Graduate School Timetable

If you are thinking about graduate school there are general dates to keep in mind. Application deadlines may range from August (before your senior year) for early decision programs of medical schools using the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) to late spring or summer (after your senior year) for a few programs with rolling admissions.

Most deadlines for the entering class in the fall are between January and March. You should plan to meet formal deadlines in all cases; beyond this, be aware of the fact that many institutions with rolling admissions encourage and act upon early applications. Applying early to an institution is usually advantageous, as it demonstrates your enthusiasm for the program and gives admissions committees more time to evaluate the subjective components of your application, rather than just the numbers. Applicants are not rejected early unless they are clearly below an institution's standards. Additionally, applying early will allow you more opportunities to pursue graduate assistantships.

The timetable that appears below represents the ideal for most students who wish to enter graduate school upon graduation.

Junior Year, Fall and Spring

  • Research areas of interest, institutions and programs.
  • Discuss with advisors about application requirements.
  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
  • Investigate national scholarships.
  • If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendation.

Junior Year, Summer

  • Take required graduate admission tests.
  • Write for application materials.
  • Visit institutions of interest, if possible.
  • Compose your application essay/personal statement.
  • Check on application deadlines and rolling admissions policies.
  • For medical, dental, osteopathy, podiatry, or law school, you may need to register for the national application or data assembly service most programs use.

Senior Year, Fall

  • Complete resume, letter of application, and personal statement.
  • Obtain letters of recommendation.
  • Take graduate admission tests, if you have not already done so.
  • Send in completed applications.
  • Get ready to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), if required.

Senior Year, Spring

  • Check with all institutions before the deadline to ensure your file is complete.
  • Visit institutions that accept you.
  • Send a deposit to your institution of choice.
  • Notify other colleges and universities that have accepted you of your decision so they may admit students on their waiting list.
  • Send thank you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success.

You may not be able to adhere to this timetable if your application deadlines are very early, as is the case with medical school, or if you decide to attend graduate school at the last minute. In any case, keep in mind the various application requirements and be sure to meet all deadlines. If deadlines are impossible to meet, call the institution to see if a late application will be considered. Decisions are often made by April, but this varies with each institution. Decisions can be made as late as June.

Helpful Web Sites

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