This timetable is meant to be an overview of the choices and actions that should occur during each year of one’s undergraduate career at St. Ben’s/St. John’s.
It would be a prudent idea to check this timetable at regular intervals to make sure you are effectively progressing in preparing for and applying to graduate school. As always, it is also a good idea to consult your advisor concerning preparation for the future, even if you aren't planning to go to graduate school.
- Elect at least one or more math or science course(s) beyond the general university requirements.
- In your psychology classes, note your professors’ research areas. Get in touch with those professors whose research interests you, and talk with them about it.
- Find out when your state psychological association has an annual meeting and whether students are welcome. Also, will there be a regional convention in your area? Students are welcome at all of these regional meetings, which are usually held in late March, April, or early May. Check a recent copy of the American Psychologist in the library for the place and date. At these conventions, try to meet graduate students to ask them questions about graduate school.
- Attend every graduate school informational meeting that you can. Especially try to attend the meetings sponsored by the psychology department.
- If you haven’t already, join the Psychology Club. This is a good idea in that it gets you involved with other psychology majors, and the club sponsors many events that can be interesting, and educational.
- Continue items two and three listed under sophomore year.
- If possible, it is a good time to get involved in a research project with one of the psychology professors, or on your own.
- If you are interested in clinical and counseling areas of psychology, it is a excellent idea to arrange for a clinically-related experience.
- Consult the APA Graduate Study in Psychology, which is available in the Psychology Department on both campuses. Begin the process of learning which graduate schools interest you on the basis of their qualifications.
- Check out XPD – Experience & Professional Development and see what resources and advising they have with regard to applying to graduate school.
- Start thinking about taking the GRE and MAT. Check the test’s website for details, and possibly enroll in a preparatory course.
Summer before your Senior year:
- Prepare for, register for, and in the fall (October, or December at the latest) take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) aptitude test. Application and timetable materials are available from XPD – Experience & Professional Development. Plan on taking the general test unless one or more of the schools you are interested in requires the Psychology Subject test or some other test like the Miller Analogy Test (MAT). Keep in mind that there is a fee to takes these tests, and you may want to check with Financial Aid to see if you can have the fee waived. Often, waiver of the GRE fee is the criterion used by graduate schools in their decision on whether to waive their application fees.
- Check the websites of the schools to which you might eventually apply. You may also want to request bulletins, brochures, financial aid forms, and department application forms from these schools.
- Prepare a resume.
- Compile a preliminary list of programs that offer the area of concentration, degree, and training model that appeal to you.
- Call the financial aid offices of all the schools you will be applying to. Ask for an informational packet, as well as any form you will need to complete to be considered for financial aid.
- Calculate application fees to ensure that you have enough money to cover the sometimes expensive process.
- Plan informative visits to schools now, not in the spring of your senior year.
Beginning of your Senior year:
- Ask your advisor or other faculty members for information about graduate programs and undergraduate requirements you might have to fulfill. Again consult the book, Graduate Study in Psychology. Also, pick up graduate school information from XPD – Experience & Professional Development.
- Arrange for a conference with faculty who know about graduate schools in your preferred specialty area. Take them a copy of your resume so that they can recommend schools for which you may qualify. Send for additional information you want about various graduate schools.
- If you didn't do as well as you expected on the GRE, or if you have not yet taken it, register for this test now. Remember, scores take at least six weeks to arrive. PLAN AHEAD!
- Contact Richard White regarding Competitive Fellowships and Awards and the Financial Aid office regarding funding for graduate schools. You may also want to request such information from the schools to which you are applying. Deadlines for fellowship applications are often even earlier that those of admission.
- Request a student copy of your transcript from each undergraduate institution that you have attended (CSB/SJU transcript can be obtained at the Registrar’s Office in Quad 163). Check for errors since any changes may take weeks; if you wait until the application deadline to do this, you may either miss the deadline or be forced to submit an incomplete or erroneous transcript. Merely obtaining a transcript may take weeks because colleges are sometimes swamped with transcript requests just when you need yours. Again, plan ahead.
- Make sure you have enough money to cover the application costs. This figure could easily exceed $200.
October of Senior year:
- Take the GRE or MAT, or both (take whatever tests you are required to take).
- Request that scores be sent to all schools to which you will apply.
- Begin contacting individuals from whom you might request letters of recommendation.
- Write first drafts of essays for applications to graduate school. Ask others for feedback.
November of Senior year:
- Request that your undergraduate transcript(s) be sent to all of the institutions you are applying to. Keep in mind the deadline for each school.
- Narrow down your list of schools to which you will apply. Check the application deadline for each school. Post these deadlines where you will see them everyday.
- Graduate schools usually require three letters of recommendation. Go about obtaining these, and inform the person who is giving you the recommendation of the deadlines that are relevant. When handing in a request for a recommendation, always have a typed out description of your education, personal goals, long range goals, etc.
- Begin working on your personal statements. Remember not to make them all identical since the schools you are applying to are not identical. Tailor you statement to match the program to which it is being sent.
- Write final drafts of essays.
December of Senior year:
- Carefully prepare final copies of all application materials. Include a photocopy of your GRE and MAT results if you have them. They should be mailed at least two weeks before the deadline. Keep a photocopy of each application for your records. Be sure to include all necessary fees.
- Make sure that your letters of recommendation are sent in.
January – April of Senior year:
- Contact the people that gave you recommendations. Confirm again that they were sent, and thank them for giving you the recommendation.
- Verify that your application materials were received.
- If you receive copies of any GRE results after your applications have been submitted, send a photocopy to each school.
- Learn how to accept and decline offers from the graduate programs to which you applied.
- Inform the people that wrote you letters of recommendation of the outcome.
- Celebrate (or regroup)
Note: It is also recommended to obtain a copy of Preparing for Graduate Study in Psychology: Not for Seniors Only!. This book gives many helpful insights, and is a asset to anyone considering graduate school in psychology.