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PLANNING A CAREER IN PSYCHOLOGY

"Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." -Confucius

Graduation
Certification

Overview

Some areas in which psychology majors find employment are described here.

Another source for career options in Psychology is Kuther, T.L. & Morgan, R.D.(2004). Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a changing world. Belmont, CA.:Wadsworth.

INTERVIEWING: Graduate School and Beyond
(Powerpoint Presentation)

TIMETABLE

The following timetable for choosing and applying to graduate schools is adapted from Fretz , R.R. & Stang, D.J. (1980) Not for seniors only.

Sophomore Year

    1. Elect at least one or more math and science courses beyond the general university requirement.
    2. In your psychology classes, find out your professors' research areas. Ask those professors whose research interests you if you could work in their labs. Also, pay attention to the bulletin boards near the Psychology office, as professors post openings for their labs on these bulletin boards.
    3. Try to meet graduate students. They can be teaching assistants or instructors in undergraduate courses. Ask them what graduate student life is like, what kind of study load you can expect in graduate school, which professors can provide detailed information about graduate schools, and which professors you should work with on research projects.
    4. Find out when your state psychological association has its annual meeting and whether students are welcome. If there will be a regional convention in your area, students are welcome at all of these regional meetings; and it would provide an opportunity to ask graduate students from other schools the questions listed above.

Junior Year

    1. Continue items 2, 3, and 4 listed above.
    2. If you have not already done so, it is now important to get involved in research.
    3. If you are interested in clinical or counseling, if you have not already done so, you should arrange for some clinically related experience, often done in the context of volunteer work.
    4. Prepare for the Graduate Record Exam to be taken in the Spring semester. Some programs also require the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
    5. Attend departmental workshops on getting into graduate school.
    6. Consider taking a History and Systems course as part of your preparation for the GRE Advanced Subject Test.
    7. Attend departmental colloquia on topics related to your graduate program interests.

Summer before Senior Year

    1. Consult APA Publication "Graduate Study in Psychology" to find graduate programs. This publication provides invaluable information on program contents, goals, and application procedures.
    2. There is a lot of specific information on graduate programs at each school website. This information may include forms and applications. Students interested in Social Work Programs should consult: www.cswe.org.
    3. Prepare for the GRE Advanced Subject Test. To prepare for this test, in addition to reviewing class notes, one can study a recent edition of an Introductory Psychology book carefully. Sample test items are given on the GRE website. See comment above on History and Systems course.
    4. Prepare a resume.

Beginning of Senior Year

    1. Decide by the beginning of the semester which programs you intend to apply to. Remember that programs in the metropolitan area are in great demand. Consider programs from other geographical areas. Be sure to check the application deadline for each school.
    2. If you will be applying for student aid such as fellowships, scholarships and/or loans, use the Graduate Study in Psychology book and the program website to find out where to get the necessary forms. Deadlines for fellowship applications are often much earlier than those for admission.
    3. Although most programs will only require you to have Introductory, Statistics, and Experimental Psychology, there are a few programs that may have additional requirements and those would have to be taken in your senior year.
    4. Plan informational visits to schools.
    5. The GRE subject test is only given three times a year. Because of delays in getting test results to the schools you have applied to by the application deadline, it is very strongly recommended that you plan to take the test no later than November. It is very important that you register for this test SIX WEEKS BEFORE the test date.
    6. Request a student copy of your transcript from each undergraduate institution you have attended. Check for errors since any changes may take weeks to correct.
    7. Try to find faculty members who are familiar with the specific graduate programs in your area of interest and ask them to review your resume.
    8. Make sure that you will have enough money to pay for all necessary application fees and transcripts. A working estimate would be $60 per application.

October of Senior Year

    1. Graduate schools generally require 3-5 letters of recommendation. You should approach faculty members who know you well. If you have done research with a faculty member, you should consider asking him/her for a recommendation. Because many faculty members are inundated with recommendations as the deadlines approach, you should get the necessary forms with STAMPED envelopes to the letter writer as early in the semester as possible. Most faculty members will give you an honest answer about their willingness to write a letter for you. A section of the reference form asks the student whether he/she is willing to waive the right to see the letter. Graduate schools take much more seriously those letters in which the student has waived that right.
    2. Begin working on your personal statement.
    3. Request that GRE and MAT results be sent to all schools you are applying to.

November of Senior Year

    1. Request all your undergraduate transcripts be sent to all of the institutions you will apply to.
    2. Check application deadlines for each school and post them where you will see them frequently.

December of Senior Year

    1. Make sure that your letters of recommendation are sent in.
    2. Prepare final copies of application materials. Be sure to include the necessary fees. Include a photocopy of your GRE and MATs results if you have them. Applications should be mailed at least two weeks before the deadline. Certified mail is recommended. Keep a photocopy of each application for your records.

January-April of Senior Year

    1. Verify that your application materials were received.
    2. If you receive copies of any GRE results after your applications have been submitted, send a photocopy to each school.

Graduation

The Psychology Department must certify all of its majors for graduation by examining all prospective graduates' transcripts to determine that they have taken and passed the necessary courses in the department. The concentration form is no longer required.

Certification

Even the undergraduate student should plan ahead and should be aware that the State of New York, among other states, requires that any person who practices or consults (and charges a fee for services) as a Psychologist be certified by the state's Department of Education. The student who foresees such a future should obtain information requirements and procedures for Certification.

Your Future at Queens College

ABA Certificate Program

Psychology Masters Programs

Psychology Doctoral Programs

School of Education/Division of Educational and Community Programs Graduate Program in School Psychology

Your Future at CUNY

Psychology Ph.D. Programs

Hunter College School of Social Work


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