Preparing for graduate school takes advanced planning. Students should begin this planning no later than the summer before their senior year, or if you are taking time off, a year before you wish to begin graduate school. Here are some of the components of successful applications.
- Research Experience: Honors students will gain this experience by completing Psychology 681/682. Other students should complete a Senior Thesis, enroll in problems courses, or enroll in 618 research courses. All of theses courses require permission of the professor. You should obtain research experience in your junior and senior years.
- Letters of recommendation: Most graduate programs require letters of recommendation from at least three professors. Letters are most effective if they are written by professors who know your work well. Often these are professors of small courses and research courses. These can be letters from professors in other departments, supervisors in relevant experience settings, etc.
- Additional courses in mathematics and science: Courses in Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics (Calculus), Neuroscience, and Zoology will be helpful. Course work in Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology may also be helpful, depending on the area of the discipline you choose.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE): The GRE exam should be taken in the fall semester the year before you wish to enter graduate school. It is often helpful to study for the exam the summer before you take it. The quantitative and verbal tests are now computerized (call Sylvan Learning Center 231-6270 to take the exams). The subject test is still a paper and pencil test.
- Application process: Gather information about graduate schools (by talking to professors, searching the web sites, and consulting publications) during the fall semester of your senior year. Application deadlines are typically December-February for beginning graduate school the following fall. Almost all programs only accept fall applicants.