Grad School Application Timeline

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[geo-in-name] timeline for grad school applications

This timeline for Grad School applications may help you kick start your grad-school planning and prepare for your graduate education. The fact is, there are countless things to keep track of when you’re applying to graduate school! Stay Organized…



1. Take a practice GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT and see how you score.

2. Order your GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT study materials, create a rigorous study schedule, and/or enroll in a course.

3. Consider any other tests you’ll need to take, such as subject tests or the TOEFL, and register for them. Order any necessary materials and create a study schedule.


4. Create a list of schools that interest you at the beginning of this time period, and finalize the list by the end.

5. If using hard copies of applications, order them now.

6. Begin to research scholarships, grants, and fellowships.

Need help creating your list of graduate programs… Click here to search our directory of graduate programs.


7. Continue with your study schedule.

8. At the beginning of the month, create a list of professors you’ll approach for recommendations. Be sure to have at least one as a backup in case someone falls through at the last minute. Request recommendations by the end of the month. Don’t forget to provide them with supplemental materials such as your resume

9. Draft your essay and other responses to short-answer questions.

10. Contact the schools that interest you. Speak with current students, alumni, and professors. Arrange a campus visit if possible.


11. Have your undergraduate school send transcripts to the graduate schools of your choice.

12. Check in with professors about your recommendations.

13. Request feedback from trusted professors, friends, and family on your essay and short-answers.

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14. If you haven’t taken your GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT yet, do so now!

15. Take any necessary subject tests.

16. Submit your applications, keeping a copy for your records.

17. Confirm that your recommendations were sent.

18. Finalize your essay and short-answers.

19. Apply for scholarships, grants, and fellowships.


20. This month is the latest you can take your tests and still be considered for Fall admission.

Most Ph.D. applications are due by the end of December or early January at the latest. Check your application packet for details. Send them in if you haven’t yet! Master’s applicants may have some more flexibility, but the earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting in, so plan to have all applications in the mail by the holiday season.

21. Confirm that your applications were received.


22. Complete the FAFSA online.

23. Prepare for and conduct grad school admissions interviews.


The hardest part, in some ways: try to relax as you wait.

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This is the month you will likely receive your letters of acceptance and/or rejection.

24. Start contacting the schools to which you’ve been accepted and consider a visit. If you were rejected from or waitlisted at a school you had your heart set on, contact their admissions department for feedback.


By now you’ve made a decision as to which school to attend. Woo-hoo!


25. Begin school, and congratulate yourself. The grueling application process is over.