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Fall and Spring, year prior to when you want to start:

  • Research areas of interest, institutions, and programs.
  • Talk to advisers about application requirements.
  • Register and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
  • Investigate national scholarships.
  • If appropriate, obtain letters of recommendation.

Summer, year prior to when you want to start:

  • Take required graduate admission tests.
  • Work on your application materials.
  • Visit institutions of interests, if possible.
  • Write your application essay.
  • Check on application deadlines and rolling admissions policies.
  • For medical, dental, osteopathy, podiatry, or law school, you may need to register for the national application or data assembly service most programs use.

Fall, prior to when you want to start:

  • Obtain letters of recommendation.
  • Take graduate admission tests if you haven’t already.
  • Send in completed applications.
  • Complete the FAFSA, if required.

Spring, prior to when you want to start:

  • Check with all institutions before the deadline to make sure your file is complete.
  • Visit institutions that accept you. Send a deposit to your institution of choice.
  • Notify other colleges and universities that accepted you of your decision so that they may admit students on their waiting list.
  • thank-you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success.

Resource: Penn State Career Guide 2010-2011, Career Services