Since this is geared toward September admissions, students seeking January placement should make the appropriate adjustments in sequencing.
June-September (junior year)
The student should read the bulletins and catalogues of the various graduate schools to ascertain which ones are of interest based on his qualifications and needs. These publications may be found in the library or psychology department office.
One should then send for the bulletins and catalogues from the graduate schools. It is best to have personal copies for reference. The graduate psychology department may also have additional brochures which would be helpful.
The summer months are a good time to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). There are any number of review books and texts which will be helpful.
September (senior year)
The student should consult with psychology department counselors and faculty members for information about graduate programs, application procedures, qualifying examinations, and fulfillment of undergraduate requirements, if this has not been done previously.
The student should request admission applications early and also check the deadlines for submitting each one.
At the same time, it is advisable to request applications for financial assistance, especially if these are not routinely sent with the admission forms.
If one's undergraduate school has an office in charge of fellowships, scholarships, and/or loans, this is the time to pick up all the necessary forms. Deadlines for fellowship applications are even earlier than for admissions. If the appropriate material is not available through the school, the student may consult the A.P.A. manual, Graduate Study in Psychology.
The Graduate Record Examination applications may be obtained either from the school or at the following address:
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, New Jersey 08541-0001
The fee is $60 for the general aptitude test and $30 for each advanced test.
The examinations are given in October, December, January, February, April and June.
The October administration of the examinations will be preferred for two reasons. First,
it meets the deadline requirements for fellowships and other financial aid programs, and
second, there is sufficient time to retake the tests if the results do not fulfill expectations.
In this case, both sets of scores will be sent out to the graduate schools by testing
services. Registration for the October administration is usually during the first week of
Miller Analogies Test (MAT) applications may be requested from the following address:
The Psychological Corporations
304 East 45 Street
New York, New York 10017
The fee is locally determined.
It is important to request a student copy of one's owntranscript from each undergraduate institution in order to check for errors and omissions. We cannot emphasize this step too strongly.
The student should take the GRE this month especially if applying for financial aid or a fellowship, etc.
Graduate schools generally require from three to five letters of recommendation, primarily from faculty members, and then from employers. There may or may not be forms for such letters included in the application packet. The student should request permission of the people who will be asked to serve as references before their names are submitted. Once this has been one, it is advisable to prepare a short biography giving the most up to date information including grade point averages (comprehensive and psychology) and other salient facts in order to familiarize professors with your record. A stamped, addressed envelope for each letter requested should be provided.
Most admissions committees require a personal statement of background and interest relevant to a graduate career in psychology. It should be prepared in advance so that it can be reviewed by a knowledgeable person prior to submission. The best approach is to be objective, sincere, honest, and brief as possible. Two or three typewritten pages are more than sufficient.
If the student has not taken the GRE, it should be taken now for September admissions.
If applications are due in January, it is time to prepare final copies. They should be mailed at least two weeks before the deadline. One should keep a Xeroxed copy of each application.
The following items should be sent out at this time:
applications for admission
requests for financial aid and proof of need, if requested
personal statement, if required
fees (check or money order)
undergraduate transcripts from all institutions attended and graduate transcripts for M.A. students
stamped, self-addressed postcards for verification of application materials (usually requested by school anyway)
The student should be careful to ascertain that each part of the application packet
is sent to the correct address. Sometimes financial aid forms, for example, are sent
to a different office.
MAT and GRE scores will be sent by the testing services to schools requested on the application forms. Requests for additional copies may be made in writing to the previously listed address accompanied by appropriate fees for each additional institution.
Letters of recommendation are to be sent out directly by faculty members. Students should check to see that this has been done.
If the student has not received acknowledgement of the receipt of application material within a reasonable amount of time, then a telephone call for verification may be necessary.
Depending upon their application deadlines, graduate schools begin to send out letters of acceptance around April 15. The student is usually given a period of two weeks in which to make his decision. It is sometimes difficult to make an intelligent choice since you may be on the waiting list of a more preferred school and on the acceptance list of a less preferred institution. To complicate matters further, some schools do not inform students on the waiting list of their status until the primary candidates have either accepted or rejected their offers of admission. A telephone call to the graduate programs may, at
least, confirm that one is still being considered. Once the student has been accepted at a school of his choice, he (she) should inform other schools of that decision so that his place may be offered as soon as possible to students on the alternate list.
While we hope that the limited suggestions we have supplied here will be of assistance to psychology students, we must emphasize that there is no substitute for the advice of a knowledgeable faculty member.