Junior Year and Earlier

For the advanced planner, you can begin your graduate school search preparation by taking these steps:

  • Complete a self-assessment.  Contact the Center for Career Development at career@drew.edu for information on MyPlan to take an inventory of your skills, interests, and personality type.
  • Seek advice and guidance from Drew professors. Get to know them and let them get to know you as a person as well as a student.
  • Determine your area(s) of interest.
  • Work with Drew professors on research projects or as an academic assistant. If possible, have your work published.
  • Consider which professors might be able to write your letters of recommendation.
  • Begin to identify possible programs.
  • Become a regular reader of current research journals in your field.
  • Review professional journals and gather names of professors and universities involved in research projects in your area of interest. Contact them to indicate your interest in their work
  • Start to review individual university websites.
  • If possible, enroll in a summer program at an institution you would like to attend for graduate school
  • Make plans to get practical experience in your field during the summer or school year. Do research, an internship, tutor, or volunteer.
  • Join and attend professional organization meetings/conventions at the local, state, and national levels and on- campus clubs in your field.
  • Earn membership in national honor societies.
  • Maintain the highest possible GPA.
  • Investigate requirements for national scholarships and fellowships.
  • Begin to prepare for the required standardized admission testing and decide when to take the tests.
  • Be organized. Keep track of all the information you accumulate.
  • DON’T PANIC! Most students do not start serious planning until the summer before their senior year.  If you were able to get a head start, great! If  not, then just keep to a schedule during the summer and in the early fall of your senior year.

Summer Between Junior and Senior Years:

  • Complete all of the steps listed above.
  • Determine if you meet the prerequisites.
  • Compare programs and make a preliminary list of the institutions that interest you.
  • Take a review course and/or practice for the required standardized admissions tests.
  • Visit institutions that you are interested in.
  • As you gain more information, narrow down your list of possible institutions that you will apply to.
  • Review application requirements of each institution.
  • Find out the application deadlines

o    When does the institution begin accepting applications?

o    Does the institution have fixed deadlines or rolling admissions policies?

  • Research requirements for national scholarships and fellowships.
  • Review financial aid information at these institutions, learn what is available and how to apply for it.
  • Estimate the expenses related to applying to graduate school.
  • Register for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

As you know, your schedule will be very busy once you are back on campus. A head start will be very helpful.

Senior Year

September

  • Meet with faculty members to discuss your personal statement and your preliminary list of programs.
  • Finalize your list.
  • Choose recommenders and meet with them.
  • Visit the Center for Career Development for help in writing your personal statement and/or updating your resume.
  • Continue to practice for the GRE if you have not already taken it.
  • Schedule time each week to work on applications and essays.

October

  • Take the GRE if you have not done so already.
  • Continue to work on applications and submit them if you are ready.
  • Write drafts of statements of purpose and begin to have them reviewed.
  • Request official transcripts to be sure that they are sent in enough time to meet deadlines.
  • Complete financial aid forms.  These forms are often due before application deadlines.
  • Prepare for the GRE Subject Test if required for your program.

November/December

Note: The competitiveness of programs and rolling admissions policies will determine how much time you really have!

  • Contact your recommenders and politely remind them of deadlines.
  • Finalize your essay/statement of purpose.
  • Take the GRE Subject Test if required.
  • Submit applications if you have not already done so.

January/February

  • Follow-up to be sure that all applications, letters of recommendation, and transcripts were received.
  • Participate in any required auditions or pre-selection interviews.
  • Think about alternatives to graduate school.

March/April

  • Try to visit colleges that have accepted you.
  • Accept or decline offers.
  • Evaluate your financial situation when you learn the amount of aid that will be available to you. Determine how you will obtain the rest of the funds needed.
  • Contact your recommenders to tell them about your good news about your acceptance.