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Choosing your College Tips

Read these 13 Choosing your College 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.

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Bachelor Psychology Degree: Here I Come!

When you are in the final decision phase of what you want to major in after high school, life throws you another curve. Finding the right college to attend for a bachelor psychology degree is time-consuming and a daunting task to some, but an adventure to others. When deciding on what college to attend, check all the details of the program and the courses the institute has to offer to ensure that is the right place for you, because you are going to be spending the next two to four years attending the college.

A bachelor in psychology degree does offers a wide range of opportunities after graduation pertaining to career paths. Depending on the course path you decide on, you can find work in social services, human resources or public health. In addition, applying to graduate school for a master or doctoral degree is psychology is an option too. After receiving a degree from a graduate school, the job opportunities in the clinical area include counseling at rehabilitation facilities, behavioral counseling, school counseling or working with children with behavioral difficulties.

Why might someone choose a private college?

Private Colleges

Private colleges and universities sometimes have significant private sources of financial aid for students and excellent faculty. Classes are sometimes smaller than at larger state institutions too. They are frequently costly since they are not subsidized with government funding. Some are among the most prestigious schools of higher education. However, not all private colleges and universities are the same, just as there are many differences between state funded colleges and universities. Some people choose private, church affiliated schools. Others may choose a private school because of location or because a parent or grandparent attended it. Still others may be drawn by the quality of education and curricular choices of certain private school. You may find some other benefits or drawbacks as you explore the possibilities.

What types of psychology colleges are available?

Types of Psychology Colleges

Students who wish to obtain a degree in psychology will likely find they have a number of different options available to them. These options may include traditional four year universities, online colleges or colleges offering evening and weekend courses. Psychology colleges may offer all of these options but students who are seeking a degree should be sure the option they select will provide them with a degree which will be useful in advancing their career or education goals. In most cases this means the student should select a psychology college which is accredited but may also mean the student should select a college which offers the specific classes they are most interested in taking.

The psychology college options available to students include traditional four year universities, online colleges, and colleges offering evening and weekend courses. Traditional universities usually involve a student attending classes full time during a four year period. This period is typically long enough for the student to fulfill all of the undergraduate program requirements of the college and obtain a bachelors degree. Students may also wish to explore online college options as well. This may include either full time study online or taking courses on a part time basis. Part time students may include students who have already fulfilled most of their requirements in a traditional college setting or students who simply prefer online colleges but have limited time for study. Some students may also wish to take courses on weekends and evenings either online or in a classroom setting. This typically includes students who are trying to obtain a bachelors degree in psychology while working a full time job.

Related Tip: Psychology colleges do offer a wide variety of options to students. In addition to deciding where and when they take courses, students must also make decisions about the type of courses they take. This is significant because some psychology colleges may require a great deal of research and experimentation of students seeking a degree while other psychology colleges may focus exclusively on coursework. Students should consider these differences when selecting a psychology college to meet their needs.

Would it make sense for me to complete an Associate's in a community college or start on my Bachelor's in Psychology in a community college?

Community Colleges

Community colleges often offer several benefits over other colleges and universities, but there may be some downside points as well. Weigh both sides before you decide for or against attending a community college. Many students complete one or two years at a community college before transferring to a four-year college or university.

Community colleges cost less, can usually accept students with a broader range of GPAs and test scores, are often easier to get into than some colleges and many universities, and usually have smaller class sizes. They're also often in areas that have no other colleges or universities nearby and generally employ high quality, committed instructors. They often offer courses during evenings and even weekends since many community college students also have jobs.

On the more negative side, community colleges often have no student housing and comparatively lackluster student activities on campus. They may have a higher percentage of students who aren't particularly inclined towards academia than other colleges, and this can be difficult for more academically oriented students. The workload for many community college courses tends to be less rigorous too.

What are state colleges and unversities like?

State Colleges and Universities

State colleges and universities are subsidized by their states, so the costs of attendance are lower for state residents than at private colleges and universities. Many state colleges and universities have excellent reputations for academic excellence, vibrant student life, and a range of programs or departments and courses. Housing is often available on or near campus. The costs can be high for tuition for students who are not state residents, although scholarships, grants and/or loans may be available. In the undergraduate years, in particular, class sizes may be very large, in the hundreds in large lecture halls, and it may be very difficult to arrange one-on-one time with instructors. If you're considering research, you may want to find out about research projects on campus with which you might be able to become involved. Be sure to look carefully at the course catalog and requirements for graduation.

