Graduate School Timeline

There are various aspects you need to think about when applying to graduate school. 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):

Considering Graduate School

  • Take a career self-assessment to discover your strengths and interests, and explore career options. Focus 2 is one free self-assessment (
  • Join a student organization that you are interested in (
  • Use the Handshake platform. This is where you can explore volunteer, internship, and/or part-time
  • employment opportunities.
  • If interested in research, the Office for Undergraduate Research ( is a resource.
  • Begin building professional relationships with academic professors, whom are also a good resource to ask about research opportunities.

Junior Year (if you're not taking any gap years)

  • Research graduate programs and attend graduate school fairs and/or information sessions. UCS participates in hosting a Graduate & Professional School Info Fair in the fall (h
  • If a graduate program does not have any upcoming information sessions, you can e-mail the admissions coordinator or program director to see if they can connect you with any current students or alumni.
  • Determine if the programs you are interested in require an entrance exam (GRE/GMAT). Take a practice test and register for the exam. Create your study strategy to prepare for the exam. Some GRE/GMAT Prep information can be found here.

Summer before the Fall Application Season

  • Update your resume or CV. For resume/CV assistance, you can schedule an appointment with University Career Services via
  • Contact admissions representatives at graduate programs you are considering to inquire about any information you cannot find on their program's website, such as financial aid or graduate assistantship information and jobs recent graduates have obtained.
  • Narrow your list of schools and make an applications and funding deadline calendar or spreadsheet. Note that PhD program application deadlines may be at the end of November or early December. Masters' program application deadlines vary, but it's best to try to submit your application within the fall semester.

Fall Semester that you Apply

  • Contact your references to determine if they can write you a letter of recommendation that fall. You may need to schedule a brief meeting with them or go to their office hours to talk more about the programs you are interested in and your future career aspirations. Make sure to ask for the LOR 4-6 weeks in advance.
  • Polish your resume/CV; you can make an appointment with UCS for assistance with your resume/CV.
  • Craft your personal statement/statement of purpose and get others' feedback on your drafts.
  • Order official transcripts to be sent to the graduate programs you are applying to.
  • Complete and submit all components of your applications.

Spring after you've applied

  • Talk to alumni and faculty to help you make your final decision. Visit prospective campuses if possible- sit in on classes, go on a campus tour, research housing and transportation options, etc.
  • After receiving acceptance from your best 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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