Application Timetable

This timetable is an APPROXIMATE guideline of important steps that should be started no later than the summer before your senior year.  It is a good idea to start sooner if possible!

Six to eight months prior to application deadline

  • Write a draft statement of purpose/personal statement
  • Review guides to graduate programs, web sites, and university catalogs
  • Register for required standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT—and take a practice test to gauge how much time you’ll need to study before you take the real test.)
  • Research financial options - many graduate programs offer fellowships or teaching or research assistantships.

Four to five months prior to application deadline

  • Meet with faculty members in your department and Career Center staff to discuss your personal statement, programs options and potential funding sources
  • Ask for letters of recommendation
  • Begin to develop your personal timeline for the application process.

Three months prior to application deadline

  • Determine the schools to which you plan to apply and request application materials
  • Finish your timeline based on each institution’s deadline and financial aid deadlines
  • Complete your personal statement, adjusting it to meet each application’s specific needs
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Re-take standardized tests if needed

Two months prior to application deadline

  • Create a draft application that you and others can review before you submit
  • After reviews, complete the formal application
  • Give your recommenders all the information that they will need to write recommendations for you for each of your application schools

At application deadline

  • Submit applications and all accompanying required documents, unless the ask for letters of recommendation to come directly from the recommender
  • It is good to get the applications submitted early. This helps you acquire financial assistance or teaching and research assistant opportunities too

After application submission

  • Contact programs and schedule a visit to your priority programs, if possible
  • Alternatively, talk with faculty and graduate students in the program by phone or Skype  
  • If you are applying for need based financial aid programs, you may have to file a copy of your federal income tax return.

*Timeline information taken from Graduate School and You (The Council of Graduate Schools)


Advice From A Graduate Student: 

"While working towards a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia, I was persistent about graduate school even as a sophomore.  I worked hard outside of class to find research opportunities, and landed two lengthy projects in organic synthesis.  Afterwards, I took a gap year when my department chair recommended me for an internship at the nearby Savannah River National Lab... Through this internship experience, I learned how to think critically and scientifically in a safe environment for novice mistakes under the guidance of encouraging mentors.  After witnessing various career paths and apprenticing in real-world job settings, I am more realistic and honest about my career desires and expectations... " 

Lindsay Baxter, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2016