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Application Timetable and Checklist

Start your research

  • Use multiple sources to research programs
  • “What schools should I consider? Where do I want to live? What schools offer my area of study?”
  • Visit campuses and communities

Tip: Ask for faculty insight and recommendation letters. Give them as much lead time as possible! 

Review the application process

  • Scan application forms, curriculum catalogs and financial aid information to become familiar with requirements, procedures and programs
  • Track deadlines and make note on your calendar now for future planning
  • Prep for tests
  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admissions tests. Consider preparing for the test and taking it now to allow time for retesting if necessary. Be aware of deadlines and minimum time needed for scoring to ensure that you meet school deadlines
  • Some professional programs use a clearinghouse for applications (law and medicine). Do your research and begin gathering the information required by that clearinghouse

Collect forms

  • Collect application forms and financial aid applications so you can begin to prepare them in the early fall.

Tip: If applying online, print the application form first to make notes and ensure you have complete information available to submit the application online. 

Investigate target schools

  • Visit or speak with admissions staff, current students and faculty at programs of interest. Be sure to investigate faculty research interests.
  • Begin writing a rough draft of your personal statement or essay. Polish it as much as possible, keeping in mind that you will tailor a final version for each program you are applying to.

Tip: Begin drafting your statement early, so you have time to get feedback from Career Services and your academic advisor(s) before applying.

Click here for more information on crafting a personal statement.

Think about the bottom line

  • Find out about financial aid, scholarships, fellowships and teaching or research assistantships.

Admissions test reports

  • You must request that score reports be sent to your schools of choice.


  • Official transcripts must be sent through the registrar’s office, but you may request copies and mail them as a courtesy with your application.

Letters of recommendation

  • Meet with faculty again to discuss your program choices and give them information they will need to write the recommendations.
  • Submit requests to faculty at least a month in advance of application deadlines.

Visit Career Services

  • Schedule a critique for application essays/personal statement
  • Finalize versions of your personal statement to address each program’s specific requirements.


  • All applications even though they are not yet due. Many schools pay special attention to early applications. Call to check that all materials were received.

Financial aid applications

  • Portfolios, resumes, auditions, or other materials

Track admissions decisions

  • Follow up to check on the status of your application
  • Visit institutions of interest
  • Evaluate your options and interview if necessary or desired
  • Choose among schools. Be prepared to consider multiple offers

 Share your decision

  • Once accepted to a program of your choice, notify other institutions of your decision.
  • Send thank-you notes. Include those who wrote recommendation letters, and inform them of your plans.

  • Complete essay/goal statement
  • Take admission test
  • Secure letters of recommendation
  • Request transcripts
  • Submit application(s)
  • Complete financial aid forms
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