The following timetable will help you apply to graduate programs. Although each step may not be necessary for you, following this guide should enhance your chances for success.
Junior Year (or Before)
- Read about careers in your field. Explore your interests with faculty.
- Attend colloquia, seminars and other events sponsored by your department.
- Meet with your advisor or other faculty in your department to determine which electives might be assets in applying to graduate school.
- Find out if there is a departmental honor society and its required qualifications.
- Get acquainted with the Career Center to see what resources and advice they have for applying to graduate school.
- Attend the Graduate and Professional School Day (rotates among Concordia, MSU and NDSU). Go prepared with questions about the program in which you are interested.
- Attend state, regional, and national conferences in your discipline.
Check in the Academic Enhancement Center for information on standardized tests (GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.); use the prep materials and practice tests.
- Prepare a preliminary list of graduate programs in your field by carefully studying web pages, catalogs and directories of graduate programs; compare your qualifications with admissions requirements.
- Obtain additional information about the programs that seem a good match for you, and about financial aid. Ask for application packets.
- Compile a final list of programs to which you will apply. If you can afford to and it seems worthwhile, visit the campuses of programs that interest you.
- Plan and schedule your application strategy. Pay careful attention to deadlines, particularly financial aid, which often has earlier deadlines than admissions applications.
- Calculate application fees and make sure you have the money to cover them (some schools waive this fee because of financial hardship).
- Finalize which professors will write your recommendation letters.
September of Senior Year
- Apply the first week of September (or earlier) to take your discipline’s standardized test in October, or make arrangements for computer-based testing (offered at MSU).
- Request your undergraduate transcript and include it in the packet of information you prepare for those writing letters of recommendation.
- Prepare a resume for the same purpose. Career Center staff will help you develop your resume.
October of Senior Year
- Take the GRE or other appropriate exam; request that scores be sent to all schools to which you will apply.
- Contact individuals from whom you will request letters of recommendation.
- Begin filling out your financial aid and application forms.
- Write first drafts of essays; ask for feedback from others.
November of Senior Year
- Request your undergraduate transcripts be sent to the institutions to which you are applying.
- Finalize application and financial aid forms.
- Get feedback and write the final draft of essays.
- Supply individuals who will write your letters of recommendation with your resume, transcripts and forms for each school.
December of Senior Year
- Carefully prepare and mail each application. Be sure to photocopy each in its entirety.
January of Senior Year
- Contact professors whom you have asked to submit recommendation letters, and confirm they were sent.
- Thank those who sent them.
- Confirm that the graduate schools received your completed applications
February – March of Senior Year
April of Senior Year
- Celebrate! (or regroup)
- Finalize your financial arrangements for the first year of graduate school.
- Call or write the people who wrote your letters of recommendation and inform them of your application's outcome.
More Graduate School Links
Contains extensive information about the GMAT test.
Website dedicated to providing information to students and faculty members about the GRE test.
Law School Admissions Council
Includes extensive information on the LSAT test.