Career Development

Graduate School Checklist

Start preparing for graduate school early in your undergraduate career. Here is a checklist of what you should do to prepare if you are going directly from an undergraduate to a graduate program. Please Note: The timeline below is a guide to help you complete a thorough and effective graduate school search and application process. It is not intended to be an exact timeline for any and everyone.

Printable Graduate School Checklist can be found at the bottom of the page.

Freshman Year

  • Get to know your academic advisor
  • Develop and maintain a good GPA
  • Attend the major fair in the Fall semester
  • Take the FOCUS assessment
  • Use websites such as and to research occupations and careers

Sophomore Year

  • Join a major-related student organization and actively develop your leadership skills
  • If you are interested in doing academic research, look into the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC)
  • Conduct informal interviews
  • Apply for a summer internship

Junior Year

  • Research available programs, review websites, and request promotional materials
  • Talk to faculty/alumni/current students in the program
  • Attend the Graduate & Professional School Fair in the Fall
  • Develop relationships with your professors, staff, and administrators. Find a faculty mentor!
  • Review your unofficial transcript, check for discrepancies and ask the registrar’s office to make any corrections
  • Start studying for the GRE or other required test

Senior Year

Fall Semester

  • Write the first draft of your statement of purpose/personal statement and get feedback
  • Request your letters of recommendation from faculty, past and/or current employers
  • Order and send official transcripts
  • Attend the Graduate & Professional School Fair
  • Submit your applications. Apply to more than one- school!
  • Apply for aid available through the program; assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, etc

Spring Semester

  • Visit prospective campuses if possible, and talk to faculty/students to help you make your final decision
  • Follow-up with schools to make sure your file is complete
  • Admissions notifications go out March-May
  • After receiving acceptance from the school of your choice, send in the required deposit, and contact other schools and decline acceptances
  • Write thank-you notes to people who helped you through the process