Graduate Programs and Advice

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With October nearing to an end and November on the horizon, for those graduating in the coming months, it is time to start considering graduate programs. Whether you already know where you are going to be applying to graduate school, or aren’t quite sure if graduate school is for you, follow this blog as a way to learn more about the programs available and for resources on where to find more information.

Talk with your advisors/professors

Over the next few weeks, it would be best to reach out to your advisor(s) and professors for advice or guidance, especially if you are still uncertain about what post-graduate option appeals to you the most.

Look into programs

There is a multitude of graduate programs available to psychology students. While having a variety is nice, it can also be overwhelming, so you may want to reduce what you are looking at.

Some options:

  • Degree – Determine what type of degree you are seeking (M.A., Ph.D., Psy.D., etc). and limit your search to just those programs offering those degrees
  • Area/Specialization – Limit by areas/specialization- i.e., Clinical, Counseling, Neuroscience, etc.
  • Search – Google can also be your friend, in which you can search
    “(degree) graduate programs in (area)” and find a variety of programs. Do your research on these programs though as some are not always legitimate.
  • State – if there is a specific state you want to work as a psychologist in/go to school in, you can also limit your search to just those programs
  • Psychology Website – refer to the Roanoke College Psychology page on graduate schools to find more information

Exploring is key, so whether you are not sure where to begin or know the program, state, and area you want to go to graduate school in, explore your options and come up with a list of 10-20 programs that interest you.

Moreover, while you look at programs you should also make note of professors that align with your interests and that are accepting students for the coming academic year. Especially if you choose to go into a Ph.D. program, you will likely need to declare which professor you wish to research alongside, so making this list early is helpful.

Start Planning

Once you have determined that graduate school is for you, start planning when and how you will get everything done. Here are some common items to complete before application deadlines:

  • CV/Personal Statement – make sure your CV is up to date and create a general personal statement that can be revised/edited to fit a specific program later
  • Transcript – Request and send your official transcript to the programs you are applying to
  • Letters of Recommendation  – reach out to the professors that you want to write your letters of recommendations and be sure to follow up with them during the month prior to the application deadline
  • GRE – If your program requires the GRE, GRE subject test, or other standardized tests, take it a few months before the application deadline. Moreover, if you have already taken the GRE/other tests, be sure to send your scores to any schools that require it.
    • *Note – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have made the GRE optional/waived so be sure to check each program for their requirements.
  • The Programs Application – Each school requires different items to be included in their application. Therefore, check early to ensure you have enough time to send everything to the schools and to fill out the application/provide any supplemental writing/other items.

Finalize Your List

By the time it comes to applying to programs, you should limit yourself to applying to between 10-15 programs. While it will not hurt you to apply to more, the cost of graduate school applications vary and can add up quickly. Therefore, having a few reach programs, a few middle of the road programs and a few safety programs tend to be best practice.

Seek Advice

Seek advice from your professors and advisor(s) throughout the application process. Moreover, seek the advice of other graduate students. Don’t be afraid to continue to ask questions, the process can be daunting, but relying on the help of others can make it doable.

For more information, check out some of our other blog posts highlighting graduate programs and providing more graduate advice here.

Applying to graduate programs can be stressful, but by reaching out to your professors/advisors and starting to do some research on different programs, you will soon find yourself generating a list of potential programs and beginning the application process.

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