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Applying to Grad School From Outside the US – Your Timeline

Are you an international student with ambitions to study in the U.S.? Use this 7-point timeline to keep your applications in order!

Applying to Grad School abroad can be a long and daunting process. To demystify the process and increase your chances of getting into your dream school, GradTrain mentors sat down and drew up a 7-point timeline for you to use as you apply to graduate school. So here you go:

Step 1:

Devote March-April to researching what programs are available and figure out your chances of getting into them. Here is a great tool that can predict your chances of getting in to various schools in the USA. Try it out and by April, have an idea of the portfolio of schools you would like to apply to.


Step 2:

Prepare for standardized tests. Once you’ve determined where you want to apply to, find out what exams you’ll need in order to apply, such as the GRE, GMAT or TOEFL. You may choose to take a course in preparation for the exams, to increase your chances of scoring well. Magoosh is actually a very good option for you, and – as you are already on the Magoosh site – why not start your research here? 🙂

Step 3:

Take the standardized tests. You should most likely take them in the summer months (June-August). Keep in mind that you may need to take these tests more than once if you don’t score high enough at first. So allow yourself enough time! In fact, if you have extra time on your hands, you should take the exams earlier in the year – they are available year-round.

Step 4:

Toward the end of the summer (August-September), start preparing your application materials. This includes essays, documentation, visa applications etc. Make sure you get another eye on everything before you submit. You can do it at GradTrain, where former students of the specific school you are applying to can review it for you.

Step 5:

In October, approach employers/professors and ask them to prepare letters of recommendation. (Not sure who should be your recommender? Embarrassed to ask? Here are a few tips).

Step 6:

The application process draws to an end as you submit your application packet in November, and the stress of applying to a program is replaced by the stress of waiting to hear the results.

Step 7:

The results will start coming in a few months later, around March.

This is when the action really begins. This is the time to compare offers, negotiate with schools, look for scholarships, and prepare for the actual geographic and academic journey!

There you have it!  Here’s a short video that summarizes all 7 points again:


Good luck on your applications — Bon Voyage!


Author bio: This guest blog was contributed by Dr. Lital Helman, Co-Founder of GradTrain. GradTrain is a community of past, present, and future international students. It provides data tools and mentoring for international students – allowing them to make the most of the study abroad experience.


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One Response to Applying to Grad School From Outside the US – Your Timeline

  1. Josh January 6, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    Very helpful! Makes an order in a very messy process…

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