Considering Graduate School: Application Timeline & Financing


May, June, July

  • Spend these months researching institutions and building a list of potential programs.
  • It’s also important to prepare for any necessary standardized tests during this timeframe and register for an initial test date.

August, September, October

  • Applicants typically take their standardized test for the first or second time during these months, registering for another session for later in the fall if you’re
    unhappy with your score.
  • Reach out to folks who might be willing to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf, sharing versions of a resume and personal/purpose statement
    as those documents start to come together.
  • This is also the time to make sure you clearly understand what every application will require of you, including any additional steps required for national or
    school-based assistantship or fellowship program consideration


  • Gather feedback on your personal statement(s) and resume and make sure you’ve collected everything necessary for December application submissions
    (writing samples, portfolio pieces, official copies of transcript(s), etc.).


  • Complete and submit all applications, following up with schools to ensure all materials were received.


  • Assistantships and Grants: Usually program-specific and in the form of a stipend, salary, and/or tuition remission. Apply early to be first in line for consideration.
  • Scholarships and Fellowships: Financial awards that can be offered by institutions, companies, or even private benefactors. It’s important to thoroughly research what’s available in your chosen field so you can be on top of application deadlines.
  • Federal or Private Loans: Many students rely on federal or private loans that they begin paying back after graduating. Carefully consider all payment terms, including interest rates and length of loan payments.
  • Employer Support: Some companies will help cover the costs of an employee’s graduate education, usually with some limits or requirement that the degree is connected to the employee’s role. Employers can confirm if support for graduate study is an offered benefit and what requirements are attached to that support.

*Duplicate information available in attached resource.

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