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.