Career Development

Graduate School Checklist

Start preparing for graduate school early in your undergraduate career. Here is a checklist to help you complete a thorough and effective graduate school application. Please Note: The timeline below is not one size-fits-all and works best for students going to grad school right after completing their bachelor's degrees.

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

Freshman Year

  • Get to know your academic advisor and career advisor
  • Develop and maintain a good GPA
  • Attend the graduate school fair
  • Use websites such as O*NET, My Next Move, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to research the education necessary for your occupations and careers of interest
  • Not sure? Take the FOCUS assessment and schedule an appointment with a career advisor to talk about your results

Sophomore Year

  • Develop relationships with your professors and staff. Finding a faculty mentor is even better!
  • Get involved with cocurricular activities related to your major and/or career interests, consider a summer internship
  • If you are interested in academic research, look into the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC)
  • Thoroughly review the websites of grad schools that interest you
  • Attend the graduate school fair
  • Check in with your career advisor

Junior Year

  • Research grad programs
  • Conduct informational interviews—talk to faculty members, current grad students, and graduate school alumni
  • Inform the potential writers of your recommendation letters about your interest in graduate school. (Letters from CSUMB faculty members are ideal.)
  • Continue building professional relationships with professors and staff
  • Review your transcript(s) for discrepancies and contact the Registrar’s Office if there are errors
  • Start studying for any required entrance exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.)
  • Check in with your career advisor
  • Attend the graduate school fair

Senior Year

The Summer Before Senior Year

• Write the first draft of your personal statement

• Attempt to complete the required entrance exam

Fall Semester

  • Get feedback on your personal statement
  • Request letters of recommendation
  • Order and send official transcripts
  • Attend the graduate school fair
  • Submit your applications. Applying to—at least—a reach school, a middle-of-the-road option, and a safety school is often advantageous.
  • Apply for any grad school aid that is available (assistantships, fellowships, etc.)
  • Follow-up with schools to ensure your application are complete
  • Check in with your career advisor

Spring Semester 

• Visit prospective campuses whenever possible
• Once you are accepted to your school of choice, send in the required deposit, and decline your other offers
• Thank the people who helped you throughout the process