You may begin preparing for graduate school earlier, but the following timeline will help you tackle the process step-by-step and on time.
THIRD YEAR SUMMER
- Research potential schools and identify deadlines and application requirements from specific schools you are interested in attending.
- Prepare for required entrance exams.
- Take entrance exams now or in fall.
- Begin drafting application essays and your Statement of Purpose.
- Consider which faculty members to ask for letters of recommendation.
FOURTH YEAR FALL
- Finalize your list of prospective schools.
- Familiarize yourself with the professors who share your research interests at each school.
- Consider visiting schools and meeting with school representatives.
- Ask faculty members for letters of recommendation.
- Research sources of financial aid.
- Take entrance exams if you did not during the summer
- Check and record the due date for each application.
- Have application essays critiqued (by your faculty, grad students you’ve worked closely with, the Writing Center, and/or career counselors).
- Practice answering admissions interview questions, if applicable.
- Research scholarship, fellowship and assistantship opportunities; complete financial aid documents.
- Submit materials for early decision if applicable.
- Arrange for your official transcript to be sent to each program you apply to and request that the Registrar hold your transcript until the Fall Semester grades are in (unless application is due earlier in December).
- Submit all application materials to schools.
- Keep copies of every section for your records.
- Verify that letters of recommendation have been sent.
- Many schools will send a message upon receipt of each application – track yours.
FOURTH YEAR SPRING
- Continue visiting schools if possible.
- Ensure your application is submitted by the appropriate school deadlines.
- Depending on your field, start planning for the admissions interview.
- Visit schools you’ve been accepted to and discuss acceptances and rejections with a faculty member, your mentor, or career counselor at UVA.
- Respond to all offers – both accepts and turn downs. Turning an offer down politely could help you if you interact with those from other schools later as colleagues.