Application Timeline

Researching, choosing, and applying to graduate school can be a lengthy process.

We recommend starting the process in the spring semester of your junior year, or about 18 months prior to the date you intend to start a graduate program.

Plan to submit graduate school applications by the end of the first semester of your senior year, or about nine months prior to starting a program.

The following is a general timeline for applying to graduate school. The Pre-Professional Advising Center provides more detailed and longer timelines for pre-health and pre-law students.

Spring of Junior Year

About 18 to 20 months prior to starting the program

Summer between Junior and Senior Year

About 16 months prior to starting the program

  • Take graduate entrance exams and submit results to your chosen schools.
  • Request updated application materials from your chosen schools.
  • Write your personal essay(s) and have them critiqued by a staff member in the Bearcat Promise Career Studio, a faculty member, and a friend or family member (someone who knows you well).
  • Double-check application deadlines and rolling admissions policies at your chosen schools. (Many medical-related and law schools have separate national application processes as well.)
  • Visit institutions you are most interested in, if possible.

Fall of Senior Year

About 12 months prior to starting the program

  • Complete applications, personal essays, and any other required information.
    • Set your own deadlines four to six weeks earlier than the actual deadlines.
    • Keep copies of all materials.
  • Request that official copies of your undergraduate transcripts be sent from the registrar's office directly to the graduate programs to which you are applying.
  • Ask professors and employers to write letters of recommendation. Make the process as easy as possible for them and give them plenty of time to write the letter(s). Carefully follow the instructions given by each graduate program.
  • After you submit your application(s), confirm that all application materials, recommendations, and test scores have been received by the deadlines. Do this well before the actual deadlines, in case you need to resend information, track down letters of recommendation, etc
  • Note the application deadlines for each program or school’s graduate assistant, research assistant, and fellowship positions. These are often different from the program application deadlines.
  • Apply for national scholarships and grants by their deadlines.

Winter of Senior Year

About eight months prior to starting the program

Spring of Senior Year

About five months prior to starting the program

  • Visit institutions that accepted you and continue your decision-making process.
  • Decide where you will enroll.
  • Send a deposit to your institution of choice.
  • Notify other institutions of your decision.
  • Send thank you notes to people who wrote references or recommendations for you to inform them of your plans and your success!