Grad Schools

The Graduate School Decision

Graduate school: Is it costly? Is it competitive? Consider this: Grad school is an opportunity to examine a field of your choice with more specificity and direction. It arms students with the tools needed to infiltrate the industry of their choice.

However, factors like cost and vocational inexperience cause some to think twice about pursuing an advance degree program immediately after undergraduate education. Preparation for grad school is required at all stages from your first year of college to your first year out of college.

Whether you are hesistant about the application process or uncertain about what program to pursue, this site will guide you towards making an informed decision.

Graduate School Timeline

One of the initial steps in applying to a graduate or professional school is to research 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:

Junior Year

  • Begin researching available programs
    • Talk to faculty/alumni/current students in the program
    • Review grad school guidelines/directories
    • Request promotional materials
    • Visit school's websites
  • Start exploring financial aid resources
  • Take a practice test
  • Sign up for required standardized test
  • Attend Career Services Graduate/Professional School Workshops
  • Attend Career Services Graduate/Professional School Day
  • Identify potential letter writers
  • Order an unofficial transcript and check for and correct any discrepancies
  • Take the required standardized test

Senior Year - Fall Semester

  • Write the first draft of your statement of purpose
  • Request your letters of recommendation from faculty
  • Order official transcripts
  • Write final draft of statement of purpose
  • Complete and mail your applications
  • Apply for aid available through program; assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, etc.

Senior Year - Spring Semester

  • Complete and submit financial aid applications
  • Visit prospective campuses if possible, and talk to faculty/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 and decline acceptances
  • Write thank you notes to people who helped you

Online Resources

  • Graduate School Essays - A number of links and articles on writing the personal statement for graduate school, including sample essays.
  • - A comprehensive source for graduate school information; can search for schools by subject and region.
  • Peterson's Graduate and Professional Schools - A comprehensive searchable database of graduate schools with many links to other resources on graduate school.
  • Princeton - Topics related to graduate school, admissions, financial aid, faculty, test preparation, etc.
  • - An excellent resource that includes sample essays, FAQs, writing tips, and numerous links.
  • - Graduate school rankings, plus financial aid, and career information.
  • Brain Track - Offers graduate school information; can search by school or profession.
  • Psychometric Success - Free online psychometric and aptitude tests.

Additional Information

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