WILLIAM BUSKIST and CAROLINE BURKE Preparing for Graduate Study in Psychology: 101 Questions and Answers Blackwell Publishing, 2006, 120 pages (ISBN: 9781405140522, $19.95 Paperback)
Reviewed by STAN FLORESCO
In their book, Drs. Buskist and Burke lay out a wellorganized and systematic series of commonly asked questions and answers regarding how undergraduate students should prepare for applying to and succeeding in graduate school in psychology. The book is broken down into a number of chapters organized in a chronological manner, starting with the fundamentals of what graduate school is like and how to choose a specific program. It then proceeds to more specific pieces of information, including the GRE, details on the application and interview process, and finishes with a timeframe on how to organize one's first year of graduate studies. Each of these chapters is formatted as a series of key questions, followed by detailed answers related to the overall theme of the section. Also included in this edition are very useful appendices that include a glossary of terms, a sample vitae, and letters of intent.
This was an extremely easy book to read, and I am confident that it would be an invaluable tool for the aspiring graduate student. I would certainly recommend it to any student who asked me about graduate school and the application process. Indeed, some of the information would also benefit junior faculty mentors looking to take on graduate students for the first time, as it gives examples of important questions that one might ask a potential student.
A key strength of this work is that it details to the potential student the differences between undergraduate and graduate studies. Many undergraduates are overwhelmed by the radical changes that take place in graduate school life, but the information provided in this book would make the transition between undergraduate and graduate programs much smoother. It places a heavy emphasis on the student being well rounded, highlighting that extracurricular research experience may play an equally important, if not more important, role in getting accepted into a program, compared to GPA and GRE scores. Also included are helpful tidbits such as how much it costs to apply to graduate schools, what kinds of questions to ask during the interview, and what to do if one does not get accepted into the program of his or her choosing.
The last chapter, entided "The First Year: Thriving, Surviving and Other Essentials," tackles issues related to how to decide on a graduate mentor, when to choose a thesis committee, switching programs during graduate school, and most intriguingly, how to not "wash out" of the program. This chapter alone would be a useful reference for any mentor to give to an incoming first-year graduate student.
Probably the single most useful aspect of the book is in the Appendix, which describes in detail what a student should be doing to maximize the chances of getting into a graduate program in psychology, starting from the first year through to his or her senior year of studies. …