are, however some exceptions to this rule.... Application deadlines may range from August (before your senior year) to later Spring/Summer (during your senior year). Most deadlines for the fall's entering class are between December and March. You should, in all cases, plan to meet formal deadlines; beyond this, you should be aware of the fact that many schools with rolling admissions encourage and act upon early applications.
How to: Get Accepted to Graduate School
Six Months Prior To Applying
- Research areas of interest, institutions and programs.
- Talk to your advisor and professors about interests and application requirements.
- Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
- Investigate national scholarships.
- If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendations.
- Contact school for application materials
Three Months Prior To Applying
- Take required admissions tests.
- Visit institutions of interest, if possible.
- Write your application essay.
- Check on application deadlines and rolling admission policies.
- Register for the national application or data assembly service most programs use, if needed for medical, dental, osteopathy, podiatry, or law school.
Fall, One Year Before Beginning Your Graduate Program
- Obtain letters of recommendation.
- Take graduate admission tests if you have not already done so.
- Send in completed applications.
January, Before Matriculating in the Fall
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE, if required. Do this as early in January if possible.
Spring, Before Matriculating in the Fall
- Check with all institutions before the deadline to make sure your file is complete.
- Visit the institutions that accept you.
- Send a deposit to your institution of choice.
- Notify other colleges and universities that accepted you of your decision so that they may admit students on their waiting list.
- Send thank-you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success.
Note: You may not be able to adhere to this timetable if your application deadlines are very early, as is the case with medical schools, or if you decided to attend graduate school at the last minute. In any case, keep in mind the various application requirements and be sure to meet all deadlines. If deadlines are impossible for you to meet, call the institution to determine if a late application will be considered.
(Adapted from Peterson’s Graduate & Professional Programs: An Overview 1996).