Timetable for Graduate School Preparation

Below you will find a calendar of activities and deadlines that will guide you through the process of preparing for graduate school. There are two items that you should be mindful of when looking over this calendar.

First, note that the most successful candidates begin their preparations in their freshmen or sophomore years. In other words, graduate school preparation is an extended process in which you must demonstrate your long-term commitment to becoming a scholar, a researcher, and a contributory member of society. If you wait until your senior year thinking that you only need a high GPA and a completed application to graduate school, you will not meet with much success.

Second, the staff of The Burnett Honors College will assist you with any questions that you may have regarding the graduate school preparation and application process. Faculty mentors in your academic major are also a valuable resource. In order to be of maximum benefit when advising you, you should periodically notify TBHC of any accomplishments, awards, recognitions that you have earned. These materials will be filed in your Honors record to assist us in advising you about your graduate school preparation. So keep us informed as to your accomplishments and campus/community activities. Good luck!

Year

Semester/Month

Activity

Freshman

Fall

Meet with all of your Honors and faculty/departmental advisors.

Make sure that you are taking the right courses in their correct sequence.

Take the initiative to learn about campus resources.

Spring

Maintain a high GPA.

Join a campus club or student organization.

Sophomore

Fall

Maintain a high GPA.

Take a leadership role in a campus club or student organization that you have joined, such as the Honors Congress.

Get involved with a volunteer or community service project.

If you believe you are eligible, contact TBHC about prestigious scholarships such as Truman, Goldwater, Rhodes, NSF, and Marshall at the beginning of this term.  TBHC has a web page describing several prestigious scholarship programs.

Cultivate a relationship with faculty mentors.

Spring

Maintain a high GPA.

Continue in a leadership role in a campus club or student organization.

Stay involved with a volunteer or community service project.

With your faculty mentors, seek out opportunities for research or creative projects.

Have you considered summer study abroad or summer internships?

Summer

You need to apply early (usually in Spring) if you are interested in a summer internship or study abroad opportunity.

If you are staying at home for the summer, get involved with community service projects.

Junior Year

Fall

Maintain a high GPA.

Continue in a leadership role in a campus club or student organization.

Stay involved with a volunteer or community service project.

Take on research or creative project.  This could include pursuing an Honors in the Major Thesis, joining an REU project, becoming an intern, or developing a portfolio.

Spring

Maintain a high GPA.

Continue in a leadership role in a campus club or student organization.

Stay involved with a volunteer or community service project.

Continue with your research or creative project.

Ask your faculty mentors about attending professional meetings and conferences.  If possible, present your research or creative project at these meetings.

Senior Year

Summer

Prepare for the standardized test you plan to take (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.).  Buy test prep materials and plan on devoting one hour per day for your preparations.

Sign up for required standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, or LSAT.

Write a draft statement of purpose/personal statement.  Ask your faculty mentors to look over your statements.

Start browsing through guides and web sites (for instance, Peterson's) to graduate programs and college catalogs.

August-September

Take standardized test.

Meet with your faculty mentors to discuss your personal statement and learn about possible graduate programs. 

Ask your faculty mentors for letters of recommendation. 

Begin to develop your personal timeline for the application process.

October

Determine the schools to which you plan to apply, and request application materials. 

Finish your timeline based on each institution's deadline and financial aid deadlines. 

Complete your personal statement, adjusting it to meet each application's specific needs. 

Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions (If fall term grades are expected, then check with staff in the registrar's office to see if a transcript including fall term grades can be sent in time to meet the deadlines of programs to which you are applying). 

Complete application forms (first, do a draft on a photocopy of the form). 

Give your recommenders an information packet that they will need to write strong recommendations for you for each of your application schools.

December-January

Mail applications. Even if deadlines are later, it is good to get the applications in early.

February

Contact programs about the possibility of visiting.  Make trips if possible.

April

If you are applying for need-based financial aid programs, you may have to file a copy of your federal income tax or FAFSA statement.