What psychology school should I attend?

The Best Psychology School For You

There is no simple answer to what is the best psychology school for you. This is because the answer to this question depends on a number of complex factors and is also largely dependent on the personal preferences of the student. Some of the factors which a student should consider when selecting a psychology school include reputation, size, cost and location. Students should carefully evaluate their own preferences regarding each of these factors and then investigate each school individually to determine which schools most closely match with the student's ideals.

Reputation of the psychology school is usually one of the easiest factors to evaluate. There are many reports published annually which rank colleges according to a number of different criteria and list the top ranking schools for a variety of different subjects. Students who wish to obtain a degree in psychology should review these lists carefully and consider applying to some of the top ranking schools. This will be helpful to the student because a degree from one of these institutions is likely to be highly valued by graduate schools and potential employers.

Next a student should carefully consider his personal preferences in factors such as size, cost and location. In relation to size, the student should consider the overall size of the school as well as the size of the psychology school. This is important because students who prefer a smaller school because they believe they are likely to thrive in this type of environment may inadvertently overlook large colleges who have a rather small psychology school within the college. The size of the psychology school is more important than the overall size of the college because after the first couple of years the student will likely spend most of his time associating with professors and students within the smaller school of psychology effectively making the college seem much smaller.

Cost and location should also be carefully considered. Some students may have a strong preference to attend a college away from home while others may prefer to commute. The location of the college will obviously dictate whether or not commuting is an option. The cost of the institution is also important because students will be required to pay any tuition not covered by scholarships or financial aid. Many students opt to wait until all scholarship and financial aid information is available before making a final decision. This will help to assure the student is able to afford to attend the chosen school.

Where can I look for colleges that offer psychology?

Finding a College

There are a few good ways to learn about colleges where you can earn a Psychology Degree. If you're in high school, see your counseling office for their information on colleges. If you're out of high school, you can visit a college campus and see the catalogs in their counseling office. Seeing a counselor is always a good idea. They know many resources, frequently have software and may be members of web sites with information that can help. Some counselors also know some specific information that you can't find easily in print.


Choosing Your Psychology College

Where you go to school for your first Psychology Degree will probably depend on several factors. Where you go to school for a graduate or doctoral degree will matter more, though. You may decide to get an Associates Degree and go to a community college for it, or go to a community college before going on to a four-year college or university for a Bachelor's Degree. You can also choose to go into a four-year college or university without attending a community college if you meet the admissions criteria. There may be some potential pros and cons of attending a community college first and we'll discuss some of those in the next section. You may choose a private or state college or university. At this beginning level, and if you plan to or think you might continue on with your psychology education, you needn't consider whether the courses fit exactly what you think you'll need for your career. However, you might need to look at; financial aid options, your costs, campus housing, location, the range and types of Psychology courses offered, the quality and reputation of the school if you think you might want to continue on into graduate school, classroom sizes, availability and quality of instructors, internship opportunities, job placement services, the size of the school, whether you can meet the admissions criteria and other considerations.These may all be important variables in choosing a graduate school or doctoral program too, but by the time you're ready for either of those, you'll know more clearly what you want to do in the field, where and with whom. At these levels, you'll have more of such choices to make from more specific options.

What is the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology?

Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is a school which offers a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree to students wishing to pursue a career in clinical psychology. Approximately 400 students apply for admission to the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology each year and only approximately 40-50 students are admitted each year. The school is quite discerning in the selection process and seeks out students who they believe will perform well in their challenging academic environment. This generally includes students who display an aptitude for clinical psychology.

The students are typically evaluated on criteria such as career potential, creativity, motivation, self awareness, sensitivity, emotional stability and responsibility. The admissions department uses these criteria in an attempt to select the students who are most likely to not only meet the minimal requirements for graduation but also excel within the program. Factors such as past academic performance, practical experience and references are usually taken into consideration when making a decision regarding admissions for a particular student.


