Every graduate program is different, so make no assumptions that the application process will be the same for each school. It is your responsibility to read instructions carefully and submit all required information for each program. The following are some general tips to assist you.
Choose the schools to which you will apply carefully. Non-refundable application fees, plus the cost of National Tests (i.e. GRE, GMAT, DAT, LSAT, and MCAT) add up quickly. These test scores are likely due at the time of application, which means taking tests at least two months in advance of deadlines to insure receipt of scores.
If you are interested in financial aid or assistantships and fellowships, inquire about these early. In most cases they require a different application form and are due on a different date. You may be required to complete multiple applications for a single program.
Read all instructions carefully and keep a check list of things to do and dates on which all relevant information must be completed. Deadlines are crucial. Some of these things include applications (both admission and financial aid), fees, transcripts, references, test scores, samples of previous work, essays and personal interviews.
It is extremely important to fill out forms and applications completely. Take time to make yourself stand out. Do not leave blanks or exclude information that may seem unimportant to you. If asked to list "any additional information not contained elsewhere which you believe the admissions committee should know about," try to develop at least one paragraph that pulls the pieces of your application together.
Some applications request essays or ask questions which require considerable writing. It is important that your response is professionally prepared. Not only will your statements be judged on content, but writing skill, accuracy, legibility and neatness will be taken into consideration as well. Seek assistance from advisors, the Writing Center or Career Development staff.
Two final points are worth mentioning:
First, it is a good idea to type applications to give them a professional appearance unless the application states otherwise.
Second, make a copy of your application and all other correspondence for your own file. These will come in handy if problems arise or you are called for an interview and wish to review your statements.
Graduate School Checklist