Graduate and Postgraduate Students
Words of wisdom: grad school edition.
I remember graduate school quite well, partly because the memories are still fresh (I got my doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Miami in 2012), partly because it was such a tremendous experience and partly because it has no comparison to anything before or after it. What I learned in graduate school was of course a lot about how to become a better clinician, scientist and community steward.
An undergraduate education will prepare you for several careers. And, for many of you, graduate school is the intended step forward from the bachelor’s degree. If that is your intention, as it is mine, possibly the most essential part of your graduate school application is being able to share your research experience. For scientific fields like psychology that continually adapt to new information, a demonstration of your ability to conceptualize, theorize, test and analyze critical information is crucial. But sometimes, the most difficult part of this axiom is finding the research position. Having entirely redirected my career path halfway through my undergraduate study, I was forced to find a research job that not only fit my new interest but was also readily available in order to make up for two years of “lost” time.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Education Leadership Conference (ELC), which was presented by the American Psychological Association (APA). As an APA graduate student affiliate (APAGS), I was honored to be one of the representatives for the graduate student body for APA. The conference included a wide variety of presentations that included research, reviews, opinions, and panel discussions. The focus of the conference was on the importance of translating psychological research to educational practice, policy, and the public.
In previous years, the day that the psychology internship match results were released brought a range of emotions: happiness for those who were moving on to the next phase in their training and a deep sense of frustration that so many students did not get matched because there were not enough positions available.
According to the most recent data from American College Testing’s College Retention and Graduation Rates, 32% of all freshmen enrolled in American colleges and universities drop out before their sophomore year. The causes for this appalling statistic have been researched extensively, and they fall into four categories: poor academic preparation, inadequate financial support, lack of campus engagement, and low educational motivation.
What will you do with your psychology major?
If you find yourself wondering about this question, you are not alone. With more than 114,000 college students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2012-2013 psychology is one of the most popular college majors behind business, health-related bachelor programs, social sciences and history.
For Third-Year Students: This year is all about knowing when to plug in and when to unplug. With two years under your belt, you can not only identify your strengths but are also likely to be able to identify the people and places that make you stronger. Make this year about capitalizing on the connections you’ve made, and don’t forget to add a little something new along the way!
For Second-Year Students: One year into graduate school, you are likely to meet feelings of adjustment with recognition that you are (somehow) only getting busier. Here are some tips on how to manage your new-found groove while facing even newer challenges and tasks–you can do it! (View Part 1 of this series, dedicated to the first-year graduate school experience.)