I love a good to-do list, especially ones when there is a longer timeline. Applying to graduate school can be a months-long process, so I hope this helps! I would also like to note that timing may change based on your program of choice, school, etc. I received guidance on my timeline from the American Psychological Association’s website as I applied to Psy.D. programs. So, if your program has a website similar to this, check it out!
Step 1. Research, read, and decide what program you are interested in! There is no “perfect” time to do this. I began the summer before my senior year (Summer 2020). However, I’m sure starting earlier would have made my life a bit easier.
2. Secure a list of schools! This list doesn’t need to be final right away, but should be by the fall. Make sure to have both “safety” and “reach” schools.
3. Study for the GRE! I advise starting this as early as you can. Prep courses are useful (I loved Manhattan Prep) as well as the free tools the GRE will provide you with when you sign up for an account on the GRE website.
4. Secure a final list of schools as early as possible (I finalized mine by end of August) so that you can begin making connections, attend webinars for the program if offered, and be sure to schedule phone calls with the admissions counselors to ask questions.
5. Finalize your resume and start working on your other supplemental materials like a personal statement and other essays. Be sure to confirm each programs’ material requirements as many have all different requirements and prompts.
6. In September (a few months before your deadline) ask your chosen few people for recommendations. Be sure to explain the program and meet with them to chat if possible!
7. In October (at least one month before deadlines as they take time to process the scores and be sent to schools) take the GRE! This day will come and go–– do your best to prepare then let it go. You can do it!
8. In October (again, a few months before deadlines) send out your formal recommendation requests to your chosen few. This should entail a respectful request, courses you took with them including a grade, resume, and perhaps a draft of your personal statement to assist them. Also, you will want to provide them with details of which programs you are applying to, what for, and when the due dates are.
9. November (one month before deadlines) request official transcripts from Conn!
10. Around the deadline ensure your recommendations have been submitted and received and thank you recommenders.
11. Submit applications!!!!! Try and sit back and relax… the hardest part is over :)