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Graduate School Timeline

There are various aspects you need to think about when applying to graduate school. Please schedule a Graduate School Preparation appointment  for assistance with any of these elements. Below is a timeline to help you in planning your graduate application process (please note, this is only a tentative timeline as you may choose to take time off after graduating with your bachelor's degree):

Early considerations when preparing for graduate school

  • Join a student organization at UNC that you are interested in. This will allow you to network with other students that share similar interests and could enhance your teamwork and communication abilities. 
  • Join the Handshake platform and update your profile. This is where you can explore volunteer, internship, and/or full-time and part-time employment opportunities, along with register for career fairs and workshops!
  • Identify 2 or 3 professors you may contact for recommendation letters and build professional relationships with them. LinkedIn is also helpful in building professional relationships!

Junior Year (if not taking any gap years)

  • Research graduate programs and attend graduate school fairs. UCS has a Graduate & Professional School Info Fair every fall. Check our UCS Events page for information about the fair along with any workshop opportunities. 
  • Determine if the programs you are interested in require an entrance exam (GRE/GMAT). Register for the exam and take practice tests. Begin creating your study strategy to prepare. Plan to take the exam early, as it takes time to have scores sent.
  • View your unofficial transcript on ConnectCarolina and correct any discrepancies.

Summer before the Fall Application Season

  • Write a rough first draft of your personal statement.
  • Compile a draft of your resume.
  • Narrow your list of schools and make an applications and funding deadline calendar.
  • Contact admissions representatives at programs you are considering to make sure you have the preparation and application elements you need to apply as a competitive candidate. 

Fall Semester that you Apply

  • Revise and polish your personal statement with help from UCS and the Writing Center.
  • Format and polish your resume; make an appointment with UCS for assistance with your resume.
  • Request your letters of recommendation (at least a month in advance is suggested).
  • Order official transcripts from the Registrar's Office (some graduate programs will accept an unofficial transcript, so make sure to double check the application).
  • Complete and submit all components of your applications.
  • Inquire about financial aid opportunities including assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships.

Spring after you've applied

  • If you have a scheduled interview and need help to prepare, you can schedule a 60-minute Graduate School Preparation appointment with UCS to do a mock interview.
  • Talk to faculty and students to help you make your final decision.
  • Visit prospective campuses if possible- sit in on classes, get a campus tour, look into housing and transportation options, etc. When talking with students, be sure to ask about their experiences in the program- has the program been rewarding, have there been challenges, have they had any mentorship in the program, etc.
  • Contact the program's admissions representative to determine if they have any data about the program- what jobs recent graduates have obtained, average salary of graduates, are career services offered, etc.
  • After receiving acceptance from your best-fitting option, send in the required deposit; make sure to contact other schools to decline any additional acceptances.
  • Be sure to send thank you e-mails to the people that helped you!
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