Preparing for Graduate School in Psychology : LUSENET : York University Undergraduate Psychology Students' Association : One Thread

Sure, you know you need a good GPA and GRE scores to get into graduate school in psychology, and you're even looking into getting great reference letters and research experience. But should you end your preparation for graduate school there? There's more to do!

You probably know that graduate study in psychology is very competitive relative to other programmes. The more prepared you are in your application, the better your chances. You should be considering a field of psychology you plan to stay in.

First off, are you more interested in research or clinical work? (just a word, clinical programmes in psychology graduate school are few and EXTREMELY competitive. However, don't be discouraged if being a clinician is your goal, because many people enter research programmes and then become clinicians later on.)

There are numerous fields in psychology. (Between 30 - 50 is a rough estimate). Some are much more common than others. Every university has different specialized graduate fields. For example, York has Clinical, Clinical- Developmental, Developmental & Cognitive, General Experimental, History & Theory, and Social & Personality. It is very important to discover *your* field and the topics *you* are interested in, because schools will be looking for specific goals and enthusiasm. They want you to become an asset to their institution! If you do well, it looks good on them.

Once you have chosen the field of your preference, you should start researching individual professors you would like to work with. Look at some studies and find some research that really appeals to you, and contact the professor that published it, or related professors. Many people would be surprised at just *how accessable* these professors really are. Of course if you are not interested in studying in Hong Kong, you might want to just focus on professors in North America, or in Canada. Talking to professors that are in your interest area at York is a great start! Trust me, the majority of them, although busy, love talking about their work and advising students. Don't be afraid to talk to them... many students are and they miss out on so many opportunities.

Talking to professors is really important in your preparation for graduate school in psychology, because the professor you choose (and who chooses you) will be your advisor and mentor throughout your graduate career. Another thing is, if a professor is particularly excited about taking you on as a graduate student, your chances of getting in are greatly improved... they will push for you, and emphasise their interest in working with you. They might even offer you a grant!! So it is prime time to network, network network!

-- Pamela Stokes, Web Coordinator - UPSA (, January 17, 2002

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