What's after graduation?
Work?. . .
To make good decisions about whether to work at a bachelor's level or go
to graduate school, look here to learn more about:
- A great
overview of 15 helping-related professions from clinical and counseling
psychology to speech pathology. This resource is offered through the
Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (OTRP).
in Psychology. Ours is not a uniform field -- we have many distinct
orientations and specializations. Find out more about these as an
undergraduate so you can make as good a decision as possible about your
- The job
outlook for psychologists. As you might guess, the outlook is best for
those entering applied fields and earning more education, but...
- Bachelor's level
jobs in psychology. While I would strongly advise graduate study if
you plan to do something "psychological" after graduating, there are other
career opportunities for you.
- Books on
employment and careers, for psychology majors. Every resource
necessary, neatly organized for you.
timeline for applying for jobs. Each of these first four links are
from Marky Lloyd's wonderful Career Page, and are posted on
- What employers say they want in
potential employees, from a survey conducted by
Michigan State's Collegiate Employment Research Institute.
- 1998 Salaries for Clarion county employees,
names omitted, degrees included
(Note: Our salaries
are lower than that in other parts of the country -- so is our cost of
- Pennsylvania Civil
Service exams, including positions and, sometimes, salaries. Social
Service positions in many Pennsylvnia counties are civil service positions
and, as such,
require an exam for employment.
Or graduate school?
If you are considering graduate school, start early, be realistic, and
be prepared. Psychweboffers the following timeline to
guide you in planning for graduate school. William Buskist offers these ideas about preparing a successful application. Marky Lloyd's Career Page on Psych Web is
excellent! John Suler, of Rider University, offers this guide to getting
in graduate school and to
careers in Psychology.
Applying for graduate school can be very confusing. Look here for a
list of useful books on
graduate school for various areas within psychology
as well as related disciplines.
Do you want to know the difference between clinical and counseling
programs? Between Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs? APA's Education Directorate
has answers to these and other frequently asked questions about
education and training in psychology.
Regardless of which school you look at you will need:
- good grades (about 3.0 or above for a master's, at
least 3.5 for a
doctorate). Look at Mayne, T. J., Norcross, J.
C., & Sayette, M. A. (1994) and Norcross, J. C., Mayne, T. J., &
Sayette, M. A. (1996), both in American Psychologist, for more
- good GRE scores -- for doctoral programs at
the Verbal and Quantitative parts combined is necessary to even be
considered by many programs. Scores in the 1200 to 1300 range are more the
"norm" for most programs. Lower scores are acceptable for many masters
programs. The best early predictor of your score on the GREs is your
performance on the SATs. Look at Mayne et al.
(1994) and Norcross et al. (1996) for more on this.
- the Psychology Advanced test for the GREs, required
70% of strong graduate programs. This is Kaplan's statement
about the advanced test.
- strong letters of recommendation. Look here for
Psych Web's and Kirsten Rewey's views on getting a good letter. This is what I suggest if you want to request a
letter from me.
strong personal statement, this description from Marky Lloyd
on Psych Web. Here's another description of a strong personal statement by Bette Bottoms and Kari Nysse in Eye on Psi Chi.
Often schools ask questions to structure this statement, but
regardless of the
specific questions, they are generally asking you:
- to put your life and experiences in some sort of context,
- to demonstrate that you can write clearly and cogently,
- to help them see why they should choose you rather than one of the
hundreds of other applicants out there -- Sell yourself!
While you may not be able to make up for poor grades and GREs with your
personal statement, you can sell yourself here or shoot yourself in the
foot. Have yours be a finely tuned, well-thought out and presented
statement. Look also at this description from a recent survey of employers to get a feeling for what employers (and by extension
graduate schools) want. Ask your advisor or mentor to look at your
- Many clinically oriented programs may also ask you for a
pre-admission interview. Here you will need to sell
yourself, but they will also try to sell
themselves to you! Sell them on who you are, why they want you -- but
be yourself. Ask them about their program. What is the atmosphere of the
program like? Do faculty support students? Do students make it through? What
special benefits do students gain (mentoring, research opportunities,
presentations, internships, funding, etc.) during their stay?
One of the most important parts of your interview is your conversations
with current students. What do they say about the atmosphere of the
department? How does this match your own needs? Some people will do
better with more support, others need more challenge. It's best to
recognize this need ahead of time and make your choices accordingly.
To give you something to make your job easier (and your letter
writers), do something that will make you Stand
out! Get some clinical or applied experience if you are
planning on going in an applied direction. Do research if you want to get
into a doctoral program -- whether you plan on a basic or applied program.
These are frequently asked questions about
graduate school. If you have a question, please feel
free to ask me. If it's different than ones I've answered in the past I
may add it to my list.
Finally. . .
For a little
reality testing from the Teaching in Psychologybulletin board
read this. Be brave of heart as you do so.
On the other hand, try this article recently published in the Psi Chi Newsletter on how to get into
graduate school -- from someone who was rejected the first time. Randy
Hofer, also in the Psi Chi Newsletter,writes about the habits of successful graduate applicants.
And, when you get in, look here for what Appleby says characterizes
those graduate students described as superstars. From
my experience the same things generally apply to undergraduate
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Last modified June 3, 2003