Hey guys! So I’m sure everyone is pretty busy this week, tying up loose ends and taking a few midterms before spring break. As you guys know, I’ve been all about graduate school the past few weeks. More specifically, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what I need to do to make myself the best candidate for the schools I’ll be applying to.
My major concern has always been my GPA, and how important/ not important it will be to those deciding my grad school fate. Until I came to UAlbany in Spring semester last year, I had moved around a lot and when I was in one place, I was working a ton. This, obviously, hindered my grades a bit. While I’m not considered about having the minimum GPA most of the schools I plan to apply to have set, I know I don’t have good enough grades to have that alone set me about from the rest. If this is something you guys can relate to, I definitely recommend doing some research into what other components are looked for in the field of programs you’re applying to.
As for Psychology programs, one thing that is really valued in an applicant is research experience- like in an undergraduate research lab, which UAlbany has tons of, which students get apply to (link below), as well as an publications or presentations you can do as a result of an independent research you’ve conducted. Internships, volunteer work or other hands on, in field experience is also really good- think clinics, support groups, Middle Earth (link below). And of course, letter of recommendations, personal statements, essays and the interview. These are all really important factors when applying to graduate school, and there is enough wiggle room that if one area isn’t ideal (say in my case, grades), I can minimize that damage by working on other strengths in my application. I’m currently in a research lab, involved in Middle Earth, and carefully planning who to ask to write my letters that will best describe me.
When it comes to things like CVs, resumes, and the interview- use Career Services!!! Seriously, these are all things that you can practice and prepare for so you don’t have to worry about them. You can go to a Peer Career Advisor or a Career Counselor and practice interview questions or edit your resume. Especially for this resource, LINK BELOW.
One last bit a wisdom I was told about that I can pass on to you guys: do your research on the programs you want. Especially for PhD programs where there is a lot of lab work, the people in charge of these labs want people they mesh well with. So even if you don’t have the strongest application, if you fit well with the lab (say for example, you really are passionate about the work they do, or you have unique experience in that particular subject), you should be aware of that and play that to your advantage.
Until next time,