January/February: Schedule to take the GRE if you have not already done so. Taking the GRE early in the year gives you time to re-take it if you need to improve your score.
March/April: Contact your undergraduate advisor to discus your interests. Ask them about general application practices and specific universities that specialize in your areas of interest. Not all universities offer the same graduate education and typically specialize in a few select areas of study. Your undergraduate professors are a great resource for guiding you to specific schools.
May: Research the schools your advisor recommended. Take a look at the faculty pages and make a note of professors whose interests align with your own. Do not limit this to one professor. Try to find two or three professors whose interests overlap with your own. Acquaint yourself with their current research by checking out and reading their most recent published works.
June: Familiarize yourself with the admission process and deadlines for the schools to which you have chosen to apply. Begin gathering the required application materials (GRE scores, transcripts, writing sample, etc.)
July-August: Begin writing your statement of purpose. Have GRE scores and transcripts sent to your preferred institutions. They will be put on file until your application is complete.
- Email two to three faculty at your preferred institutions working in the areas of your interest. This is a crucial step in being admitted to the graduate program of your choice. The discussions you begin with faculty are important in admission decisions as the department will only admits students that faculty members believe they can advise well. Professors expect to be contacted by prospective graduate students.
- Contact individuals acquainted with your academic work and ask if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Include in your email to potential referees your CV and personal statement. During the online application you will be asked to submit the names and contact information for your recommenders. You should give your recommenders a minimum of one-month notice before the application deadline.
October: Check that your preferred institutions have received the required GRE scores and transcripts.
November/December: Complete revisions of all required documents such as your statement of purpose and writing sample. Contact recommenders to ensure they have submitted recommendations.
January 1: Application Deadline for US applicants.