briarcliff

7+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2011
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Psychology Student
Could anyone who has already gone through the application process help me figure out a timeline for next year's applications. I'm scheduled to take the GRE in February, and there's a good chance that I'll take it again (probably in April or May). I know that most applications will be due between 11/1/14 & 1/1/15, and that interviews are often scheduled between December & February.

I guess my main questions are, when do applications become available? How late can someone take the GRE for next year's application cycle? When are schools required to let you know if you have been admitted, and about how much time does each application take to complete?

I think most of these questions have probably been answered on previous threads, but I didn't have any luck finding them. Thanks!
 
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xXIDaShizIXx

7+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2011
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They become available anywhere between July/August to October. You should take your GRE no later than October, or perhaps earlier if you want to take it again. I think its mid-April that they have to let you know if you are accepted (I need someone to verify that?). And the applications vary depending on your experiences, applying for TA/RA positions, scholarships, etc. But at any rate be prepared to give 2-3 hours at least to each one of them. Some schools will get back to you within a few days and some you won't hear from for months. That's just the nature of the game, unfortunately and the majority of this is school dependent.
 
Nov 6, 2013
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I am an applicant who just went through / is going through the process now, so, this is mostly stuff I wish I had known, grain of salt etc.

The end of October is likely the latest advisable date to take the GRE's, and earlier is better. It sounds like your timeline is ideal, way in advance of that. I took mine on November 5th, and sent my scores out as soon as they became available. Most schools did not indicate that they received the scores until December 3rd (I think they may have come in the mail slightly earlier than that, December 3rd was the first day after the Thanksgiving holiday this year). Please note: make your reservation for the test early! The reason I took the test so late is I had looked at making a reservation, saw there were plenty of spots, and said, "eh, I'll do it later." By the time I went to make the reservation (late September I think?) the next open test spot was Nov. 5th! I don't know if any schools decided not to look at my application because of technically receiving it after the 1st; I have already gotten an interview at one school with a December 1st deadline so who knows, other programs claim they don't even look at your application if they don't get it before that date.

For the subject test, you're probably be aware, but it's only offered 3 times a year so make sure you take it in April if you want the security of a redo in case it goes poorly the first time.

CUDCP says offers are generally extended by April 1st, but they do not have any hard and fast deadlines for letting you know, and explicitly say that it is acceptable to make an offer after April 15th.

I found personally that the amount of time an application took was pretty variable by school. Assuming you have already completed and collected your personal essays, personal statements, CVs, scanned transcripts, unofficial GRE score pages, writing samples... and any other possibly required materials... it can be as quick as 20 minutes or as long as 3 hours. There were some odd, unexpected questions within some of the applications that I filled out, so I recommend starting them early. And I can't tell you how much I wish I had started working on the personal statements earlier than I did.

You're starting the process around when I feel like I should have started mine and based on all your other posts it seems like you should do great. Best of luck!
 
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Nov 18, 2013
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I agree with QAsPsych. I am a current applicant, what was most helpful to me was starting my SOP early. I went through a LOT of drafts and editing to determine what I wanted/needed to say and how to say it in an (hopefully) eloquent and concise way. Obviously the essay was a bit different for each school and that takes time too, so you want to be sure to allow yourself time to write and rewrite until you are satisfied.

Also, request recommendations in a reasonable time frame so your letter writers have time to write a good recommendation and you don't have to sweat bullets on November 30th, waiting for them to submit their letters!
 
Jan 11, 2014
34
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Pre-Psychology
I agree with QAsPsych and mishpug's posts above. I am also a current applicant, applying for the second time, and there are many things that I did differently this second round.

For one, I started doing my research about programs and potential mentors around Mar/Apr and have many, many Excel spreadsheets with deadlines, mentors/research interests, required materials, application fees, etc. As soon as the applications become available (usually around late Aug- early Oct), I created an account with each program and started filling in the information. You'd be surprised how time-consuming it is to type in your contact info, previous employments, GRE scores, for all the programs! I've also discovered that some programs ask for very specific information that may take a bit of time to gather, so this is a good way of making sure you're not scrambling last minute to find this info. Also keep a Word Doc with your answers to all these extra questions (e.g. scholarships, fellowships, number of publications) so you have it handy for other applications that may ask for the same type of information. A few programs asked me to list classes/grades for the last 60 semester units that I took as well as classes/grades for all Psychology courses - so make sure you have an unofficial transcript lying around to use as a reference.

That's great that you are asking these questions early in the process. If you'd like, feel free to PM me for more info about the process. I know it's an incredibly stressful and scary process, especially if you do not have someone to provide you more guidance. Good luck!
 

Realities

5+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2012
32
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Psychology Student
My recommendations would be the following:

- Start looking for schools/potential mentors: February/March at the very latest
- Take the GRE: Late spring/early summer
- Ask recommendation letter providers: August or September at latest
- Personal Statement: September/October
- Order/send transcripts: October

I had December 1st deadlines for the majority of mine this year and found this timeline to be the least stressful. As others have said above, the earlier the better, particularly when it comes to your personal statement. It also takes quite a bit of time to fill out the applications themselves, depending on how many schools you apply to, so make some time for that.

