William and Mary

Graduate School Time Tables

(Time tables specific to Law and Medical schools.)
General Graduate School Time Tables
  • Begin browsing though graduate school guides, such as Peterson's Guide to Graduate and Professional Programs. Look at the links under the Find Graduate Programs section to conduct an online search of graduate programs based on academic discipline and geography.
  • Research the graduate schools' websites for program information, applications, and financial aid and assistantship information.
  • Determine if there are any special admissions requirements.
  • Start working on a general personal statement.
  • Begin saving for application fees.
  • Meet with faculty members and/or career counselors to talk about possible programs.
  • Ask professors if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. Provide them with appropriate forms, if applicable, and a  resume. Explain to them the application process and how they will submit their recommendation letter. Clarify the submission process with graduate programs if you are unclear. Discuss your goals and motivations for wanting to attend graduate school so that they have a better idea of your intentions.
  • Sign up for required standardized tests. Prepare for tests by familiarizing yourself with the instructions and types of questions. Use sample practice books, such as Barron's Guide to Taking the GRE, and prep courses, such as those offered by Kaplan.
  • Take the standardized test. Remember you don't have to wait if they are computerized.
  • Request copies of your official transcript. Insure that the registrar's office can send transcripts and fall semester grades to designated graduate schools in time for the appropriate deadline.
  • Put finishing touches on your personal statement and have it reviewed by friends, faculty, staff, and career counselors.
  • Fill out your application forms.  It is helpful to make copies of the original form just in case.
  • Take or retake the appropriate tests.
  • Contact professors to insure that they have completed recommendations.
  • Submit completed applications. Send your applications at this time even if deadlines are later. Some graduate school accept applicants on a rolling basis, which means that they accept applicants as applications are received until all spots are filled.
  • Send in financial aid information if necessary.
  • Contact graduate programs before the deadline to insure that applications are complete.
  • Visit as many schools as possible; accepting a graduate school offer without visiting the campus is like buying a car without test driving it! Talk with faculty and current students.
  • Set up appointments for admissions interviews as well as assistantship interviews. Be sure to follow up with Thank You notes.
  • If you are applying for financial aid, you may need a copy of your income tax return.
  • Sit back and wait for the acceptance letters to start rolling in!
Law School Time Table
  • Get the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools.
  • Register to take the LSAT and prepare.
  • Subscribe to the LSDAS (Law School Data Assembly Service)
  • Take the June LSAT.
  • Start drafting your personal statement.
  • Make a list of schools you'll be applying to, using the grids from the Official Guide as an aid.
  • Order LSACd for use searching for appropriate schools and completing applications. Send away for applications and start visiting schools as you can.
  • Register for the October LSAT if you were not satisfied with your June score.
Early Fall
  • Familiarize yourself with the applications as they roll in.
  • Make a checklist and schedule for each application, and photocopy all forms.
  • Send transcript request forms to all undergraduate and graduate schools you've attended.
  • Line-up recommendation writers. Give them the specific information they need to write an outstanding recommendation for you.
  • Revise your personal statement. Tailor it to specific essay topics, if any, on individual applications.
Mid Fall
  • Finalize your personal statement.
  • Complete applications using LSACd. (If you prefer, type paper copy)
  • Submit applications directly to schools.
Late Fall
  • Remind your recommendation writers to send in recommendations ASAP.
  • Have recommendations sent to Career Services Offices or Use the LSDAS Letter Service.
  • Get Master Law School Report from LSDAS, summarizing transcripts, etc.
  • Receive monthly updates from LSDAS.
Spring/ Summer
  • Cross your fingers while you wait for the acceptances to roll in.
  • Decide which offer to accept.
  • Send in acceptance.
  • Apply for financial aid.