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graduate school - Getting into Graduate School in...

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Unformatted text preview: Getting into Graduate School in Psychology Davor Zink Why do students attend graduate school in psychology? Deep interest in understanding human behavior Thirst for knowledge and discovery Unique opportunity to contribute to the discipline and enhance the knowledge base Why do students attend graduate school in psychology? Contribute to society Help others in need Career advancement Prestige associated with a doctoral degree Do you need to attend Graduate School? During the 19992000 school year, more than 12,500 students enrolled in graduate psychology programs. A decision to attend graduate school should reflect your interests, goals, dreams, and abilities. Careful selfanalysis and soul searching is critical. What kind of career do you want? Is it really necessary to go to graduate school to achieve your goals? Are there alternative ways of achieving them? What are your reasons? How will a MA or PhD help you attain your goals? ASK YOURSELF... Full Time Commitment: 5060 hours per week on studies and research Why is it important to question your intentions? Long Term Investment: 5 years Student loan debts in some cases reaching $100,000 or more Carefully consider and discuss your decision with: Significant Others Family Advisors Faculty If you decide to go to graduate school be prepared for some of the most exciting times in your life as you meet prominent psychologists and enter a new world of information. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A GRADUATE DEGREE? Teach High School, College, University, Medical School. Conduct research University, Private organization, Industry or Business. Practice psychology in applied settings Industry or Business. Engage in a variety of consulting and applied roles Therapist. Requires 2 years MA or MS Service oriented fields: clinical, counseling, I/O, and school psychology Thesis Very popular degree More students enter master's programs than doctoral programs 13,000 students receive MA in psychology each year Currently the degree of choice for practitioners Master's Degree Teach psychology in high school and junior colleges Become more competitive for jobs in government and industry Practice clinical, counseling, or school psychology under supervision Obtain certification or licensure for school psychology (depending on state) and practice I/O psychology. Pursue alternative careers in counseling. Research positions in universities, government, business, and private organizations. Master's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree Many MA programs serve as springboards to PhD programs Useful when you lack the undergraduate credentials to get accepted directly into a PhD program When you do not possess the GPA scores and research experience desired by doctoral programs. Doctoral Degrees Essential if planning on conducting research or being a college professor Provides greater range of flexibility and autonomy than a master's degree 57 years to complete Clinical and counseling includes one year of internship or supervised practice PhD = Doctor of Philosophy Research degree that culminates in a dissertation based on original research. In clinical and counseling is more flexible: research, teaching, writing, and clinical practice. PsyD = Doctor of Psychology Only in clinical and counseling psychology, it is considered a professional degree. PhD or PsyD? PhD = (Scientistpractitioner) Research and methodology, specialized knowledge in a particular area PsyD = (Professional program) Practitioner degree that emphasizes clinical training Generally more expensive than PhD Takes a little less time Professional programs train students to be educated customers rather than generators of research PhD or PsyD? Skills and Abilities Sought by Graduate Programs The extent to which the applicant's interests and skills match the program's goals. Research experience, conference presentations, and publications. Interest by member/s of the selection committee in working with a particular applicant. The clarity, focus and content of the applicant's admission essays. VERY IMPORTANT Skills and Abilities Sought by Graduate Programs Experience as research assistant. Writing skills. Knowledge about and interest in the program. Number of statistics, research methodology, and hard science courses taken. Prestige and status of faculty in undergraduate department, especially of those who are writing letters of recommendation. Potential of success as judged by interview. Honors and merit scholarships. GENERALLY IMPORTANT The Application Most obvious part: the application form itself Neatness counts, so make copies before you begin! Total GRE Score: verbal and quantitative scores (each ranging from 200 to 800) sum to a total of 1600 total possible points A minimum of 1100 is generally required to be accepted into a good graduate program. Administered by computer throughout the year, but plan to take it in the spring or summer before applying to graduate school. GENERAL TEST Verbal Reasoning scores are reported on a 130 -- 170 score scale, in 1 point increments. Two 30min sections. Quantitative Reasoning scores are reported on a 130 -- 170 score scale, in 1 point increments. Two 35min. Sections. Analytical Writing scores are reported on a 0 -- 6 score scale, in half point increments. Two essay tasks 30min each Total time approx 3h 45min. GENERAL TEST Standardized test that measures a variety of skills that are thought to predict success in graduate school. Yields three scores: verbal ability, quantitative ability, and analytical writing ability. Graduate schools consider the verbal and quantitative sections to be particularly important. GENERAL TEST About half of all doctoral programs require it. 215 questions that tap information from core psychology courses 40% experimental and natural sciences 43% social science areas 17% history, I/O, applied, measurement, research, & statistics Administered 3 times a year: April, November, & December PSYCHOLOGY TEST This is your chance to communicate directly with the admissions committee. Present yourself as the person behind the GPA and the GRE scores. Reflect your ability to write, to stick to the task at hand, and to persuade readers. Admissions Essays and Personal Statements You can make yourself stand out. Usually programs provide a topic on which to write about. Career plans General interest areas Research experiences Academic objectives Clinical or other field experience Academic background and achievements Personal and professional development Common Topics Tailor your essay to the specific question and the program. Don't write a generic essay to send to all programs. Do not disclose personal information that might be construed negatively. This is your chance to present your strengths and really shine. Admissions Essays and Personal Statements Most graduate programs require three letters of recommendation. Written by faculty member or supervisor. Discusses personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make you unique and perfect for the programs to which you have applied. Aim for a set of letters covering the range of your skills (academic, research, applied). Letters of Recommendation Your Recommenders Should: Know you well and have known you for a long time. Know your work and describe it positively. Have a high opinion of you. Know where you are applying as well as your educational and career goals. Favorably compare you with your peers. Be able to write a good letter. Your transcript. Resume or vita. GRE scores. Courses you have taken with them and grades. Research experiences. Internship and other applied experiences. Honor societies to which you belong. Provide your Recommenders with a File Containing the Following: Provide your Recommenders with a File Containing the Following: Awards you have won Work experience Professional goals Due date of application Information about the programs to which you are applying Copy of each of the application recommendation forms Offers an opportunity to meet the people behind the scores and application requirements. The Interview Allows the admissions committee to meet you and see how you react under pressure, and to assess your verbal and noverbal communication skills. Might range from half an hour with one or two faculty members to a whole day. May take place on site, over the phone, or not at all. How to Prepare for the Interview Learn as much about the program as possible. Review the program's description, and department and faculty websites. Understand the program's emphasis and be aware of the faculty's research interests. Consider how you will answer common interview questions. Ask questions. In the Interview Try to get a sense of the department's emotional climate. Try to get a sense of whether the atmosphere matches your personality. Learn about the program and whether it meets your needs. ACCEPTANCE Most programs: March through early April. In most cases your decision on whether to accept an offer is due April 15th. May seem like a happy ending, but it is only the beginning of the next happy phase of your career. USEFUL INFORMATION http://www.apa.org http://www.apa.org/gradstudy http://media.cla.auburn.edu/psychology/gs/i ndex.cfm ...
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