GRADUATE SCHOOL PLANNING
· Now is an excellent time to explore areas of psychology that interest you. One of the best ways to learn about careers in psychology is to conduct informational interviews with individuals working in your areas of interest.
· By the end of this year have a good idea of what area(s) of psychology you wish to consider for graduate study (e.g., experimental, social, clinical/counseling, industrial/organizational, physiological, cognitive, etc.).
· Consider planning an internship in psychology either during the summer months or during your Jr./Sr. years at GCC.
· If your career interests are quite focused, look at the APA guide to graduate programs in psychology during the second semester. This will allow you to identify programs that are realistic choices for you, and will enable you to write for further information during the summer months.
· Next year you will undoubtably be requesting letters of recommendation from the psychology faculty. If you want a strong letter of recommendation, you need to begin to demonstrate your desire for graduate school by going the “extra mile.” Just getting by in your courses and taking the minimal requirements is not enough.
SUMMER BEFORE YOUR SENIOR YEAR
· If you haven’t started, definitely begin to identify graduate schools that are of interest to you. It is a good practice to select some programs that are very likely to accept you (given your QPA, etc.), as well as others that may be more competitive. Toward the end of the summer write to your choices, requesting information, application materials and a catalog (Note: A postcard is adequate for this request).
· Devote regular time to reviewing and studying for the GRE. Review books for both the GRE General Exam and the Subject Exam in Psychology are available at most book stores (Walden Books, B. Dalton’s, etc.). Send in registration materials for the GRE in late August/early September, in order to take the GRE in October. If you are considering Ph.D. programs, taking the GRE General Exam in October is almost a must. If any schools require the GRE Subject Exam in Psychology, take it no later than the December testing date. It is generally not a good idea to take both the General Exam and Subject Test in Psychology on the same date. Registration materials for the GRE are available from the Student Affairs Office.
SENIOR YEAR/FALL SEMESTER
· You should have a good idea of what schools you are going to apply to and should have received or be receiving application materials from them.
· Take the GRE’s if they are required by the schools to which you are applying.
· Contact your reference writers to be sure they can provide a good recommendation. It is a good practice to ask their permission before you show up with your recommendation forms. The Psychology Department asks all Seniors to complete a Data Sheet which lists courses, grades, extracurricular activities, etc. These sheets are used to assist the faculty in writing recommendations for you, particularly if your academic record is not impressive. Please don’t request a recommendation without having a completed Data Sheet on file.
· Ideally, you should have all necessary materials (recommendation forms, stamped-addressed envelopes, etc.) to your reference writers prior to or immediately following Thanksgiving Break. Be sure to apprise your reference writers of any deadlines related to the recommendations, as well as the date you anticipate mailing in your application.
· Begin drafting a goal/aims statement. Many applications will request this kind of information. Starting now will allow you to seek editorial advice from your advisor which may give important hints on how to tailor your responses to specific graduate programs. (This is especially important for applicants to Ph.D. programs. You will want to become familiar with the faculty at those programs and their current areas of research).
CHRISTMAS RECESS/SENIOR YEAR
· You will most likely be filling out most of your applications during this break, especially if you are applying to Ph.D. programs (typical deadlines for applications are Jan./Feb.).
SENIOR YEAR/SPRING SEMESTER
· The hard work is largely over. However, be prepared for the possibility of telephone interviews, or perhaps even on-site interviews. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear anything right away. Many schools will not notify accepted candidates until April or even May! Relax!
· Depending upon your qualifications and academic track record, have a back-up plan for employment, just in case…