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One of the initial steps in applying to a graduate or professional school is to research schools and learn their application deadlines so that you can develop a timeline of when to submit test scores, letters of recommendation, personal essays, etc. Below is a timeline to help you in planning your application process. If you are taking a gap year(s) you can use this as a guide to plan backwards from your intended application year.

Junior year or earlier

Senior year

Fall Semester

  • Write the first draft of your statement of purpose
  • Request your letters of recommendation
  • Order official transcripts
  • Write the final draft of your statement of purpose
  • Complete and submit your applications
  • Apply for the financial aid available through the graduate program: assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, etc.

Spring Semester

  • Complete and submit federal and state financial aid applications
  • Visit prospective campuses if possible and talk to faculty and students to help you make your final decision
  • Follow-up with schools to make sure your file is complete
  • After receiving acceptance from the school of your choice, send in the required deposit and contact other schools to decline acceptances
  • Write thank you notes to people who helped you