Graduate School Timeline

Thinking of Graduate School? Have you set a goal for yourself that includes additional education and training? To prepare yourself for Graduate or Professional School, the process must start long before you fill out the first application. Below is an approximate timetable that will assist you in meeting your goals.

Junior Year - Fall Semester

  • Investigate areas of interests - Talk with professors and professionals, learn what they studied and where. Utilize the Career Resource Library, SIGI 3 and O*Net to research careers and academic requirements.
  • Investigate schools and specific programs - Gather information. Utilize the Peterson's Guides in the Career Development Center. Discuss your plans and programs with faculty members.
  • Determine requirements - Learn the exact requirements for admission. Compare programs and note specific requirements of each. Make an appointment with the Career Development Center to make a plan.
  • Take Practice Exam - Sign up for a FREE Graduate Entrance Exam Practice Test given by Kaplan twice a year on the CMU campus. Be sure to utilize Learning Express Library for practice tests. Also, in the Career Resource Library in the Career Development Center you will find study guides and flash cards.

Junior Year - Spring Semester

  • Study for Graduate Entrance Exam - Many programs do not accept your highest score on the Graduate Entrance Exam if you took it more than once. Many programs will average your score. So check to find out and make sure you devote about three months to studying.
  • Select between five and 15 schools to apply to - However, at least apply to:
    • Two "reach" schools
    • Two "probable" schools
    • Two "safe" schools

Summer between Junior and Senior year

  • Take Graduate Entrance Exam - Testing site instructions and how to reserve a seat. Graduate Entrance Exam Testing.
  • Request application materials from targeted programs - Determine the schools to which you plan to apply and download or request application materials.
  • Work on Personal Statement - Note the topic that each school wants you to write on, it will vary. Sample statements are available in the Career Development Center.
  • Compile possible writing samples - for those students applying to graduate programs in English.

Senior Year - Fall Semester

  • Have Professor(s) review Personal Statement
  • Have Professors review writing samples (English majors)
  • Request Letters of Recommendation - Provide all the information the reference will need to write a strong letter. Letter of Recommendation tips are provided. Allow 3 to 4 weeks for the letter to be written, email reminders might be necessary. Some programs have specific forms that need to be filled out, be sure and check. Provide a stamp and addressed envelope for each reference letter.
  • Assemble Application Packets - Send in December. Better to send the packets before the due date.
  • Apply for Assistantships/Fellowship - Check the deadlines, as it depends on the program.

Senior Year - Early Spring Semester

  • Set up visits to the campus
  • Follow through with application
  • Be proactive - email professors in the program of interest


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