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Preparing for Graduate School

Graduate School Application Timeline

September - December (Junior Year)
  • Plan Courses
  • Gain Research or Internship Experiences
  • Explore Career & Graduate School Options
  • Visit Career Center
January - May (Junior Year)
  • Plan Courses
  • Gain Research or Internship Experiences
  • Explore Career & Graduate School Options
  • Begin Work on Personal Statement
  • Visit Career Center (if you have not done so)
May - August (Junior Year)
  • Gain Research or Internship Experiences
  • Prepare for (or possibly take) the GRE
  • Explore Specific Graduate Programs
August - November (Senior Year)
  • Choose Programs - Get Applications
  • Take GREs
  • Request Letters of Recommendation
  • Continue Work on Personal Statement
  • Learn How to Request Official Transcripts
December - January (Senior Year)
  • Apply to Doctoral Programs
January - March (Senior Year)
  • Apply to Masters Programs
March - April (Senior Year)
  • Learn Admission Decisions
May - August (Senior Year)
  • Graduate!


  1. It is best to begin searching for Research Opportunities by your Junior Year as there is quite a bit of training to get you up and running in a research lab. Many faculty may require a year commitment from you just for this reason. Each requirement will be worked out one on one with you and the faculty member.
  2. Students in Psychology are NOT required to do an Internship although they can be a valuable experience in helping you determine a career path. 
  3. It is important to visit the GRE website if you are planning on post-baccalaureate work. Here you will find information to help you prepare for the GREs. You will also use their website to schedule your test date and seat. Once you have scheduled your date, you can go back to the website to order a free software program from GRE to help you prepare for the exam.
  4. Typically a graduate program will request 3 Letters of Recommendation. When asking for Recommendation Letters from faculty, be sure to give them at least 30 days notice. You want to give them enough time to ask questions about your plans as well as review writing samples and your resume so that they can write the most effective recommendation for you. If you plan to take a year off, still discuss your request with the faculty member you will want a recommendation from as they may ask you to give them periodic updates during your hiatus so that when the letters are needed they have the most up-to-date information on you.
  5. The Career Center is not just for searching careers; they also offer guidance in researching graduate programs. A counselor can lead you to graduate school information for you to explore. The Career Center also offers an Annual Graduate School Fair so be sure to check their website for the next offering.

Tips for Graduate School Preparation