Sponsored by PHD Club, the annual graduate school series begins this month with two important presentations.
An Overview of Graduate School: Wednesday, October 17th at 5:10 pm in MAC 237 (down the vending machines hallway). This will be the first presentation of the three-part graduate school series. Dr. Martin & Dr. Burns will be giving a general presentation about graduate school. All students, from the first year through seniors, are welcome to attend. In fact, this presentation may be even more helpful to you if you are further away from graduation.
Writing Your Personal Statement: Wednesday, October 24th at 5:00 pm in MAC 229 (also down the vending machines hallway). This is part two of the graduate school series. Dr. Vespia will be discussing how to write your graduate school application personal statement. Again, all students are welcome. It may be more timely for juniors and for seniors who are in the midst of the application process, but it is never too early to learn about this important piece of the application process.
Our first tip this year for students thinking about their future careers and/or graduate school is to visit the new and improved Human Development website. The revised site includes updated information on both careers and on graduate school. We hope you find it helpful.
You are also lucky enough with this issue to get not just one, but two great tips! You’ll notice that the Human Development website stresses the importance of gaining skills (e.g., business, communication, a second language, cultural competence) and experience (e.g., part-time jobs, volunteer work, RA/TA, involvement in leadership activities) to make yourself marketable. What does that mean? Get involved, and get involved early! In case you are not sure where to begin, here are a few sample options that have crossed our editorial desk recently.
Volunteer work: One great way to find volunteer opportunities in the area is to visit the website for the Volunteer Center of Brown County. Just “Volunteer Now” and you can actually enter your interests and use a searchable database to find some great local options.
Multicultural competence: Thinking about enhancing your cultural competencies? One great option is the annual Ally Conference on October 20th. Registration is free and open now. You get a free t-shirt and dinner at the event, but space is limited, so don’t delay. More events for the semester are listed in the Human Mosaic, and the Mauthe Center also sponsors such events, such as October 18th’s Native American social and a series in November designed to increase awareness about Islam.
Leadership, communication, and group skills: One great way to potentially enhance your communication, leadership, and group work skills is through involvement in student organizations. This is particularly true if you are very active in the organization or take on a leadership role. There’s something for everyone on campus. Check it out! There are also new organizations beginning all the time. For example, one new club on campus this semester is the Sign Language Club [Contact Ashley Letourneau (Letoak04@Uwgb.edu) if you want to learn more about this one.]
Looking forward to a summer filled with relaxation and fun? We certainly hope so. However, we hope you’ll also take some time to use your summer wisely and make yourself a more competitive candidate for jobs and/or for graduate school. Some potential ideas we have shared before but we believe are worth repeating include:
- Obtain some relevant applied experience (job, volunteer) to increase career and grad school marketability.
- Conduct an informational interview or job shadow a professional in a career of interest to you.
- Read all the great career, internship, and graduate school information on the HUD & PSYCH websites and then do additional research on career and graduate school options.
- Review your Degree Progress Report. Note the requirements you need to fulfill and make a plan for your remaining time at UWGB. Consider whether there are classes you wish to re-take or if there are skill areas you want to build before you leave. You should also check the report for accuracy every semester!
- Make a list of other great opportunities (RAs, TAs, Internships) you want to take advantage of while at UWGB and make plans for when you will apply for/complete them.
- Research graduate programs and make a list of schools to which you want to apply. Research them to find out as much as you possibly can about them, their competitiveness, and their “fit” with your background, interests, and goals. Find out what you will need to do to apply (e.g., Do you need to take the GRE? MAT? No placement test at all? How many letters of recommendation will you need? From whom?)
- Graduating next year? Study for the GRE if you need to take it! (Really, you CAN and SHOULD study for it.)
- Read some great books!!!! One of the best ways to improve your writing and critical thinking skills (not to mention your Verbal GRE scores) is to read and build your knowledge base and vocabulary.
- Take summer classes. These can be fabulous intensive learning experiences. They can also help move up your graduation date. Be careful, though, not to take on too much (e.g., we don’t recommend taking two summer courses in the same session). Also make sure you do not plan vacations or other time away during these courses. If you miss a day of a summer class, it’s like missing a full week of the regular semester.
Have fun, and come back rested and ready for an amazing 2012-13 academic year!
We usually offer a series of fall talks dedicated to the graduate school process. We’re excited to announce we will be offering a spring series for the first time, as well. Dr. Martin and Dr. Burns will present on the basics of graduate school (how to apply, get in, etc.). This talk is aimed at first and second year students, but all are welcome to attend. They presented this talk in the fall semester, but are hoping to reach a larger audience by presenting it twice a year. We also are excited to offer a first-ever panel discussion of graduating seniors who will be attending graduate school in the fall. They will be talking about their own experiences with the graduate school process to give you some great tips straight from the source. Finally, we will be presenting a session on how to study for the GRE (the test you will likely need to take if you want to go on to graduate school). We will let you know the dates and panelists for these events when they become available, so stay tuned!
Be sure to take advantage of the great events planned for the fall to help you learn more about graduate school. Refer back to the PHD Club News article for more details about the October 5th and 12th sessions that organization is sponsoring on writing personal statements (part of the grad school application) and on graduate school as a whole. Career Services is also sponsoring two events on October 4th: a session on the application process for graduate school and the Graduate and Professional School Fair. Refer to their calendar of events for more details!
Northwestern University is sponsoring a free grad school visit weekend where you can meet their psychology faculty members and learn more about their research, as well as learn more about what grad school is like. This visit weekend is open to traditionally underrepresented groups (e.g., first generation college students, racial/ethnic minority, GLBT), but you have to apply online. Check out their website to learn more information and for an application. Applications are due April 8.
