Succeeding in Graduate School: The Career Guide for Psychology Students

By Steven Walfish; Allen K. Hess | Go to book overview

before you are ready to do so (if you decline they want to offer the slot to another qualified applicant before the other candidate accepts elsewhere). Although you should not needlessly delay the final decision, do not feel as if you have to make a decision before the agreed-on deadline. Once you have made your choice, first telephone the appropriate faculty member and inform him or her of your choice. Then quickly follow up this call with an acceptance letter to this individual. Then contact the other programs that have accepted you, thank them for the offer, and inform them that you have chosen to attend another program. Although they may be disappointed with your choice, they will be grateful so they may quickly offer the position to another applicant. Once you have accepted the offer in writing, you should honor that commitment. Changing your mind after accepting an offer and accepting at another program instead is considered by many to be unethical behavior.

We have tried to convey the message that applying to graduate school is a time consuming and complex process. Before the applications are made, students will have to have gained experiences and credentials that make them stand out in a situation in which gaining acceptance is competitive. Carefully assess your career goals, do well in classes and on the GRE, participate in both research and applied endeavors, and carefully prepare and monitor your application. Following these suggestions will not assure your acceptance into an advanced training program. However, we suggest that following these guidelines will greatly enhance your chances. Good luck!


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The authors thank Thomas Brandon and Allen Hess for their comments on an earlier version of this chapter. Their wisdom and guidance helped to make it stronger.


REFERENCES

American Psychological Association. (1997). Getting in: A step-by step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology. Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (1998). Graduate study in psychology. Washington, DC: Author.

Eddy, B., Lloyd, P., & Lubin, B. (1987). Enhancing the application to doctoral professional programs: Suggestions from a national survey. Teaching of Psychology, 14, 160–163.

Keith-Spiegel, P., & Wiederman, M. (2000). The complete guide to graduate school admission: Psychology, counseling and related professions. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Keith-Spiegel, P., Tobachnick, B., & Spiegel, G. (1994) When demand exceeds supply: Second-order criteria used by graduate selection committees. Teaching of Psychology, 21, 79–81.

Lawson, T. (1995). Gaining admission into graduate programs in psychology: An update. Teaching of Psychology, 22, 225–227.

Mayne, T., Norcross, J., & Sayette, M. (2000). An insider's guide to graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology. New York: Guilford.

Nevid, J., & Gildea, T. (1984). The admissions process in clinical training: The role of the personal interview. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 15, 18–25.

Norcross, J., Hanych, J., & Terranova, R. (1996). Graduate study in psychology: 1992–1993. American Psychologist, 51, 631–643.

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