Department of Psychology
Preparing for Graduate School
GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL INFORMATION
When should you start your preparation for graduate/professional school?
FRESHMAN YEAR - Start by obtaining a high grade point average (GPA) (at least 3.0 or higher). Begin to look into special programs such as NIGMS-MARC/U*STAR (National Institute of General Medical Sciences – Minority Access to Research Careers/Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research) to gain research experience. Start developing your resume and personal statements. Help with this is available through the Office of Career Planning and Placement. In order to obtain strong letters of recommendation for internships, research opportunities, etc. it is crucial that you begin to establish a relationship with your professors. Professors will be unable to write a strong letter on your behalf if s/he does not know who you are.
SOPHOMORE YEAR - Continue to maintain a high GPA. "Build up" your resume through summer internships, volunteer work in related fields, and research experience.
JUNIOR YEAR - Start looking seriously into the various areas of psychology and the different graduate schools. Be sure to attend the annual graduate/professional school recruitment day program. Send off for information on the requirements for graduate schools. You should also begin preparing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Watch for special summer programs. (Use the summer to "build up" your resume).
SENIOR YEAR - The first semester of your senior year should be devoted to maintaining your high GPA, but at this time, you should also apply to the different graduate schools. If you have not taken the GRE by now, do so. By the second semester of your senior year you should be waiting for acceptance letters or making plans to move on to your graduate institution.
NOTE: Information on the various graduate schools may be obtained online, from the library or the placement office. These sources will also provide information on fee waivers for admission applications as well as financial aid opportunities. Some information on graduate schools is also available in the Department Office.