Read these 14 Succeed in Your Psychology Program Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Psychology Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.
Continuing education is very important for those in the psychology industry. Fortunately for these individuals, there are many online psychology courses which are available for continuing education purposes. While some students who are pursuing psychology degrees may be apprehensive about taking online courses, this is really one of the best methods for taking continuing education courses. This is because online courses have a great deal of flexibility which enables the student to download materials, review them and answer test questions at his convenience. This makes it possible for the student to complete the course requirements without neglecting family, work or social obligations.
When selecting online courses for continuing education purposes, students should seek out courses which are relevant, interesting and approved by the American Psychological Association. This will help to ensure the courses are not only worthwhile and of interest to the student but also successfully fulfill all continuing education requirements for retaining a license.
The type of psychology training a student needs is largely dependent on personal and career goals. Students who have career aspirations to work as a professional licensed psychologist will require a great deal of training and education to achieve their dreams. In most states, licensing requirements for professional psychologists require a doctorate degree as well as passing difficult licensing examinations. Obtaining a doctorate degree will typically involve completing approximately 5-7 years of education subsequent to obtaining a masters degree. It will also involve the completion of a psychological dissertation.
Students who wish to use their psychology training either for personal use or to pursue careers which are only remotely related to psychology will require significantly less training and education than those pursuing a career as a professional psychologist. Graduates may find themselves well qualified for a variety of positions in sales, marketing, personnel and education with only an undergraduate degree in psychology. Graduates may even qualify for these positions with only a minor in psychology accompanying a bachelors degree in an unrelated field.
Determining which psychology programs are worthwhile will depend on a wide range of factors. Students who are considering entering a psychology program for either an undergraduate or a graduate degree are encouraged to consider their career and personal goals and then evaluate the programs accordingly. This is important because the worth of a psychology program is closely related to whether or not the program can assists the student in reaching his career goals.
Most importantly a student should consider whether or not psychology programs are accredited in making a decision about the worth of the program. This is especially important if the student intends to pursue higher level degrees or seek out employment using the degree obtained through this program. This is relevant because graduate schools and potential employers may not accept degrees from unaccredited universities as valid.
Next a student should consider the types of degrees and courses offered by the school. This will help in the decision making process because it will enable the student to eliminate any schools which do not offer the degree he is seeking as well as schools which do not offer courses of particular interest to the student.
Finally, the student should consider factors such as cost and location. This is important because while certain psychology programs may be worthwhile, they will not be beneficial to the student if he either cannot afford participation in the program or cannot physically attend the school due to factors related to location.
Related Tip: There are many worthwhile psychology programs but each student must carefully evaluate the worth of these programs in terms of his own specific criteria. This may include factors such as degrees offered, courses offered, location and cost. Worth is a relative term and while one program may be ideal for one student's needs it may be inadequate for another student's needs.
Determining which psychology courses are most useful will depend on the student's personal and career intentions. Students who are taking psychology courses with the desired result of obtaining an undergraduate degree in psychology should carefully consider the course requirements as well as career and personal goals. These considerations will help the student to determine which courses will be most helpful in meeting these goals.
Graduate level students such as those seeking a masters degree or a doctorate degree often determine which psychology courses are most useful based on degree requirements as well as career aspirations. During the course of achieving these higher level degrees many students find fulfilling the degree requirements to be a rather difficult process and do not often have time to take classes for entertainment and information purposes only. Therefore, these students often tailor their course loads to ensure they are taking classes which will not only help them obtain their degree but also prepare them for their specific career goals. For example those who wish to work as a child psychologist will find psychology courses related to psychology for children and adolescents to be the most useful.
Related Tip: Students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in a field other than psychology may still wish to take psychology courses as electives. These courses can often be used to fulfill humanities and social science degree requirements. However, in these cases, students are usually taking these classes for purposes of a personal nature. The student may have an interest in learning more about the subject, may want to learn more about a disorder a friend or relative is suffering with or may simply be seeking to take courses in a wide variety of subjects.
You'll need to ask for help at times while you're in college. Whether you need a resource of some sort, a referral for more specialized help, need to talk out a personal or academic issue or need something else from someone, go ahead and ask. No one will expect you to have all of the answers. Ask your instructors, other campus personnel, other students and read descriptions of what's available on your campus. You'll be in college to learn and asking questions is the first step. Become familiar with all of the available student services on your campus, as well as the various academic departments. the library, financial aid office, administrative functions and other campus resources available to you. Knowing where to find the help you need will save you a lot of frustration later on, and every student needs help now and again.
Find some time to join and participate in at least one group or two on campus. Volunteer to help other students. Attend college events. Mingle with other students on and off campus. Share your thoughts and feelings with the people you meet. Ask others about themselves. College is a powerful place to learn far more than you can ever learn from only a textbook. When you go to college, it may be the first time you have contact with a diverse number of people. Even if your earlier schooling, neighborhood or church provided you with this opportunity, college will probably offer an even wider spectrum of social contacts. This is a wonderful chance to learn more about others' perspectives and the world; to strengthen your social skills, help you develop positive attitudes towards others and yourself, and understand better how to negotiate the arenas of career and social life once you're out of college.
