As a non-traditional student working my way through school, the finish line is near. One week before classes started this fall, I found out it was closer than expected: I am now to graduate in December! Great! Especially since I want to further my education and start applying to graduate schools for Fall 2012.  Unless I hadn’t prepared myself for this…Unless I hadn’t gone to the graduate school fair last fall at UIS…Oh. No. I didn’t even think about preparing for and taking the GRE until now.  All of these issues have been flooding my brain and my schedule…(did I mention in order to graduate I’m taking 20 credit hours this semester??) Soooo, between my classes, my internship, and my bartending job, when exactly am I supposed to shop for graduate schools?? I guess I should have gone to the Graduate School Fair in Fall of 2010, hosted right here at UIS. See, what most students don’t realize (including yours truly) is that freshman and sophomore years are a prime time to shop for graduate schools. Most students think they should wait until they are juniors and seniors, but the truth is, junior year you should have already have schools in mind and mostly ready to apply. By the time senior year rolls around, students should have applied to their top picks by October or November. Want my advice? Please don’t make the same mistake I did: attend the Graduate School Fair Thursday, November 3rd, whether you are a freshman, sophomore or even a junior, and get ahead while you still can!