Because of COVID-19, your classes, extracurricular activities and job/research opportunities may look a little different this academic year. Have you thought about how all of this affects the way you will prepare for grad school applications? The application process will be affected in an unprecedented way. How can you use technology and virtual opportunities in a creative way to get started on your graduate school applications?

AcceptU delivers all of its support virtually and we can help you navigate the graduate application process. We can support you on all aspects of the admissions process, from pre-application planning, to your school list, statement of purpose strategy/revision and application completion. Below is an outline for when to start each step of the application process along with tips to help you stay ahead of the curve as you begin to explore and apply to graduate programs.


  • Request official transcripts from your undergraduate institution.
  • With your counselor’s guidance, select your recommenders. This may be 2 – 3 professors, mentors, coaches or managers. Send your recommenders supplemental materials (résumé and personal statement) that they can then reference when writing their letter of recommendation.
  • Make contact with students and professors at your prospective schools and programs.
  • Attend a virtual webinar or lecture to learn more about the university and make sure the program is the right fit for you. It is wise to put together a timeline of all deadlines and due dates for applications.


  • Have a counselor revise, edit and approve your personal statement and begin to do the same for all supplemental materials.
  • Take standardized exams if you have not yet done so; make sure that your scores will be sent directly to schools. Because of COVID-19, many students are unable to take the standardized exams. Fortunately, most universities have been flexible with requirements and some have even removed this requirement from their application. Research to find out which of the schools you are applying to will require these exams.
  • If you require an English language exam (Duolingo, IELTS or TOEFL), be sure to complete this test as soon as possible. Most universities still require an English language exam for non-native English speakers who did not study in an English-speaking country for an undergraduate degree.


  • Work closely with your counselor to complete and submit all grad applications with December due dates, keeping copies of every section for your records.
  • Verify that your recommendations and test scores have been sent to each program you’ve applied to.


  • Continue to submit applications as the deadlines approach. Because of the pandemic, many programs have pushed their deadline dates back, extending into February or March. AcceptU recommends that students submit their application when it is the best reflection of who they are as an applicant; don’t submit an application that is not ready, but try to submit as far ahead of deadlines as possible.

After you submit your applications, it’s time to sit back and play the waiting game! Most schools notify students of their acceptance status during the months of March, April or May, though with the pandemic having an impact on processing times, we also expect that some notification dates may be extended past these months.

About the author
Emily Hadfield

Em received a BS in global business management and a BA in Chinese language from the University of Rhode Island. Em has been studying Mandarin Chinese for five years, including a year at Beijing Union University. Em manages marketing, event planning and client relations for graduate counseling as well as Impact programs.

Join an upcoming webinar
Download a resource guide