How early should I start thinking about graduate school?

3 Answers
I started looking into Grad schools the summer of my junior year, since you need time to study for the GRE and really analyze all of the programs out there that are of interest to you, and narrow it down based on location, cost, professors on staff, time that it takes to complete the program, and the classes you'll be able to take.
Once you've narrowed it down, you want to start contacting a professor or two from each school to let them know that you are interested. Grad school relies more heavily on connections since it is so competitive. If you don't give yourself enough time, you might not be able to build a up a rapport with them before it's time to submit your apps.
You also want to give yourself enough time to ask your current professors for letters of rec. In my experience, it takes them about 2 months to write one since they are so busy, so don't leave it till the last minute.
Even if you aren't planning to go to grad school right away, you want to plan to get your letter of recs during your senior year so the professors you ask will remember you!!
This completely depends. If you plan on transitioning from your undergrad directly into a graduate program, you'll want to start looking in your Junior/Senior year of your undergrad program.

However, if you plan on gaining some experience first, take a look at graduate options as soon as it's feasible for you. Personally, I went this route, and I started looking at programs about 6 months before I wanted to begin a graduate program. Granted, I'm completing my master's online, so that gave me a little more flexibility with time, but this option in general allows you a little more flexibility in when you want to start looking.

I think the key here is that it's never too early to start looking into it, especially if you're undecided.
I recommend starting to think about grad school in your junior year of college, if you plan to go to graduate school directly after completing your undergraduate schooling. That gives you enough time to study for the GRE, take it, retake it if necessary, and have your scores in order as well as to research and discover what schools you want to go to and what professors you want to work with. You also have to start writing essays and filling out applications. Many schools have deadlines in late fall, so you have to have everything ready by fall of your senior year. Do not wait and cram everything into your already hectic senior year!

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