Read these 9 Psychology Degree Admissions 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.
Students who are applying to psychology schools will likely spend a great deal of time filling out psychology school application forms and completing the entire application process. The components of the individual application packages will vary from school to school but will likely include an application form, a personal statement, an official transcript, GRE test scores and letters of recommendation as well as the inclusion of a check to cover the cost of application fees.
When filling out psychology school application forms students should be aware that not all forms are the same and should carefully review each school's requirements before beginning the application process. Some students finding maintaining a spreadsheet of all of the schools to which they wish to apply, the deadlines for the application process and the application requirements is an excellent way to make sure each application is completed correctly and all required elements are submitted with the application package. This is very important because failure to follow directions or leaving out necessary parts of the application may disqualify the student from the application process regardless of his qualifications. Therefore the most important factor for students to consider when applying to psychology schools is ensuring all instructions are followed carefully.
Applying to psychology schools is a process which is both difficult and time consuming. Students who are considering graduate psychology schools may be overwhelmed by the number of options available to them as well as the relatively low acceptance rates. However, students who are well organized will find the process to be much more manageable than students who take a haphazard approach to applying to psychology schools.
Before applying to psychology schools, students should carefully consider the options available to them and should determine whether they wish to apply to a masters degree program or a doctorate degree program. The application requirements for both will be rather similar but the amount of time required to complete the programs as well as the career possibilities after completion of the programs will vary dramatically. Therefore, the amount of time available to complete the education process and career aspirations should be carefully considered before applying to psychology schools.
Applying to psychology schools is not only an arduous process but it can also be an expensive one, especially if the student is applying to a large number of schools as each school will likely have an application fee. Most students wish to apply to schools which are their ideal but are highly competitive, schools which are less competitive and schools which are the least competitive. However, students who do not have the funding available to apply to a large number of schools may have to limit themselves to applying to schools to which they have a greater chance of being accepted.
Students applying for admission to graduate psychology schools should be well prepared for the lengthy application process. The deadlines and requirements will vary slightly for different schools. Students should be aware of all of these requirements before beginning the application process. This includes paying particular attention to timeline items to determine when each task in the application process should be completed. It is typically not possible to complete a graduate school application in a matter of a day or two simply because there are a number of factors which the student cannot control such as the timing of the GRE examination and the completion of letters of recommendation by faculty members. Consider the general components of a graduate school application packet. It may include elements such as an application form, a personal statement, official transcripts, GRE test scores and letters of recommendation from faculty members or other references.
A student may be able to complete the application form and personal statement in a matter of a day or two but most students would prefer to spend more time on these components and ideally would like to have a friend, family member, peer or mentor review the statement and provide feedback. Many students spend a great deal of time working on the personal statement rather than trying to rush to complete it.
Now consider other elements of the application package such as the official transcripts, GRE test scores and letters of recommendations. Students should take the GRE well in advance of actually applying to graduate school. This is important because taking the test early will allow the student enough time to have the test scored before the application process. Most graduate psychology schools set deadline with these dates in mind as GRE tests are standardized and are taken by students around the country at the same time. However, students may wish to taking this test early enough to have an opportunity to retake the exam before the application deadline if they are not pleased with the original scores. In fact many students wish to wait until they obtain satisfactory GRE scores before making the decision to apply to graduate schools. Students should also allow sufficient time to obtain official transcripts and letters of recommendations. Most schools require approximately one week for processing transcript requests. The length of time required to obtain a letter of recommendation will depend on the person writing the recommendation and his schedule.
See the financial aid office on campus or, if you're in high school, talk to an advisor there. Ask for the best advice for your particular circumstances. There are also many web sites, books and other printed materials that can provide you with financial advice concerning payment of costs of college. Scholarships, loans and grants are available to many, if not most, prospective students and current college students. Don't let cost deter you from higher education, but do be reasonable about choosing a college you can afford if it means you don't qualify for scholarships or grants. Think carefully, too, about whether to take out any student loans: Make sure that you're being realistic about what you'll be able to afford to pay back after you graduate. If the job market projections are good, you know you won't have other substantial obligations for the period of the loan and your field pays well, then taking out a college loan may be a relatively safe thing way to pay for some college costs.
