Lay the Foundation
Starting your first semester of college you can begin making choices that will increase the likelihood that an excellent graduate school program will be an option for you.
Even if you aren't sure you want to go to graduate school, your undergraduate experience will be enhanced if you'll do the following:
- Meet with your academic advisor to develop an initial academic plan and ask about the resources and opportunities on campus that might be a good fit for you.
- First years meet with their University Division Advisor.
- Once you've declared a psychology or neuroscience major and have been certified into the College (which happens for most students at the end of their first year), you'll meet with a Psychology & Neuroscience Advisor.
- If you're considering a career in law, medicine, or a related health careeer you should also work with a Health Professions & Pre-Law Center advisor.
- Select challenging courses and do your best to earn excellent grades. Read Tips for Doing Well in Psychology Courses (Eye on Psi Chi: Spring 2002) and check out academic resources available for our students.
- Engage in career development activities. Explore careers by reading about them. Network. Visit the Career Development Center to talk with a career counselor or browse the books, videos, and other resources. Interview professionals in careers of interest to you. If you think you want to be a psychologist, explore subfields. Enroll in P199 or P299 during your sophomore year!
- Read about the entire graduate school preparation and application process so you can set goals for yourself. Start by reading all of the pages in this section of the PSYUGRAD website and check out books in the Advising Resource Library such as "Getting In: A Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology" or the "Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology".
- Go to your professors' office hours. Talk with them about course material and how to make the most of your undergraduate years.
- Attend Psychological & Brain Sciences departmental functions - including talks by students and faculty shown in the "Undergrad Events" calendar that appears on the left side of this webpage.
- Join a student group and take on leadership roles to develop transferable skills desired in any profession - such as communication, teamwork, and the ability to develop and achieve goals.
- Investigate research opportunities in Psychological & Brain Sciences. Students considering any type of graduate school program can benefit from conducting research with a faculty member.
- Especially if you are considering going to graduate school to become a psychological scientist, give serious consideration to working towards an Honors Degree in Psychology or Neuroscience.
- Volunteer in the community or enroll in a service-learning course or a field experience course.
- Search for internship experiences -- volunteer opportunities, part-time, or summer employment -- as part of your mission to explore careers in which you are interested. Read about field experience courses for psychology and neuroscience majors.
Are you interested in becoming a psychologist? Click to see articles on preparing for graduate school in psychology from Psi Chi - The International Honor Society in Psychology.