So you’ve accepted your grad school offer…now what?

What should you be doing after accepting a grad school offer? Walk through the Rice process with us!

Fireworks over Lovett Hall

It’s early April. You’ve gone through the nerve-wracking process of evaluating your grad school offers, and have finally accepted the offer from the school of your dreams. CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve taken the first big step toward that next degree - you should be very proud of yourself!

You may also find yourself wondering…now what? You’ve accepted the offer, and you’ve been so busy all this time leading up to it. You should be doing something now, right? Well…not necessarily. Let’s walk through the Rice process so you know what to expect!


First, familiarize yourself with the Rice academic calendar, the After Admission pages, and, for international students, the Office of International Students and Scholars website - these will be great tools for learning more about Rice. You can also join our Discord server, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, connect with one of our Graduate Student Ambassadors, or read their grad student blog for all things Rice! You can also take a virtual tour of our beautiful Rice campus.


Upon accepting your offer (or preferably even earlier) you’ll also want to research housing options. Applications for Rice housing are due April 20, and you should receive notification in early May if your application was approved. You can learn more about Rice housing here, and off-campus options here.

Formally accepting the offer

If you have let your future advisor know that you’ve accepted the offer, that is great! Make sure you also formally accept (or decline) the offer through the official channels as well. Many schools will want to hear about your experience during the application process, so if there is a chance to submit that feedback, make sure to take the opportunity to do so! Your input can help future applicants.

At Rice, you can officially accept or decline an offer via the application portal, by using the Reply Form.

Student Record Creation

Upon formally accepting your offer, your graduate program administrator will validate your data and send your information to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for student record creation. GPS will create your student record within two weeks. Once your record is created, an email with your Student ID, NetID and Rice-email address will be sent to you. If you have not received an email notification within this timeframe, please reach out directly to your graduate program administrator for support. 

Deep Dive: What is a NetID? What is ESTHER?

International Students - Starting the Visa Process

International students - once your student record is created, the Office of International Students and Scholars will begin to work on your visa paperwork. Please keep an eye on your email for an invitation from to set up your OISS Portal account, and visit the OISS Portal informational webpage to learn your next steps and the documents you will need to prepare to upload through your secure OISS Portal account. All new international students admitted to Rice University must complete their international student profile in the OISS Portal, regardless of immigration status. 

Obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa requires a minimum of 6-8 weeks. If you plan to matriculate early, please talk to your program of application as soon as possible.

Enrolling in Duo

All Rice students need to enroll in Duo. Once you receive the notification of record creation described above, enroll in two-factor authentication using Duo, which provides additional security for access to university data, personal data and some accounts. Duo offers several options for authenticating users: a mobile push notification, one-button verification of identity to a smartphone, as well as voice and SMS verification. Duo will be required when logging in to Esther, using VPN to access university resources from off campus, and to access the Online Account Management System for your NetID. Go to:

Checking your Rice Email

Your program administrator and the GPS office may begin to send communications to your Rice email address. And in May, you’ll begin to receive our “Taking Flight” and “GradDigest” newsletters. Make sure you check these emails regularly so that you don’t miss important information!

Final Transcripts

Final transcripts for matriculating students are due Oct. 1 (Feb. 15 for Spring admits). After your most recent degree is conferred, and by this deadline, submit a request to your previous institution to send an official transcript directly to your department coordinator. This transcript must show the degree was conferred. For questions on this process, reach out directly to your program administrator and your previous institution. It’s important to submit these on time, as a $75 late fee is issued for transcripts received after the deadline!

Make a note of all important dates and deadlines

There are lots of important dates and deadlines that you will need to make note of. Most of these can be found on the After Admission part of the GPS website. Some dates and deadlines may come from your program directly (such as deposit deadlines if applicable, program orientation dates, etc.). Some important dates to note for Fall 2022 matriculants are below, but please note your department may have additional deadlines and requirements:

  • April 20: Rice housing application deadline
  • July 1: Health Data Forms are for all new full-time students, as well as proof of a physical exam
    • It is possible that COVID-19 vaccination status will be requested; please keep an eye on your email and familiarize yourself with current C-19 policies here.
  • August 15-16: International Graduate Student Orientation
  • August 17: General Graduate Student Orientation
  • August 18: Course registration opens at 5 p.m. for all new Rice students
  • August 22: First day of classes
  • August 26: Course registration closes
  • August 27: Deadline to enroll in (or waive) student health insurance
  • October 1: All required trainings should be complete
  • October 1: Transcripts Due


Keep an eye out for part II of this blog...planning your move to Houston!


Further Reading:

Grad school: Expectations vs. reality

What to expect during year one of grad school

4 easy ways to prep for your first year of grad school