Be sure to figure in the costs of housing, food, books and other materials, transportation, tuition, college fees, parking, car insurance spending money and anything else you'll for which you'll need to pay. Now is a good time to simplify and contain your costs too, perhaps by foregoing use of a car and reducing the amount of spending money you'll need. You may also want to consider part-time college attendance, giving you opportunity for more work hours while in college and reducing your college costs.
You may need to take some remedial courses and these are often available at community colleges. You may also elect to attend a community college for an Associate's Degree for the purpose of going on into a four-year program, or as preparation for qualifying for work that requires an Associate's Degree. Talk to college personnel where you've applied or would like to apply to find out what you can do to qualify for the program you want to enter there.
You might want to take the SAT, ACT, GRE or other required test again if you didn't do well, Study for the sections where you didn't do as well as you think you could. If you were distracted, ill or made strategic test-taking errors, you may be able to improve your score.You can also talk to someone in admissions to find out if taking any kind of college courses first, perhaps at a community college, can help you with admissions later. The college may also consider placing you in a probationary status, with continuance as a student there dependent on your earning credits in a course elsewhere or achieving a certain GPA in college. You may want to take the college admissions test again if your scores are an issue as they stand.
Find out as exactly as possible what the school is looking for in the application letter or essay. Make sure you meet the deadline. Use your best written English, make the letter or essay as clear as you can, include complete answers to questions and/or the description of what they're looking for, have it proofed by one or more other people who have strong written English skills. Finally, make the corrections and submit clean, white pages with standard margins using a 12-point Ariel, Helvetica or Times font in black ink: Otherwise, if the school has provided instructions for the margins and font, follow those.
Your GPA and the costs of college will be only two of the factors for your consideration in choosing and being admitted to a college. You must have graduated from high school or have earned a high school equivalency. Colleges also consider college admissions test (SAT, ACT or another one) scores. Your extracurricular activities and, perhaps, participation in outside activities such as employment, volunteer work and community organizations may count too.
If your GPA is below the required one and the average GPA of people admitted to the college, you may decide to forego applying there. If it's close, then you should look at the number of people admitted in the last couple of years and the number who applied. If the competition has been high, as is true of many high prestige schools and large universities, then you may not have much of a chance. Add in your extracurricular, other activities and test score(s). If these aren't particularly impressive, your application is probably a long shot.
If your main concern is financial aid and not whether you can get into the college, talk with your high school counseling office or the college's financial aid office. Never assume that you won't be able to attend a college of your choice if you qualify, just because you can't afford it. Scholarships come in more than merit- and need-based forms. Some depend on a family member's membership in the sponsoring organization or other factors. There are also grants, such as Pell and others that don't have to be repaid. Many colleges have college-based grants available and you may qualify for paid work-study too. Loans are also an option. Fill out the FAFSA Financial Aid Application online or ask for assistance at a college financial aid office: This will determine the amount of federal aid for which you qualify. Still, a college may surprise you what they'll offer as assistance if they particularly want you as a student. The results of the financial aid application are often used to determine eligibility for other aid too. You can find the application form and more information at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Whether students are applying to graduate psychology schools or undergraduate schools offering a bachelors in psychology degree there will be some type of application process which will determine whether or not the student is granted admission to the school. Admissions to undergraduate psychology schools are generally the least competitive and many high school students who have achieved excellent grades and obtained high standardized test scores will likely be eligible for admission to one or more undergraduate schools offering a bachelors in psychology degree.
Admissions to graduate psychology schools are significantly more competitive and many schools accept only a small percentage of the applicants who apply for admission. In these cases the applicants will be evaluated on criteria such as previous grades, GRE test scores, the personal statement supplied by the student and recommendations from faculty members who taught or mentored the student during undergraduate work. There are no guarantees regarding admission to graduate psychology schools but in general students who performed well in previous psychology related courses, have high GRE scores, have excellent letters of recommendation and write a compelling personal statement expressing their interest in psychology are most likely to gain admittance to competitive graduate psychology schools.