Graduate School Timeline

Spring/Summer of application year

  • Talk to NU professors, academic advisors or TA’s and graduate students for advice on programs and schools
  • Prepare for and take standardized entrance exams in spring, summer or fall
  • Review individual graduate school/department websites or obtain information directly from your program of interest
  • Meet with a Career Counselor for assistance with the graduate school decision-making or application process
  • Begin asking for letters of recommendation from two or three faculty members
  • Research and review program applications. Many programs now offer only online application services
  • Make a checklist of requirements and deadlines for each school
  • Verify with the Registrar that your official transcript is accurate and up-to-date
  • Take practice entrance exams and enroll in a test preparation course, if needed
  • Draft a general statement of purpose
  • Register to take the fall entrance exams, if you have not already taken them

Fall of application year

  • If taking time off, have your professor write your recommendation to keep on file.
  • Complete applications at least two months before deadlines
  • Financial aid application deadlines may have different deadlines than your application – be aware!
  • For help writing your personal statements, make an appointment with a Career Counselor, or visit the Writing Place on campus
  • Meet with a Career Counselor if you have any concerns or questions about the application process
  • Submit application documents to schools at least one month before the deadline.
  • Request transcripts, entrance exam scores, and recommendation letters be forwarded to the schools (unless otherwise indicated on the application)
  • Before the deadline, verify with each school that all of your application materials have been received and are complete.
  • Prepare for interviews, if necessary

Winter/ Spring of application year

  • Develop a ‘Plan B’ by brainstorming and discussing alternative options
  • Evaluate and submit offers of acceptance
  • Congratulate yourself and celebrate getting through the process!!