Engineering Grad School Application Timeline
Applying to grad school has a lot of different components that need to be done in advance before you actually submit. You might be tempted to put off your personal statement or assume you can use your old resume but if you are going to put in the time and money it takes to apply you should really start ahead of time. Things like taking your GRE and and sending your transcripts can also take longer than expected to give yourself plenty of time. I’ll break down the typical timeline but you should always check your universities application deadlines as well as deadlines for recommendation letters and transcripts.
The 3 BIG points I want to make are:
Give yourself time to take and then retake the GRE
Give your recommendation letter writers more than a month to write and submit their letter.
Research schools early to narrow down your list and save money
Typically, grad school applications are due in the late fall/winter timeframe. You will probably start submitting around November but applications can be due anywhere from October – January and even earlier for universities outside of the states. If this is when your applications are due, you should start your applications the summer before. So, if you are following the typical 4-year degree plan, you will start your applications the summer before your junior and senior year.
So, here is a month my month break down based on how I did it and what I would have changed !
Summer after Junior Year – Research
Start researching universities and create a list of universities, labs and professors you want to work with. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this post.
Review your accomplishments as an undergrad and with any work experience you have. Start thinking about how this will fit into the story of your personal statement.
Schedule your GRE and create you study plan
August – Senior Year
Make the short list of universities you are applying to
Make a system to track the progress of your application for each university including deadlines
Email all of your recommendation letter writers to ask if they are willing to write your letters
Check out my blog about recommendation letters here
Take your GRE if you haven’t already!
September – Senior Year
Find someone to review your personal statement. This could be a professor, advisor, someone from your university writing center or a friend.
Make an account for each university and familiarize yourself with their application
List any supplemental questions you need to answer
Gather any other materials you need for applications
Start requesting transcripts
Figure out your expenses
Track your application fees and the cost of sending transcripts so there are no last minute surprises
October – Senior Year
Finalize your personal statement
You should have at least 3 revisions!
Fill out your applications
Follow up with recommendation letter writers
November – Senior Year
Double check everything
Make sure you actually submit
Follow up with any recommenders who still need to submit
If you want a printable version of this timeline grab one here!
As you put your application together, use Grammarly to help you proofread as you go! Grammarly has free and premium plans that can help you put your best foot forward!
If you are applying this fall, get in touch with me! In 3 one hour sessions I can help you create the short list of schools you are applying to, organize your materials, help you communicate your experience in a way that is attractive to graduate programs and answer all of your application questions! Get more information here or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t already, check out my first blog in this series that gives an overview of things to consider and what you will need in order to apply. You can find it here!