Graduate School Admission Timeline
When you are applying for a graduate degree, you need to start atleast one year in advance. This is the timeline that I followed in my application process. For a Fall 99 program, I started my preparation in Fall 98. Try to plan your timeline similarly.
May - June
- Decide what course and degree you want to take. Research universities that offer the degree you want, but also look for similar degrees in inter-disciplinary programs. There is a greater chance of being admitted into these.
- Obtain USEFI yearly membership and try to get access to the Internet and email.
- At USEFI, go through Peterson's Graduate guide and through the college search CD-ROMs. The latter provide a flexible search means (e.g. one girl I met wanted all Medical colleges in New York, another guy wanted only colleges which offered an MS in Ceramic Engineering.)
- On the Internet, go through university websites and see the courses descriptions, faculty web pages, campus infrastructure etc.
- Based upon initial research of colleges, determine the exams you need to take (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, TSE, Subject GRE, MLE etc). Apply for these exams.
July - August
- Speak with faculty, graduate students and professionals in your desired field about colleges
- Determine the ranking of various colleges in your field
- Draw up an initial shortlist.
- Send Pre Application forms to these colleges. Or just download relevant sections of their websites and printout the forms from there.
- Study for GRE, GMAT and other exams: Take diagnostic tests to evaluate potential areas of weaknesses, study word lists, understand basic structure of exam and types of questions asked.
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- Make a list of potential recommenders. Contact them.- Begin drafting statement of purpose (SOP).- Draft an academic resume.
- By now you will have almost all application forms
- Draw up a Final Shortlist of colleges you want to apply to.
- Email current students and recent alumni of the colleges and programs you are considering
- Prepare Application packet:
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- Complete and mail applications in the first week of December (avoid the Christmas rush). Make photocopies of everything you send.
- Research Financial aid alternatives: USEFI and Net.
- Apply for Financial Aid from external sources (i.e. other than college)
- Submit any forms required by colleges
- Draw up an order of preference of colleges to which you have applied. This will make things easier for you when you receive multiple offers.
- Choose a college. Confirm their offer of admission.
- Confirm scholarship or assistanceship, if any. Ask for it, if you haven't received any.
- Send formal letter of rejection to the other colleges who offered you admission.
- Study entire packet sent by the college you have chosen thoroughly
- Research and fulfil the immunization requirements of college chosen
- Arrange Fin Papers (if self financed). Arrange Loans if not.
- Attend USEFI Visa Seminar
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June - July
- Apply for Student Visa
- Attend USEFI Pre departure Seminar
- Prepare to Leave: Arrange Tickets, Do shopping, Take Credit Card, Arrange Foreign Exchange etc.
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- Leave for US
- Attend College Orientation
- Study !
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Last Updated June 26, 1999