Grad school planner

Follow this roadmap to stay on track for graduate school.

Freshman year

  • Dream big and plan how you'll make it happen.
  • Earn good grades.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Meet with graduate advisers to lay out courses and experiences you'll need.

Sophomore year

  • Apply for undergraduate research projects and/or work with a faculty member on a project. Be persistent!
  • Keep up your grades.
  • Get to know more professors.

Summer between sophomore and junior years

  • Search for potential graduate programs.
  • Explore fellowships and grants, both extramural and school-specific.
  • Participate in a summer research internship, if possible.

Junior year

  • Apply for and participate in a research project.
  • Start studying for the GRE in the fall.
  • Map out a plan for applying for extramural fellowships.
  • Take the GRE in the winter or spring.
  • Visit campuses and recruiting events.

Summer between junior and senior years

  • Participate in a summer research program.
  • Make a list of graduate programs that fit your interests and goals.
  • Make a plan for applying for admission and university funding.
  • Take the GRE for the first time, or again if you want to improve your score.
  • Draft your statement of purpose and other application essays.
  • Start sending out extramural fellowship applications. Deadlines are often much earlier than those for admission!

Senior year

  • Finish submitting extramural funding applications during fall term, paying close attention to deadlines.
  • Request letters of recommendation by early October.
  • Ask professors for feedback on your statement of purpose.
  • Submit your admission and funding applications early.
  • Take the GRE again, if needed. This is your last opportunity if you are applying to graduate school now.
  • Stay organized. Stay on schedule. Getting stressed doesn't help!

Returning students

Applying to grad school after a break in your studies?

Get prepared

Concerned about your academic track record?

There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of admission.

Learn more