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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.