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Most programs will not begin to review your application until your file is complete, and they most likely will not review it at all if anything is late—so start early! Also, be sure to call to confirm the receipt of all your materials and record the date and the name of the person you speak with. If using a centralized application service, keep a record of your confirmation of completion notifications.

A complete graduate school application usually consists of:

Application Form Get the appropriate application form as soon as you know that you are interested in a program. The form is often available online or you can request one from the school. The form comprises standardized questions that the program will use to track your application and ensure that you meet minimum qualifications. Your answers to the questions should be clear, consistent, and accurate. Remember, most programs receive many applications and may be looking for quick ways to eliminate applicants. A small error or an unprofessional-looking application may be all they need to send yours to the bottom of the stack.

Application fee You should plan to have approximately $300 to $500 available, as application fees can be as much as $100 per school. These fees are typically not refundable for any reason, so do your research and be fairly certain of your interest in a school before applying.