First year

  • Do well in courses
  • Establish relationships with faculty (your future recommenders)
  • Join and attend meetings of science organizations as well as others; volunteer for anything (almost anything)
  • See if you can do research (even on a volunteer basis) with Augsburg faculty
  • Talk to faculty about their grad school experiences
  • Work on critical thinking and writing skills
  • Start compiling work and evidence for future résumés and portfolios

Sophomore year

  • Do very well in courses
  • Continue to develop relationships with faculty
  • Assume leadership roles in campus or civic organizations
  • Continue volunteer activities
  • Apply for summer research or internship experiences
  • Read journals in your field
  • Work on critical thinking and writing skills
  • Meet with career counselors and faculty if having a difficult time choosing major
  • Study abroad if schedule permits

Junior year

  • Do very, very well in courses
  • Take GRE Prep in Spring
  • Work as a research assistant or an intern part-time during the school year
  • Apply for summer research experiences (off-campus ones if you’ve already done on-campus)
  • Talk to people in your field to get a sense of what careers are like
  • Continue to read journals
  • Study abroad if schedule permits

Senior year


  • Begin and complete Summer Research Experience
  • Ask for a letter of recommendation from summer faculty member (they don’t write it now, but get the commitment)
  • Register for general GRE (take no later than August)
  • Study for general and subject GREs
  • Begin grad school search if you haven’t already
  • Begin correspondence with graduate faculty
  • Write draft of resume and personal statement
  • Brace yourself for a hectic fall


  • Do better than very, very well in your courses (although some schools might not see your fall grades before making a decision).
  • Register for the GRE General Test (ideally already taken)
  • Register for a GRE Subject Test, if required. The November test date will ensure that your scores are back in time for most December deadlines.
  • Talk with faculty about your summer research experience, your grad school plans, letters of recommendation, as well as what schools they recommend
  • Consider applying for national scholarships/fellowships and check due dates
  • Generate a list of schools to which you think you will apply
  • Study for the GRE General if you haven’t taken it yet
  • Study for GRE Subject Test


  • Narrow and, ideally, finalize your list of schools
  • Prioritize applications by application deadlines. Make a list of the dates you plan on mailing applications. This should be earlier than the application deadline required by the school.
  • Work on national scholarships/fellowships if you are applying
  • Begin e-mailing professors at the schools you will be applying to. Typically these would be faculty whose research interests match yours.
  • Attend URGO application workshops
  • Study for GRE if you haven’t taken it yet (take practice tests often!)
  • Make sure that you have commitments from all of your letter writers
  • Send for any applications not on-line (these are rare)


  • Finalize your list of schools
  • Submit national fellowship applications
  • Give instructions for letters of rec to your writers, plus mailing envelopes, draft of statement/resume, etc. Make sure they have all forms they need.
  • Take GRE Subject test (middle of the month)
  • Mail transcripts to schools with December deadlines
  • Have GRE scores sent (if you haven’t already) to schools with December deadlines
  • Continue corresponding with graduate school faculty
  • Check in with letter writers to make sure they will meet December deadlines
  • Attend URGO application workshop
  • Begin filling out applications (sooner would be good)
  • Work towards final draft of personal statement.
  • Show personal statement to Dixie and two professors
  • Request transcripts and GRE scores for January deadlines
  • Work on applications
  • Check with letter writers towards the end of the month to make sure they will meet January deadlines


  • You get the idea
  • More of the same
  • Just more intense
  • Way more intense unless you have planned ahead
  • Don’t leave for home until you have requested all needed transcripts, as the college closes between Christmas and New Year’s
  • Don’t leave for home until you’ve reminded faculty about letters due over break
  • Don’t leave for home until Dixie and/or faculty have checked your applications/personal statements, because Dixie closes between Christmas and New Year’s as well
  • Good luck on those finals


  • Some of you will still be doing more of the same


  • Await news of applications


  • April 15 is the last day to accept or reject offers