Are you interested in going to graduate school? Is your mind racing with questions about the GRE's, costs, letters of recommendations and filling out applications? If so, we are positive that these simple links below will help to answer many of your questions and put you on the right path to GRADUATE SCHOOL.


Questions & Answers

When do I apply?

How do I search for a grad school?

What do I look for in a grad school? (Accreditation)

What are the GRE’s?

How do I study?

What will make my application stronger?

The Essay/Personal Statement

How much does it cost?

How can I pay for it?

Can I get financial aid?

Grad School Search Organizer


When do I apply?

Most graduate schools accept applications during the spring semester, but the exact time frame depends on the school. Be sure you know about each school's deadlines as soon as possible, so you can plan ahead and don't have to rush or miss the deadline for your top choice. Also, check to see if the schools you're looking at require the GRE or other tests - these normally need to be taken at least six to eight weeks before you apply, so the scores will be received by the school in time.

If you're looking for financial aid (fellowships, research/teaching assistant positions, etc) plan on submitting your application well before the deadline. Usually, this aid is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Also, plan to devote enough time on your application to do the best job of making yourself look as qualified and competent as you can. Don't rush. Start asking for letters of recommendation well before they're due, to ensure that they're ready when you need them. Devote enough time on any personal statement or essay to do the best you can.


How do I get into Graduate school?

This depends entirely on the requirements of individual schools. Some things you might frequently find, though, are GREs, the psychology GRE, letters of recommendation, specific psychology courses they'll be looking for in your transcript, and/or a personal statement explaining why you're interested in the field or the certain school.

Request an application from schools you're interested in applying to, and make sure everything required on the application is done on time.

What do I look for in a graduate school? What about accreditations?

This depends on what you're looking at studying. Become familiar with any possible accreditations that are relevant to your field (for example, NASP for school psychology), and find out if the schools you're interested in have these accreditations. Chances are, if a school has a certain accreditation, it'll be well advertised on the site.

Everything depends on what you're interested in, and what applies to you (for example, housing, the area the school's in, the ease of finding work in the area, school size, etc.).

What will make my application stronger?

Having a strong application is not hard to obtain. Good GRE scores (link), strong letters of recommendation (link) and plenty of extracurricular activities such as clubs, internships(link), and independent studies will help to ensure that your application exceeds that of other applicants.


The Essay/ Personal Statement

  • Almost all doctoral and master’s programs in psychology require one or more written statements
  • The information asked of the applicant can range from past experiences to future plans
  • A primary use of the essay is to assess the information the applicant was requested to provide
  • The essay also supplements GPA and GRE scores and reference letters
  • Potential Aspects of Assessment
  • How well the applicant writes
  • What the applicant considers suitable self-presentation
  • How the applicant views priorities (according to what is selected for inclusion in the essay)
  • Possible insight into the values and personality of the applicant
  • How the program fits with the needs and goals of the applicant

How Much Weight Does the Essay Statement Hold?
If the applicant has high levels of achievement and many accomplishments, the essay would probably have to be very poorly done to harm his chances
If the applicant’s record of achievement is extremely low, a thoughtful and well-written essay is unlikely to be of great help

Getting Started
Many students find this part of the application process the hardest and most intimidating
Selection committees understand that many students’ achievements up to this point are pretty modest
It isn’t necessary to have already achieved greatness (so relax) – what is more important is self-confidence
The most desirable traits are potential and motivation to succeed
A good goal is to come off as someone who, regardless of what’s been done in the past, can succeed in graduate school

Personal Assessment
If you are having trouble focusing on what to write, you can try a brainstorm.
Later, you can pick out the substance that will support your essay.

Things to Consider:
Projects that you've completed
Accomplishments in the personal and scholastic arena
Major life events that have changed you
Challenges and hurdles you've overcome
Life events that motivate your education
People who have influenced you or motivated you
Traits, work habits, and attitudes that will insure your success
Your goals

Common Topics:
DO NOT create one generic essay and submit it to all schools asking for a statement, even though most schools require similar kinds of essays. This is a surefire way to get skipped over. Schools are looking for direct answers to the specific questions that they ask. Shape your essay to match the program you're applying to.

An important goal is to show how your interests and abilities fit the school’s program and faculty.

Career Plans: What are your long-term career goals? Where do you see yourself, career wise, 10 years from now?