Some of the people you meet in college may also turn out to be friends, and good contacts for future jobs and other resources. Some may be people you'll have disagreements with because of your different circumstances. These can all be of benefit to you. You'll very likely meet people from various age groups, religions, socio-economic conditions, ethnicities, nationalities and a wide array of other backgrounds. Enjoy this diversity, learn from it and your present and future will be richer in many ways.
Learning together can be a powerful way to study and complete assignments. Some of your college instructors will undoubtedly use paired or group learning methods in the classroom, such as by leading class discussions and assigning certain tasks to pairs and groups. Some instructors also assign work outside of class time to pairs and groups of students. The reason they do this is that they know you and your fellow students can learn in this way. You can use this method on your own too. This doesn't mean stealing the work of others, but does mean great opportunities to learn through exchanging ideas, reciting what is to be learned, reviewing your reading and asking each other questions. There is some benefit to having to put into words what you're learning, as well as hearing others' interpretations of the material.
Remember the old maxim that the teacher learns more than the student? It's true that helping another student, or even formally tutoring, also helps students who teach to learn. In a broader sense, any time that you study or work on an assignment with another person, you are also developing cooperative, team, group, communication, and perhaps even diversity, skills. If you find it difficult or frustrating, it probably means it's a great opportunity for learning those skills.
SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. Remember this and practice it. It works for most students.
1) To survey, look first at what you need to study.
2) Write down questions before and as you read the material.
3) Read with the intent to answer questions and pay special attention to anything emphasized.
4) To recite means to periodically stop reading and summarize what you've learned, whether you do that aloud, in writing or just in your head.
5) When you're done reading, review what you've learned.
For more on this, Dr. Bob Kilik's article, "Effective Study Skills," and "The SQ3R Reading Method." There are many other sites, books and print articles on learning good study skills too. See a few of them and adopt what works for you.
Sleep, nutrition, exercise, socialization, avoidance of drugs and alcohol, and safe sex or abstinence are all a part of staying healthy while you're in college. While all of this may seem obvious, the need to let go after a period of stress lands many students in trouble with their physical and emotional health. It will take a good level of responsibility on your part to maintain a healthy schedule, choose friends wisely and take care of yourself while under the pressures of college. In addition, many students have outside obligations, such as work and families, that can make the stressors of college even more difficult.
If you become ill, see a doctor. If you find your attitude is slipping, see a counselor. Follow their recommendations. You are a unique individual, but not so different from many other students they've seen and advised. If you feel down for a period of time, find yourself drinking or using drugs to escape, or experience a frequent need to isolate yourself from other people, get help. There's no shame in this: In fact, getting help is wisdom.
You'll hear it from instructors. You'll hear it from college counselors. You'll even hear it from some some of your wiser friends. Don't cram. This means no foregoing sleep to study for a test, or to complete a reading or writing assignment. If you've planned and followed a complete, balanced and written schedule, you shouldn't feel compelled to cram. Cramming results in poor test scores, little information absorbed, sloppily written papers, poor health and take can several days of valuable time to recover your regular sleep schedule. You may hear some other students who claim they cram successfully: This just means they're taking risks with their college education.
If you find that you're often running up against deadlines, see a counselor about learning some more efficient time management and study skills. You may need to adjust your schedule for better balance and prioritizing, or find better ways to keep your study within time frames. If it's a one-time or once-in-awhile issue, talk to your instructor about extending a deadline for a paper or what to focus on for an upcoming test.
Seek balance in your schedule, even though it may often be difficult to fully achieve it. You may need to cut down your work hours, take fewer courses or limit your social and other leisure activities more than you're accustomed to. You don't need to cut any of these out completely, though, and you shouldn't eliminate even your social and leisure time altogether. At least a few hours of weekly leisure and social life are necessary to regeneration, providing energy for your academic work.
Good time management is required to be successful in college. This no less true for Psychology students than students of other disciplines. A daily planning calendar is essential to good time management and you might as well get used to using one now as you'll probably need to use one in your work-life later on, too. Buy one with large enough pages per day to write down several activities, or you can make your own pages using a word processor and put the pages into a spiral notebook.
Note-taking in college classes can be a challenge at first. Master it. This is a skill that will certainly benefit you. Try using an outline format and leaving out the ands, buts, its and so forth. Develop a few of your own common abbreviations. Write down all points emphasized verbally by the instructor and anything the instructor writes on the board. Look at your notes later the same day, before you forget that day's class content, and complete them if they aren't clear. In time, you'll see improvement. If you need more help learning to take good notes, see a counselor and you may want to read up on skills for college. A good resource is, "Becoming a Master Student," by Dave Ellis -- a book that many successful students have used.
Write down your class times, writing assignment timeliness, study times and meeting times in your daily planner. Spread your writing assignment and study times evenly throughout your week, rather than trying to do it all in one, two or three days. If you have other obligations, such as work hours, family responsibilities and personal appointments, write those down too. Be sure to schedule yourself at least 10-minute breaks for each hour of your study and writing time. Include daily and weekly time for meals, exercise and leisure, too. Allow yourself the hours you need for sufficient sleep. Remember that overbooking yourself, cramming into the night, or neglecting your nutritional, sleep, exercise and social/recreational needs will undermine your education, as well as your health.