As a belated Valentine, or possibly an early President’s Day gift, the good people at Educational Testing Services are bringing you something new this year: a revised version of the GRE General Test. They will begin giving the new test on August 1, 2011, and they will be offering half-price registration for those who take the test in August and September.
This development means that most of you applying to graduate school next year will face this new test, not the old version. You can learn more about the planned changes on the GRE website, but please remember that it will be important not to use old preparation books (e.g., don’t use your roommate’s book from last year). Please also know that it is important to do some preparation for this test. It is not something you want to approach without any familiarity with the exam, its format, and the computerized testing environment. Many students also find devoting substantial study time to be helpful. Drs. Martin and Vespia have traditionally conducted a brief GRE information session in late April or early May, and they hope to do so again this year. Please watch your email and future issues of the PF for details on the date(s), time(s), and location.
What is graduate school and do I need to go?
Graduate school is schooling beyond your bachelor’s degree. You could complete a masters (typically 2-3 years) or Ph.D. (typically 4-6 years) in Psychology, Human Development, or another area (social work, law, medicine, business, etc.). You will need to go to graduate school if you are interested in becoming a therapist, researcher, and/or being a professor.
How do I get into grad school?
Getting into grad school is a competitive process, so you will want to make sure that you are as well-qualified as you can be. This means getting good grades, good scores on the necessary standardized test (e.g., GRE, MAT, LSAT, etc.), good letters of recommendations from your professors, and a good record of involvement in the department and/or community (e.g., internships, volunteer experiences, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, honors projects, etc.). It’s never too early to start thinking about grad school or getting involved!
Students interested in a summer internship at Yale University working in a clinical psychology lab with Dr. Chris Cutter can now apply using the information on the Want Ads page. The successful student will get all expenses paid to Yale (travel, room, and board) and contingent on additional grant applications may also be paid a summer stipend. A statement of interest (why would you want to do this internship? How does it fit with your career plans?) and a listing of qualifications (GPA, etc.) is due to Dr. Gurung by January 15th (deadline extended).
This tip of the month is very timely with a Friday deadline (TODAY!). If you are applying to graduate school now, you should figure out if you will need to take the GRE psychology subject test (in addition to the GRE General Test). Some schools require the psychology subject test, and some schools don’t. The subject test is in paper and pencil form, so it is only offered 3 dates a year. If you are interested in taking a subject test this year, you must register by Friday (10/15) at the latest.
We’ll send you an issue with many of our favorite recycled news stories in just a few short weeks once registration starts gearing up. Here’s another oldie, but a goodie: How do you get good letters of recommendation? We’ve broken this down based on where you are in the grad school process. It’s never too early to start thinking about letters of recommendation!
Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors:
- Maximize your effort and performance in your classes. Grades matter, and so do specific skills. Faculty members will be asked to rate your critical thinking skills, writing skills, oral communication skills, and so on.
- Don’t count on grades alone. If you earn “As” in a faculty member’s classes, but he/she has never had an extended conversation with you or heard you express an opinion in class, the resulting letter may be relatively short and generic.
- Participate in individualized instruction experiences. Professors will have more specific and detailed comments to make about your performance and potential if they have worked with you in a research or teaching assistantship, independent study, internship, or honors project.
- Be aware of your classroom demeanor and what you communicate in your interactions with students and professors. Letter writers are often asked to fill out forms that rate such things as students’ maturity, initiative, interpersonal skills, ability to deal with stress, responsibility, time management, and emotional stability. Asking questions, being a leader in group work, submitting work on time, and attending department events communicate one set of messages. Texting during class, chronic lateness, repeated requests for extensions, and having difficulty negotiating relationships with group members communicate another.
Students Currently Applying to Graduate School:
- Think about how you make the letter of recommendation request. Ask in person, and genuinely ask. Do not simply assume a professor will write a letter for you.
- Give your potential recommender plenty of notice. Writing letters takes a great deal of time and effort, and you are not the only student asking for a letter. You should have all materials ready for the faculty member one month in advance, and you should think about the timing of your request. If you have an application due date of January 1st, December 1st may not be enough notice. Think about all of the things going on in December (end of classes, finals, commencement) – and how far in advance the letter would likely need to be mailed to arrive by January 1st (giving the professor far less than a month).
- Be organized. Think about what you communicate if you do not provide the requested supporting materials to your professor, or if you have to make several return trips to the person’s office with bits and pieces of information. Then think about what you communicate by delivering a well-organized packet of information with neatly completed documents, addressed envelopes, and so on. This interaction is likely the last one you have with the faculty member before he/she writes the letter – make that most recent impression a favorable one!
- Be careful when completing on-line applications that ask for a list of recommenders. More and more schools are using web-based letter of recommendation sites where faculty directly upload their letters, and once students enter the recommender’s name, an automated email request is sent to that individual. You do not want your faculty member receiving an email request for a letter before you have even asked if he/she would be willing to write for you.
- Thank your letter writers, and let them know what happens. Professors want to know what happens in your graduate school search, so let them know where you are accepted and what school you decide to attend.
To learn more about letters of recommendation and the process of requesting one, refer to the Human Development website.
Welcome to our new feature where we share with you a small piece of information designed to help you in some area of your academic career. It won’t always be pleasant, and you won’t always like it, but we promise that our little facts are designed to help.
So, without further ado, Did you know… that most students applying to graduate school or doing a thorough job search report that the time commitment is equivalent to taking a 3-credit class? That means that you need to plan on having some significant extra time for that sort of thing during your last couple of semesters.