* Choose a major that interests you; find an advisor whose academic focus interests you, with whom you work well.
* Focus on developing strong skills in oral and written communication, research and analysis.
* Begin developing positive relationships with faculty in your academic department; don't skip class, and keep up with your course work.
* Take courses in your major; work hard to develop an intellectual base in the field and to get to know your faculty.
* Discuss graduate school options with your academic advisor.
* Attend a Career Center GRE workshop, if applicable.
* Begin to research websites for graduate school programs.
* Discuss your plans with faculty whom you may ask to write recommendations for you. Seek their advice and recommendations about specific programs.
Summer following Junior Year
* Investigate graduate entrance exams; plan a schedule to take them, and begin to prepare for them.
* If you are planning to apply to a research-based graduate school program, spend the summer conducting research and write a Senior Thesis before you graduate.
* In late summer, select faculty who can write positive, cogent letters of recommendation for you.
* Consider visiting the schools you find most interesting. Be sure to talk to current students in the program.
Fall Term, Senior Year
* Take entrance exams required by the programs you have targeted 2 - 3 months before the published deadline.
* Check deadlines and begin completing your applications early. This stage of the application process is so time consuming it will seem like a course-overload. Timing is critical here. If you apply early, the spots are less competitive and the financial aid more plentiful. Plan to send in your completed
application at least a month prior to the due date (call the earlier date your "adjusted due date" and think of it as absolute).
* Ask faculty to write letters of recommendation for you 3 months before your adjusted due date.
* If you have attended multiple institutions, check each program to determine its policies on transcripts. Request official Hanover transcripts from the Registrar's Office.