Begin approximately one year before graduation.
Study individual application deadlines carefully for each school, since they may vary.
Research potential programs. Discuss with faculty. Ask for letters of recommendation. Write a draft personal statement.
Arrange to take admissions tests, if required.
Identify application sites for programs of interest. Research potential sources of funding. Inquire about specific fellowships and departmental teaching and research assistantships at schools of interest. Note their upcoming deadlines.
Follow specific instructions about transcripts – many schools request “unofficial” transcripts with the application and “official” transcripts after the department has recommended admission.
Follow up on letters of recommendation. Provide each individual with a copy of your resume. personal statement and list of programs to which you are applying. Inform them of whether the form is submitted on-line or by mail.
Apply on-line. Even if deadlines are later, it is preferable to submit your applications early.
Contact programs about campus visits. Make trips if possible.
If you are applying for need-based financial aid, you may be asked to submit information from your federal tax return. Keep a copy handy.