Application Timetable for Graduate School

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If youre thinking about going to graduate school, you should begin planning at least 15 months before the program starts.

Here is a typical application timetable:

June to August

  • Think about what type of graduate school you want to attend and what you want to achieve.
  • Compile a list of potential graduate schools youd like to attend.
  • Visit the grad school websites to see what the application process is like
  • Start thinking about who should write recommendations for you
  • Research financial aid sources for grad students
  • Find out what standardized tests youll need to take – and how much time youll need to prepare. For example: GMAT (Business School), LSAT (Law School), MCAT (Medical School), GRE (Humanities) . . .
  • Research test preparation courses for your program


  • Request applications if the schools website doesnt provide it online
  • Register for any standardized tests you need to take
  • Write a first draft of your application essay
  • Take a test preparation course
  • Start visiting graduate schools you are serious about attending
  • Request your undergraduate transcripts
  • Create a list of schools you plan on applying to (with their application deadlines)


  • Start talking with those people you want to recommend you, and ask them to submit their recommendation within a month
  • Take your standardized exam(s)


  • Write a second draft of your positioning paper
  • Submit your applications for financial aid
  • Make sure all recommendation letters have been sent in


  • Complete your final draft of your application essay and have it proofread by several different people
  • Submit your loan/scholarship applications
  • Send in your application essays, forms, et al. to the schools


  • Prepare yourself for any upcoming interviews at the grad schools you applied to
  • Make sure all the grad schools have received your complete application

Upon Acceptance

  • Notify the school you plan on attending
  • Plan on leaving your job
  • Have a party – and get ready for several years of hard work and drinking tons of coffee

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