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I had a question about starting grad school. I recently graduated in May '14. I am currently working at an accounting firm and plan on attending grad school in the summer '15. I know that for accounting firms, Jan 1-Apr 15 is one of the busiest times of the year. I'm not sure if each school has their own policy but is it possible to apply to the grad schools now before the tax season gets underway and hopefully hear back from schools by Dec. but not enroll/take classes until the summer '15. Essentially deferring enrollment until the summer. I know it'll be hectic come tax season so it'd be nice to get the apps out of the way now. Any info is appreciated.



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Some programs do rolling admissions, which not only means that you can apply during any time of the year but also that you will receive a decision shortly after the application is reviewed.  So if you were to apply to such a program today you more-than-likely will have a decision by December. 


The ability to matriculate over the summer is a heck of a lot more tricky to answer.  It is not something that is common with traditional graduate school programs but there are outliers; particularly those programs that are geared towards "working adults". 


Two things to keep in mind:  you can apply to graduate schools as soon as applications are open.  There should be no reason why you cannot submit all of your applications prior to January 1.  And, unless you are applying for Spring 2015 admission the matriculation date will more likely be for the 2015/2016 academic year (Fall admission).  So, if you go through a typical admission cycle and defer your enrollment until the summertime the deferment would be for the Summer of 2016 if allowed, not 2015.  Some programs might allow you to begin taking courses over the summer, though.  


To be frank this is a question that would be best answered by a program director. 

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Agree with the above! This is assuming that you are applying for a research based PhD program rather than a professional masters type program (although it might still be the same, I just don't have experience with those). If this is the case, then following the above advice, you can finish all the application work before Jan 1 and you actually would not start until August/Sept/Oct 2015. 


However, to add to Crucial BBQ's post, one issue you might encounter is visit or interview weekends. Some fields/programs will require students to fly out and interview with the program while other fields/programs will accept the student first and pay for them to fly out and visit. It's always in your best interest to go to these, but they can be pretty tough for a working student. In general, they usually take place on something like a Thursday+Friday or Friday+Saturday or Monday+Tuesday etc. and they tend to happen between Feb and March. 


If you are completely unable to take time off work, maybe you can ask for a Skype interview/meeting instead of a physical visit. Or you might be able to work out a Saturday/Sunday visit (although I've heard that working weekends is not uncommon during tax season). In my opinion, a physical visit is really important when it's time to make your decision on which school you want to attend, especially if you are committing yourself to 5+ years of life there! In the end, you probably want to keep your current employer happy but you have to balance that with deciding what's best for you too!


I've found that many schools are understanding of working student schedules and will do what they can to accommodate you (i.e. Skype interviews and alternate visit dates). Good luck!

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