Applying to Graduate School

Applying to Graduate School

It’s important to start gathering information early when applying to graduate school. Majority of people start the process a year and a half before enrolling, however, the process differs from person to person depending upon scholarship opportunities. You must ensure your entrance exams and letters of recommendation are turned in early to ensure application deadlines are met. Application deadlines range from August to late spring/summer. Most deadlines for entry in the fall semester are between January and March. It is important to note that most schools that have a rolling admissions process act on upon early applications, so it is highly important that you are prepared to start the process early. In general, there is an advantage in applying early. This allows the admissions committee more time to review the subjective components of your application instead of just the numbers. And, applications are not rejected early unless they are well below an institutions’s standards.

Timeline for Applying

Six+ Months Prior

  • Research areas of interests, institutions, and programs
  • Talk to advisors about application requirements
  • Register and prepare for graduate entrance exams
  • Look into national scholarships
  • Obtain letters of recommendation

Three Months Prior

  • Take required graduate entrance exams
  • Write application materials
  • Write your application essay
  • Check on application deadlines and rolling admissions policies

Fall- a year before enrolling

  • Obtain letters of recommendation
  • Take graduate entrance exams, if you haven’t already
  • Send in completed applications

Winter- before enrolling in the fall

  • Complete FAFSA form and Financial Aid paperwork

Spring- before enrolling in the fall

  • Check in with institutions before their deadlines to make sure your file is complete
  • Visit institutions that accepted you
  • Send a deposit to your institution of choice
  • Notify other colleges and universities of your decision so they can admit those on their waiting lists
  • Send thank you letters to those who wrote your recommendation

Presented with permission from Peterson’s by Virtual Ink Press,

Contact Us

If you would like to talk with us one on one, send us an email to make an appointment at or stop by our office in the Learning Commons Academic Resources Suite, Room 126 &127. Our office has several handouts and pamphlets that also provide valuable information to help you along the way.