GVSU Career Center

Graduate School Timeline

Institutional timelines will vary, as will the deadlines and requirements of different graduate programs.

First Year in College

  • Begin to identify your strengths and challenges.
  • Work to maintain a competitive GPA.
  • Get involved on campus through student organizations, volunteer opportunities, and research.

Sophomore Year

  • Seek leadership opportunities on campus and scholarship/ research opportunities with faculty.
  • Talk with faculty about what graduate schools are looking for in students.
  • Consider internship or study abroad activities for the coming semesters.  
  • Meet with an advisor or career counselor about your future academic and professional goals.

Junior Year

  • Strive to make the Dean's list.
  • Investigate programs and colleges of interest. Contact school representatives regarding any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Register for admission exams you will need to take (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.).
  • Talk with faculty in your area of interest who could provide guidance and letters of recommendation.

Senior Year


  • Review application materials from each school and write drafts of the required essays. Ask for feedback from trusted faculty.
  • Request letters of recommendation from faculty members who know your academic and personal strengths.
  • Research financial aid options at each school, including scholarships, fellowships/assistantships, and loans.


  • Finalize your essays. Be sure to answer all questions specified in the application.
  • Request official copies of your transcripts.
  • Apply for fellowships, assistantships, and/or grants.


  • Consider visiting schools and prepare for interviews.
  • Complete the FAFSA or other financial aid applications as required by individual schools.
  • Meet with a faculty member/counselor to discuss acceptances, rejections, and further decision making.

Page last modified June 10, 2014