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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.


  • 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:
- Make a list of potential recommenders. Contact them.- Begin drafting statement of purpose (SOP).- Draft an academic resume.

December -

  • 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

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.


  • Leave for US

  • Attend College Orientation

  • Study !



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Last Updated June 26, 1999