Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:August 26th, 2011 18:24 EST
Twelve Month Checklist Before for Applying to Graduate School:  9 Months Before Applying

Twelve Month Checklist Before for Applying to Graduate School: 9 Months Before Applying

By Donald C. Martin

Title:  Twelve Month Checklist Before for Applying to Graduate School:  9 Months Before Applying

1. Start thinking about making some campus visits.  It is one thing to review a website, read printed materials and communicate with admissions office staff on the phone or via email.  It is quite another thing to actually visit a campus in person.  Most graduate schools offer a variety of campus visit programming, usually described on their website.  Here is a good tip:  If you can afford to visit a campus more than once, make your first visit unannounced.  This will help you get a feeling for what the institution is really like.  How you are treated as a complete stranger " can be very revealing.  If, however, you do not have the time and/or funds to do more than one visit, you may want to wait for your visit until you have started the application process.  More about this in Chapter Two.  

2. Start preparing for any standardized tests required as part of the graduate application process.  Most graduate school admissions committees will require the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or another test.  In addition, if you enroll at a graduate school in another country, and the first language of the country is different from your own, you will most likely b e required to take a test to demonstrate your level of proficiency in that primary language. 

3. There are quite a few materials available to help you prepare for these tests.  You will most likely learn about these materials from the Educational Testing Service, the Graduate Management Admission Council, the Law School Admission Council and the Association of American Medical Colleges.  These organizations have preparation materials available on their websites.  Other organizations, such as Barrons, Kaplan, Peterson`s and the Princeton Review offer test preparation classes.  In addition, you can go to your local bookstore and find a host of printed materials and study guides.

TIP:  Standardized tests bring varying degrees of stress for prospective graduate students.  Obviously, some individuals do better on these tests than others.  While test scores measure a certain level of academic ability, they by no means cover the entire academic arena.  Most admissions committees do not have a cut-off requirement for test scores, but some do.  It is a good idea to find out what each of your options looks for and requires.

For the complete 12-month checklist, seven personal questions to ask about grad school and much more, go to Dr. Martin`s website and order his book Road Map for Graduate Study:  A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students.  The website address is