How to Choose Where to Apply for Psychology School

It is important to choose the right school for your psychology graduate program because the school you choose can be an integral part of beginning a career as a psychologist. There are several factors to take into consideration when applying to psychology school. Start with your own personal needs such as cost, location, specialty programs, etc. Once you have found schools that meet your personal criteria then you can further research the reputation of the school and the requirements for acceptance. Most experts recommend that you apply to at least 6 graduate schools; however you can submit applications to as many as you want.
Select your schools carefully because application fees can get expensive. It is important to pay attention to application deadlines so that you do not waste your time or money while applying to psychology school. Another important factor is to submit complete applications; make sure you include everything that is required such as undergraduate school transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and a summary of relevant work experience.
By selecting schools that specialize in your area of expertise, submitting a complete application and working hard you will be able to apply and be accepted to a school that will further your career and give you the upper hand in the psychology industry.


Top 3 Places To Pursue Your Psychology Studies

The Gourman Report, published in the Princeton Review, ranks the top schools for undergraduate psychology studies each year. This year, Stanford University in California tops the list. This private university offers comprehensive Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree study concentrations. Specializations can be obtained in culture, health and development, cognitive science, neuroscience or society and mind. Undergrads can participate in supervised research, summer internships or on-campus volunteer work. Clubs include the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Association and the Black Psychology Students’ Association.

According to the report, Yale University is the next best school for undergraduate psychology studies. Yale requires students to undergo 12 specialized psychology courses, along with a senior project in their field of interest, before completing a BA or BS. Psychology degree study concentrations include psychology / early childhood teaching, neuroscience or philosophy. Students will find ample opportunities to gain valuable, hands-on experience on-campus while pursuing psychology studies.

The third best place to pursue your psychology studies is the University of Pennsylvania. Majors must complete 13 credits before obtaining their BA or BS. Coursework covers everything from cognitive science, learning, personality and abnormal psychology to anxiety, psychological trauma and behavioral genetics. This school excels in its number of events, seminars and discussions pertaining to psychology studies. There are also paid volunteer positions available on-campus.


Psychology Universities

Students who are interested in the study of human behavior, or how social and environmental activities can trigger unhealthy mental functions should consider a career in psychology. Psychology is defined as the study of human and animal behavior, their thought processes, and how they interact in their environment. Psychology universities offer graduate programs in behavioral neuroscience, clinical and cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social or personality psychology. You should decide which program you would like to study before you start submitting enrollment applications to psychology universities.

A highly rated university that has trained a large number of west coast psychologists is the California School of Psychology. Interested students will need a grade point average (GPA) of 3.50, a combined verbal and quantitative graduate examination record score (GSE) of 1100 to 1200, and graduate school of education courses (GSE). Students will also need to prepare a Statement of Purpose outlining their educational goals and professional outlook. Your statement should be no more than two pages long. The California School of psychology has locations in Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Thousand Oaks.

When researching enrollment applications and requirements for the California School of Psychology and other top psychology universities, you should also find out about financial aid and student housing.
A large number of universities offer housing for married students, ask if your name can be added to the waiting list when you apply for enrollment. You should also inquire about the program's guidelines regarding school based and community internships, and their time sequence.


The Best Psychology Schools

Massachusetts has some of the finest psychology programs on the East Coast. The study of psychology requires students to align themselves with a school of thought. The best psychology schools design their programs with an emphasis in one field of research, study, and professorship.

The Harvard program focuses on cognition and behavior, and supports fields of study in social psychology; clinical psychology, experimental psychology, and developmental psychology.

The department encourages students to cross-register at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to learn new technologies that support research.

The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) curriculum focuses on practical psychology for graduates to provide clinical services in key areas of concentration most impacting today’s society including eating disorders, children’s health, and family environments. Unique to MSPP is a curriculum offering cross-cultural studies and a concentration in Latino mental health.

The graduate school emphasis experiential education, social responsibility and attention to personal growth to meet the evolving mental health needs of our society.

The Wellesley program is designed to address social and cultural shifts in society, emphasizing social responsibility. Graduate specializations include developmental, clinical, organizational/industrial, social, personality, counseling, educational, cognitive, and neuropsychology.

The department is empirically oriented, placing a strong emphasis on understanding and using scientific methods in the study of behavior.

Harvard University, Department of Psychology
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Wellesley, Department of Psychology

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