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Timetable for Applying

Schools vary in their application deadlines often depending on how competitive the program. (Common deadlines are often Jan. 15th, March 1st, or June 1st). However, some programs such as medical or veterinary medicine have deadlines much earlier. When in doubt, check the application deadline dates for the programs you are interested in. This timetable is approximate but offers steps that you need to think about, no later than the summer before your senior year. It is a good idea to start sooner if possible!


  • Write a draft statement of purpose/personal statement. (Check out Career Services library resources: "How to Write a Winning Personal Statement" or "Graduate Admissions Essays – What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why".
  • Start browsing through .


  • Meet with faculty members that you know to discuss your personal statement and learn about possible programs.
  • Begin to develop your personal timeline for the application process.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Participate in Career Services/Kaplan Free Practice Exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, DAT). Check the Career Services Calendar for times and locations.
  • Sign up for required standardized tests. (GRE, MCAT, LSAT registration booklets available in Career Services).
  • Attend Career Services' "Thinking About Graduate School?" Workshop. Check the Career Services Calendar for times and locations.


  • Take standardized tests. See Entrance Exams.
  • Determine the schools to which you plan to apply and request application materials.
  • Finish your timeline based on each institution’s deadline and financial aid deadlines.
  • Complete your personal statement, adjusting it to meet each applications specific needs.
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.


  • Complete application forms (First, do a draft on a photocopy of the form).
  • Give your recommenders all the information that they will need to write recommendations for you for each of your application schools. (For example: a resume would be helpful).


  • Mail applications. Even if deadlines are later, it is good to get the applications in early.


  • Contact programs about the possibility of visiting. Make trips if possible.


  • If you are applying for need based financial aid programs, you may have to file a copy of your federal income tax return.

Timeline information taken from Graduate School and You (The Council of Graduate Schools).