My absolute top recommendation is to give yourself about 30 minutes a day to work on these, rather than one chunk of time a week. If you spread it out, you will find the process to be much less stressful than doing it all in a day or two.
 

denimfan

7+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2012
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Good for you in getting started on this early. In my experience, you should treat the whole year (e.g. from Spring of the year you apply to the Spring you might be hearing about interviews/offers) as an application period. You should already have a rough list of places you might be interested in applying to. First things first, I recommend contacting the POIs in May/June. Most POIs are super busy when it comes to the beginning of the academic year and during Spring due to admissions process. Some go on vacations during the summer. May/June of the academic year is actually the best time to contact them to start the dialogue if possible. As well, get started on the personal statements and go through many revisions over the year. Ask recommendations early as well, to all of your options. Some mentors might become unable to write letters for you later and it's better to have options on hand rather than asking a professor out of the blue last minute. Taking the GREs is entirely up to you. I recommend taking over the summer. One thing that was helpful to me: attend conferences! And network, network, network. You never know who you meet may be able to help you out down the road in this process, whether it's by putting you in contact with a current student of your prospective program or getting insider information from people in the field.
 
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fallen625

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Oct 8, 2012
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My biggest recommendation is to get started on the personal statement as soon as you are done with your GRE. I went through 40ish drafts of mine, and I think having a good personal statement is what helped me get many interviews.

Here was my timeline
March: Take GRE
April: Start looking at schools/work on personal statement & CV
June/July: Contact faculty
July/August/September: Personalize statement to all schools, get organized with applications
September: Email faculty for recommendations, start working on apps
October: Statements need to be finalized
November: Finalize apps
December-February: Prep for interviews
 
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briarcliff

briarcliff

7+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2011
744
357
USA
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks everyone! I have a tentative list of schools that I'm interested in - All are programs with POI's involved in trauma/anxiety research and with strong PTSD prac sites. Does anyone have any recommendations for the format of an SOP? I have a pretty solid cover letter that I've been revising over the last few years, and I've always imagined an SOP to be something like that but with additional text about why I want to/will be a good fit/deserve to go to the program I'm applying to. Once I have a finalized list of schools, I'll begin contacting POI's - Does anyone know when professors have an idea of whether or not they'll be accepting students in the fall? I've read so many horror stories of students being misinformed and professors changing their status from accepting new students to not-accepting new students at the last minute. I really appreciate all the help - Realities & Fallen625, the time line you both provided seems like a great guide to keep in mind throughout the process!!
 

fallen625

5+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2012
325
164
Status
Thanks everyone! I have a tentative list of schools that I'm interested in - All are programs with POI's involved in trauma/anxiety research and with strong PTSD prac sites. Does anyone have any recommendations for the format of an SOP? I have a pretty solid cover letter that I've been revising over the last few years, and I've always imagined an SOP to be something like that but with additional text about why I want to/will be a good fit/deserve to go to the program I'm applying to. Once I have a finalized list of schools, I'll begin contacting POI's - Does anyone know when professors have an idea of whether or not they'll be accepting students in the fall? I've read so many horror stories of students being misinformed and professors changing their status from accepting new students to not-accepting new students at the last minute. I really appreciate all the help - Realities & Fallen625, the time line you both provided seems like a great guide to keep in mind throughout the process!!
I am happy to send you my SOP / look over yours if you PM me when you are working on it.
 
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ahpsych

7+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2012
57
39
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks everyone! I have a tentative list of schools that I'm interested in - All are programs with POI's involved in trauma/anxiety research and with strong PTSD prac sites. Does anyone have any recommendations for the format of an SOP? I have a pretty solid cover letter that I've been revising over the last few years, and I've always imagined an SOP to be something like that but with additional text about why I want to/will be a good fit/deserve to go to the program I'm applying to. Once I have a finalized list of schools, I'll begin contacting POI's - Does anyone know when professors have an idea of whether or not they'll be accepting students in the fall? I've read so many horror stories of students being misinformed and professors changing their status from accepting new students to not-accepting new students at the last minute. I really appreciate all the help - Realities & Fallen625, the time line you both provided seems like a great guide to keep in mind throughout the process!!
I contacted professors around August/September, and found that most knew if they were taking students, and a few didn't know until much later. So far, I think only one of my POIs abruptly changed from taking students to not taking students. Another POI ended up not having funding, but we'd been corresponding back and forth and in December, the POI told me that not having funding was a very real possibility, so I wasn't surprised.

As far as format for my SOP, I gave an introduction to my topic of interest, showed both how I became interested in that (in terms of prior research experience) and then talked about what I am currently doing, and how that supports my interests. At the end, I described what it was about the specific program and professor that I liked.
 
Dec 28, 2013
12
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
When would you say the absolute latest one should take the GRE? I recently took it and am considering taking it again. Logistically speaking, with having a full course load, honors thesis, prepping for applications, when do you think the latest I could retake the GRE?