Junior year of college:
Collect information on graduate degrees, programs and universities that interest you. We recommend www.petersons.com, www.gradschools.com and www.gradsource.com as great starting points. You can also find information about PASSHE graduate programs by visiting www.passhe.edu.
Summer prior to your senior year in college:
- Narrow your selections based on type of degree, program curriculum, size of school, research interests of faculty (try to find a match to your own), opportunities for assistantships, costs, location… We recommend a top three and a backup 2 for a total of five universities to which you will apply.
- Mark your planner for deadlines for each school: application forms, deposits, essays, test scores, transcripts, resume, letters of recommendation.
- If you haven't done so already, take the necessary tests for admissions, depending on what your target programs require.
- Consider which faculty members to ask for letters of recommendation. These should be your primary faculty of your undergraduate years, and the ones who can best write about your cognitive abilities.
Eight to nine months prior to graduation (start of senior year):
- Research sources of financial aid.
- Examine each of the program applications. Note any questions or essay topics that will require your careful attention.
- Write a draft of your application essay/statement of purpose. Click here for some good advice.
- Ask a faculty member or a staff member of the Career Center to read your essay and provide feedback.
- Ask faculty members for letters of recommendation. Provide faculty with a copy of your transcript, each program's recommendation form, and your essay/statement of purpose.
Six to seven months prior to graduation:
- Arrange for your official transcript to be sent to each program to which you apply.
- Finalize your essays/statement of purpose. Don't forget to seek input from others. Get help here.
- Apply for assistantships and other sources of financial aid, as applicable.
- Confirm the due date for each application.
Four to five months prior to graduation…
- Complete the application forms for each program. Scan the form into your computer or use a typewriter for a neat and clean application form. Reread your essay/statement of purpose. Don’t rely on spell check alone—have a human proof it!
- Mail your applications.
- Most schools send a postcard upon receipt of each application. Keep track of these. If you don't receive a postcard or letter, contact the admissions office to ensure that your application has been received before the deadline.
Three months prior to graduation…
- Depending on your field, start planning for the admissions interviews. What questions will you ask? Prepare your answers to common questions. Contact the Career Center for a mock interview.
- Fill out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application if you need money for grad school. You'll need your tax forms to do this.
Two months prior to graduation...
- Visit schools to which you've been accepted.
- Discuss acceptances and rejections with a faculty member or a staff member of the Career Center.
- Notify the program of your acceptance.
- Notify programs that you're declining.