You should start thinking about the admissions process earlier
than you probably think. Ideally, if you are an undergraduate,
you should begin the application process the summer before
your senior year. This means that you've done all your school
search homework and collected all the needed forms beforehand.
If you've already graduated from college, you should begin
applying a year before you plan to enter school, preferably
Check admissions deadlines with each school - they're often
quite different from program to program. Some grad schools
admit new students only for fall term, but others allow students
to enroll at several times in the year.
complicate things, financial aid deadlines are often earlier
than the last admissions deadline. Schools that admit students
at several points in the year will often have financial aid
available only for those entering in the fall. So planning
is critical if you want to ensure that you'll have all the
pieces of your application ready in time.
programs by collecting information and speaking with faculty,
grad students and professionals in your field.
visits to programs.
what tests are required for admission, and take a diagnostic
test to evaluate potential areas of weakness.
a list of potential recommenders.
campuses, speak with department members.
drafting personal statement.
a resume geared toward academic interests and research abilities.
choice programs, order newest application.
about financial aid deadlines and required applications.
before graduate school begins.
recommenders and, if possible, arrange a meeting.
all necessary info to them two months in advance.
others to read your personal statement(s). Finalize the
with current students and recent alumni in your choice programs.
and mail applications.
copies of everything you send.
your recommenders of deadlines, if necessary.
for financial aid. Complete the FAFSA no earlier than January
1st but no later than the campus and/or state deadline.
any forms required by your school's financial aid office.
award letter and, if necessary, consider educational loans
to bridge the gap between financial aid awarded and total