Presentation on theme: "WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AS AN UNDERGRADUATE TO GET INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL So you want to go to grad school, huh?"— Presentation transcript:
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AS AN UNDERGRADUATE TO GET INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL So you want to go to grad school, huh?
Getting into Graduate School Graduate programs are VERY competitive. <10% of all psych majors enter Ph.D. programs Masters programs are a little less competitive In order to achieve your goals, you need to be well prepared and set yourself apart from other applicants. This presentation focuses on 3 issues: 1. What are graduate programs looking for? 2. How can you best meet those expectations? 3. What timeline should you follow to prepare for graduate school?
What are graduate programs looking for? Evidence of Ability GPA Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Fit with their program Previous research &/or professional experiences Personal statement Evidence of motivation to succeed Previous research &/or professional experiences Choice of undergraduate electives Extracurricular involvement Good letters of recommendation hit on all three More on this in Dr. Stephens presentation tomorrow!
What are graduate programs looking for? Evidence of Ability GPA Check with the program to determine which GPA they are interested in Cumulative, upper-division courses (e.g., last 90 credits), or Psychology major courses Typical requirements Minimum requirement of 3.5 for most Ph.D. programs 3.0 or higher for M.A. programs What to do if your GPA is low? Stress your stronger GPA in upper-level & psychology major courses Take advantage of FIUs forgiveness policy
What are graduate programs looking for? Evidence of Ability Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – General test Three sections Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning Analytical Writing Competitive students have scores of 600+ on each section Psychology subject test Required by some programs ~2 hours long – consists of ~205 multiple choice questions Only offered a three times/year
What are graduate programs looking for? Fit with their program Programs prefer students whose past experiences & interests complement their focus Personal statements serve to indicate how well the students future interests coincide with the programs goals More on writing your personal statement in Dr. Stephens presentation tomorrow! Evidence of motivation to succeed Extracurricular research/professional experiences shows an intrinsic motivation to learn more Involvement in extracurricular clubs (e.g., Psi Chi, PRIME, etc.) shows further interest in pursuing psychological goals Psi Chi (National Honor Society in Psychology) Psychology Research Initiative Mentorship Program (PRIME) Look for students who take challenging undergraduate electives Easy electives (e.g., Spanish 101) do not enhance your application In contrast, more difficult electives in Psychology, Math, & Science make your application stronger
How do you meet these expectations? Keep your GPA high Focus on your GPA early. Once its low, it is difficult to raise your GPA. Prepare for the GRE Take the time to prepare for the GRE. Many students begin studying months in advance. Dont cram!! Choose your electives wisely Dont take the easy way out. Take some challenging electives that complement your grad school interests. Get experience!!
Getting experience as an undergraduate Identify the area(s) that youre most interested in Determine what type of experience is right for you. Are you interested in pursuing experimental or professional psychology? Experimental: Social, Cognitive, Developmental, Clinical Science (PhD), Neuropsychology, etc. Professional: Counseling, Social Work, Clinical (PsyD), School, etc. Get to know your professors Talk to them before/after class. Go to office hours. Dont just show up to shoot the breeze though. Go in prepared to discuss psychology and the material youre covering in class. Professors are busy people….make sure you use the time wisely. Find out information about all FIU faculty members E.g., What do they research? What training do they have? Where do they do their research? Do they typically have undergraduates involved in their labs? etc. Identify those that you may be interested in working with. Can find some of this information on the FIU Psychology Department website
Getting involved in research Approach a faculty member whose research interests complement yours You should try to work with a faculty member who conducts research in the area youre interested in pursuing in grad school. E.g., if interested in clinical psychology, approach a faculty member who conducts clinical research. What if your interests are different than all of the faculty members? Identify faculty members whose interests are most closely related to your interests. The basic methods of doing research are quite similar regardless of subspecialty, so it is OK to work with a professor in a different field than your primary interest. Who knows…maybe youll find that youre actually most interested in that area anyway.
Getting involved in research Research requirements differ across faculty members Some general points: You should begin working in a lab in your Sophomore or Junior years Some faculty wont accept students in their Senior year due to the limited time the students would be involved in the lab. Students volunteer their time for the first semester or two Assist with ongoing laboratory research projects. E.g., create materials, administer sessions, collect/enter data, conduct statistical analyses Later opportunity to earn course credit for Independent Research (PSY 4916) or Honors Thesis (PSY 4914) May be able to design & administer own project with faculty guidance.
Getting professional experience If pursuing professional psychology, identify clinical opportunities Typically will involve volunteering your time for community organizations that assist with mental health services Speak with clinical & counseling faculty members for more information regarding these opportunities Dr. Lisa Lewis Arango (Director – Counseling Psych M.A. program) Other faculty: Dr. Jacob Gerwitz Dr. Mary Levitt Dr. William Lickliter Dr. Marilyn Montgomery Dr. Wendy Silverman Dr. Jonathan Tubman May be able to earn course credit (PSY 4941)
Timeline for preparing for graduate school* Freshman Develop strong learning habits Take your coursework seriously. Prepare for every class and be active in discussions. Build strong study habits. Make notes of psychology topics that interest you Get to know your instructors Talk shop with them before/after class and during office hours. Building a good relationship with faculty is important for obtaining strong recommendations later on. *Detailed timeline is available in the Psychology Majors Handbook
Timeline for preparing for graduate school* Sophomore Start planning/taking electives in Math & Science Discuss available options with your academic advisor Focus on keeping your GPA high Find out more about the psychology topics that interest you Identify graduate programs that train in these areas. Contact these programs to learn more about their requirements. Identify FIU faculty members that do work in areas youre interested in Contact them to learn about opportunities to work in their labs. *Detailed timeline is available in the Psychology Majors Handbook
Timeline for preparing for graduate school* Junior Keep your GPA high Start getting extracurricular experience if you havent already Contact a faculty member about joining his/her lab. If interested in professional psych (e.g., clinical, counseling, etc.), set up professional experiences/internships. Continue preparing for the GRE & other required tests Register for and take the GRE in the spring semester *Detailed timeline is available in the Psychology Majors Handbook
Timeline for preparing for graduate school* Summer between Junior & Senior year Complete professional experience/internship (if necessary) Continue gaining research experience Discuss opportunity to develop independent research project with your faculty mentor. Contact graduate programs for more detailed information E.g., application packets, financial aid forms, etc. Research faculty members in potential graduate programs to identify complementary interests Make contact with faculty you may be interested in working with. Begin preparing your curriculum vita/resume Identify who you will ask to write your reference letters Plan visits to programs you are interested in (if possible) *Detailed timeline is available in the Psychology Majors Handbook
Timeline for preparing for graduate school* Senior Continue research/professional experiences Conduct independent research if possible. Narrow down list of schools to apply to Take the GRE if you havent done so already Ask faculty members to write your letters of reference Request official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions Do this early as registrar offices typically get overloaded with requests late in the Fall semester. Write your personal statement Complete & submit applications Most deadlines are between December 15 and January 15, so start preparing early!! More on this in Dr. Stephens presentation tomorrow! *Detailed timeline is available in the Psychology Majors Handbook
Additional Resources More information on preparing for graduate school can be found on the following sites: FIUs Applied Social Cognition Laboratory undergraduate page FIUs Applied Social Cognition Laboratory undergraduate page Psych Web's Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors Psych Web's Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors University of Northern Iowa's Pursuing Psychology Graduate School University of Northern Iowa's Pursuing Psychology Graduate School