Timeline for Application to Graduate School

The information below is a suggested timeline for when you should begin to prepare for your application to graduate school. It goes through all the steps in the application process—from beginning your research through your acceptance to the program.

Junior Year – Fall and Spring

  • Scan the landscape. Begin to use multiple resources to start researching programs you find interesting.
  • Ask for faculty insight. Meet with faculty members from your major about your interests and how they relate to programs you may like to pursue.
  • Review the application process. Start looking at application forms, program curriculum catalogs, and information from Financial Aid to become familiar with the requirements of your possible programs.
  • Track deadlines. Make note of all applicable deadlines to help with goal-setting and future planning.
  • Letters of Recommendation. Begin to ask faculty for letters of recommendation. You will want to give them plenty of time to complete letters before deadlines approach.
  • Prep for tests. Register for necessary tests and begin to study early on.

Junior Year – Summer

  • Take required admissions tests. Keep deadlines and the minimum amount of time needed for scoring in mind.
  • Collect forms. Make sure to collect all of the necessary forms needed for application and financial aid. If you plan on applying online, you can print the forms first to make sure you have all of the necessary information ready to go.
  • Investigate target schools. Begin to reach out to Admissions staff at schools of your interest. You can visit the campus, reach out to current students, and also to faculty in the program to collect information.
  • Draft application essays. Begin to think about what should be in an application essay and what you would like to write about. Give yourself plenty of time to get feedback from faculty and The Writing Center.
  • Conduct more detailed research. Start researching more about what kind of financial aid is available, scholarships, fellowships, and teaching/research assistantships.

Senior Year – Fall

  • Assess your recommendation letters. Make sure you know how letters should be submitted to the school.
  • Think about the bottom line. When it comes to your financial aid options, check with each school for information about application requirements and forms you may need to fill out.
  • Mail completed materials
    • Financial aid applications: Do not forget these! They are just as important as the school application!
    • Admission test results: You have to request that results be sent to the appropriate schools.
    • Transcripts: These must be sent through the IU Southeast Registrar's Office.
    • Letters of recommendation: Submit the letters at least one month before the application deadline.
    • Application essay: Make sure your essay is critiqued before submission.
    • Portfolios, CVs, resumes, auditions, or other materials: Send as requested. Look at application pages to see what is required.

Senior Year – Spring

  • Track admissions decisions. Follow up with schools to check on the status of your submitted application.
  • Make visits to campuses. Begin to evaluate your options and complete interview process if it is required.
  • Choose among schools. Be prepared to make a decision if you end up receiving multiple offers.
  • Share your decision. Once you choose your school, notify the other institutions of your decision.
  • Send thank-you notes. Do not forget about the people who wrote your recommendation letters! Let them know what you have decided and what your plans are.
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