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O’Brien Center for Student Success

Application Timelines

Here is a sample timeline for researching school and applying to Graduate School.

Junior Year - Fall

  • Research schools and programs. Use on- line resources on “Graduate School web resources section” of O’Brien Center for Student Success website
  • Consult with faculty/advisors about your interests and the nature of grad study you might like to pursue.
  • Obtain application forms, grad school catalogs, and financial aid information. Note deadlines.

Junior Year - Spring

  • Begin to approach faculty and/or professionals who know your work for recommendation letters.
  • Register and begin preparing for appropriate graduate admissions tests.

Summer after Junior Year

  • Take required graduate admission tests (GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, etc.) Know deadlines and minimum time needed for scoring.
  • Request applications, handbooks/bulletins, and financial aid information from all schools of interest.
  • Visit or talk to admissions staff, current students and faculty at programs of interest. Be sure to look at the faculty’s research interests.
  • Begin drafting application essays in time to get feedback from career counselors and advisor(s) before applying.
  • Gather information about financial aid resources, including assistantships (teaching, research, administrative), scholarships, and fellowships.

Senior Year - Fall

  • Obtain additional letters of recommendation from faculty and /or professionals with whom you have worked.
  • Request that recommendation letters be mailed at least three weeks before any application deadline, to ensure they are processed by the deadline.
  • Mail completed application materials, including financial aid packages. Application materials generally include:
    • Application Form
    • Admissions test reports (sent by the testing service to schools you specify)
    • Transcripts – request that your college mail them directly to the graduate institution, or you may get copies issued to you and you can mail them with your application.
    • Letters of Recommendation (if not sent by the recommender)
    • Application Essays/Personal Statements (see handout in the Career & Co-op Center office)
    • Other materials requested.
    • For financial aid, be sure to complete the needed applications. Check with each school for financial aid application requirements and forms.

Senior Year - Spring

  • Follow-up to check the status of your application.
  • Visit institutions of interest (optional) to help evaluate your options.
  • Interview, if needed.
  • Choose among schools. Be prepared to consider multiple offers. How will you decide? Also prepare for the possibility that you may not get any offers. What is your contingency plan?
  • Once accepted to a program, notify other institutions of your choice.
  • Send thank-you notes to those who wrote you recommendation letters, informing them of your plans.