grad school to-do list and timeline

Another fabulous grad school worksheet from Christina. Some of the info, such as the tips on the GREs, will not apply to UK applicants.

By creating a to-do list and a time line, you don’t have to carry all of the weight of the application process; you are only responsible for doing one thing at a time.  Once you have completed one task in the time frame you have created, you can move on to the next item on your list.  This makes applying to graduate school “do-able.”  As my brother often told me when I was applying to graduate school, “This is part of the process.  The graduate programs want to know that you can handle pressure and jump through the various hoops.”  In other words, if it were easy to get into graduate school, everybody would be doing it.  But, you aren’t everybody—so let’s get started.

Graduate School Applications To-Do List:

* Look into various programs by researching universities on-line, at the bookstore, or with a professor/ other graduate students
* Keep a record of application requirements for each university
* Narrow your list down to 6-10 of your top choices
* Look into your exam books or courses such as Princeton Review/Kaplan in preparation for the LSAT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc.
* Take the exam
* Request GRE scores to graduate schools
* Order applications
* Begin writing your statement of purpose—be creative, specific and concise.  Say what you did, what you are doing, and what you will be doing in graduate school and further into the future
* Find 1-2 people who are willing to help you in the writing process (or, if there are other people who are also applying to graduate school, set up a peer review group)
* Ask for final comments from 2-3 people
* Request Letters of Recommendation
* Complete packets for professors (including stamped envelopes, a timeline, your SOP—even if it is not the final version—and a very detailed letter explaining how you feel you are a good “fit” for the various programs)
* Request transcripts from all schools you attended (community college, 2-year and 4-year programs)
* Find 3 works you feel best demonstrate your writing for the required writing samples
* Begin editing your work (this is important, though if you are crunched for time, your SOP is more important)
* Complete applications (or do on-line)
* Contact PhD programs—specific professors who you feel might be interested in working with you—and send them your statement of purpose
* If you are serious about a specific university or you have the financial funds to do so, visit the department and set up meetings with various professors
* Mail in applications with checks (please note that applying to graduate schools is expensive—plan ahead)
* Pat yourself on the back—you did it!


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