Academic Interests: What would you like to study? Describe your academic interests. Which professors in the department would you like to work with?

Research Experiences: Discuss your research experiences. What areas would you like to research? Academic

Objectives: Why do you plan to attend graduate school? Explain how graduate school will contribute to your career goals. What do you plan to do with your degree?

Clinical and Field Experience: Discuss your clinical and other applied experiences. How have these experiences shaped your career goals?

Academic Achievements: Discuss your academic background and achievements.

Personal Experience: Write an autobiographical essay. Is there anything in your background that you think would be relevant to your application for admission to graduate school?

Describe your life up to now: family, friends, home, school, work, and particularly those experiences most relevant to your interests in psychology. What is your approach to life?

Things To Consider:
*Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes and typos
* Follow the structural specifications and criteria given to you (No more than 1 single-spaced page or 2 double-spaced pages is a good rule.)
* Use a professional looking font and standard paper
* Show your individuality and uniqueness
* Avoid discussing personal problems
* Avoid clichés such as "I want to help people" or "I want to make the world a better place."
* Use active verbs to describe your experiences.
* Show that you have researched the school without being overly specific

"Proofread it, have a trusted friend or family member proofread it, take it to a writing lab on campus, and then have a faculty member read it. Then proofread it again."

Substance of the Purpose/Personal Statement
*Any themes you can identify in your life that have led towards an interest in psychology
*College experiences that are relevant to your intended career
*Any Research experience
* Talk about how you think your past research (or work) experience is specifically relevant to the field you are interested in for graduate school
*Possibly (quickly) explain or comment on your GPA or GRE scores
*Goals for graduate school - what you hope to learn and gain there
*Why the program you're applying to is a good choice for you
*What type of work you would like to be doing after graduate school (*this might be a bad idea if you aren’t sure*)

This statement should help us get to know you better. Please use a single sheet of paper, type/double space, and prepare concise responses to the following questions

*What are your educational goals?
*What barriers have you had to overcome to pursue your college education?
*What is your current or prior involvement in community or social organizations and activities? Include specific activities, dates and time.
*How do you think your education in Psychology at "SUNY ONEONTA" will contribute to your community?

Your eligibility will be based on a combination of factors including the strength of your application to the program and your statement of purpose for the scholarship.

Web Links
Sample Personal Statements:

Examples of Statements of Purpose/Letters of Intent/Graduate School Essays:

How much does graduate school cost?

Despite the media hype about rising college costs, a college education is more affordable than most people think, especially when you consider college graduates earn an average of $1 million more over their careers than high-school graduates. The average yearly cost of public graduate school 2002-2003 is just $5,081, private school is more expensive. There are some expensive schools, but high tuition is not a requirement or a good education. Most people interested in graduate school either look on the schools website for “Tuition & Fees” or look it up in the schools catalog.

How can I pay for graduate school?

In addition to your own recourses, many students working toward higher education are eligible for some sort of financial assistance. Some options are low interest student loans, scholarships and grants through private foundations, employer reimbursement, and gift or loans through family/friends.

This website gives great description about all different types of financial assistance out there for all students.

Can I get financial aid?

Even if you don’t think you qualify for some sort of financial assistance you should always apply for it. There are many loans out their that are not all about need, you may just possess the right qualifications to be eligible for the loan.

To get information about any federal student financial aid that exists you can call (FSAIC) 1-800-4-FED-AID, then ask for a copy of “The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education.” You can also write to…

Federal Student Aid Information Center
PO Box 84
Washington, DC 20044

Grad School Search Organizer

This is a suggested guideline of information to look for about particular grad schools you're interested in. Keep in mind that some of these categories might not apply to you, and add anything else you're interested in to this list. The criteria listed on this page may be used to compare graduate schools, or just to keep information straight for your own
reference. It could look somethin glike this:

Name of Graduate School:

Date Catalog and Application Requested:

Date GRE Application Registration Sent:

Date Other Test Application Registration Sent:

Application Deadline:

Date Application Sent:

Date Transcripts Sent:

Letters of Recommendation Completed:

Date Letters of Recommendation Sent:

Deadline for Financial Aid Application (GAPSFAS):

Date Financial Aid Application Sent:

Date Accepted or Rejected:

Date Acceptance Deposit Due:

Date Acceptance Deposit Sent:

Deadline for Housing Application:

Date Housing Application Sent: