Need Helping Picking a Psychology Graduate Program? Here are a Few Tips
One of the most frequent requests I receive is for assistance choosing a psychology graduate program. Which program is right for me based on my interests and goals? Can you help me select a social psychology program? Which school in Texas has the best psychology program? For obvious reasons, I cannot answers all of these questions. Not only is it impossible to be familiar with every single program that is available, I also have no way of fully understanding your unique situation, including your educational background and goals.
When you are trying to select a psychology graduate program, there is no quick and easy shortcut, adviser, or online tool that can definitively tell you "Hey, this is the perfect program for you!" Simply put, you need to do the research yourself. Only you know exactly what you are looking for and what your criteria are. The search can be tough, but making the effort will be well worth it.
Start by making a list of things that you are looking for in a psychology graduate program. What type of degrees are you interested in? How long are you willing to spend pursuing your degree? You might also want to consider whether or not you might be interested in earning your degree online.
Once you have a list of factors that are important to you, it is time to start the hunt for the perfect school. One option is to check out online directories to find programs that suit your needs. If attending school in a specific geographic location is important, you might contact schools in that area to find out which programs are available.
After you have compiled a list of potential programs, then next step is to compare and contrast to determine which ones best meet your already established criteria.
If you need additional assistance, consider checking out this list of things you should consider before picking a psychology graduate program as well as our psychology graduate school FAQ. For those of you who have already chosen a program, be sure to visit the Graduate School site here at black-rose-bielefeld.de for lots of great admissions tips including when to apply, how to get letters of recommendation, and how to write a great admissions essay.
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Compliance - Psychology Definition of the Week
Definition: In psychology, compliance refers to changing your behavior under the direction or request of someone else. Essentially, you do something because someone asks you to. It differs from obedience in that it does not involve following the orders of an authority figure. Examples of compliance include doing a favor for a friend, buying a product after listening to a salesman's marketing pitch, or purchasing an item you saw in a television commercial that featured your favorite celebrity.
Learn more about compliance.
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Personality
Personality is one of the most popular topics within psychology. The field of personality psychology is rich with fascinating facts about the traits and characteristics that make us who we are. Did you know that people can make fairly accurate assessments of your personality based solely on your Facebook profile? Or that certain personality traits are linked to particular illnesses? Learn more about what researchers have learned in these ten fascinating facts about personality.
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A Closer Look at Phrenology
Could a bump on the back of your head offer a clue to your inner personality? This idea was a central theme in the discipline known as phrenology, which involved linking bumps on a person's head to certain aspects of the individual's personality and character.
Invented in the late 1700s by Franz Joseph Gall, phrenology was briefly popular but is now viewed as a psuedoscience along the same lines as astrology, numerology, and palmistry. Because of phrenology, however, researchers became increasingly interested in the idea of cortical localization, or the idea that certain mental functions were localized in specific areas of the brain. Learn more about phrenology.
Getting In the Zone: How Do You Create Flow?
The other day I was working on an art project and was surprised when my husband came into the office and asked if I was going to make dinner or if he should order take-out. I was stunned to discover that so much time had passed while I was immersed in my project - it seemed like just a few minutes had elapsed when in reality a couple of hours had flown by. Have you ever felt like you were so completely engaged in an activity that you lost track of time? If so, then you were probably experiencing what positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as flow.
If you have felt like this before, you might liken it to what athletes and performers call "being in the zone." Not only do you feel happy or even ecstatic, your actions seem almost effortless.
"Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void," said the artist Paul Klee. "Ripe, graphic fruits fall off. My hand has become the obedient instrument of a remote will." What Klee described in this quote is a perfect example of flow. Total immersion in a task, a feeling of complete concentration, and losing track of the outside world are all common characteristics of this state of mind.
Obviously, reaching this state of flow is something many of us would like to accomplish on a regular basis. Fortunately, flow isn't something restricted to just elite athletes, artists, and performers. You can achieve this state during a number of activities such as at work, while engaging in exercise, or while working on a hobby. So what what exactly does it take to achieve a state of flow?
- Your skills need to be well-matched to the task. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is most likely to occur when your skill level is perfectly aligned to the challenge that the activity presents. So a runner might experience flow during a marathon that they he or she is well-prepared for, or an chess-player might reach this state during a game that presents the perfect challenge.
- In some cases, striving for something that challenges your existing skills can lead to a state of flow. A slight stretching of your skills, or attempting something that is a little more advanced than one's current abilities, can also foster a flow state. For an dancer, this might involve attempting a move that presents a bit of a challenge. For a graphic designer, it might involve taking on a project that requires utilizing a new type of software.
- Have clear goals. You need to have a specific purpose for focusing on the task, such as winning an athletic contest, playing a particular piece of music, or finishing a work project.
- Avoid interruptions. It is important to devote all of your concentration to the task at hand. Multitasking and other distractions will disrupt the flow state.
- It is essential to focus on the process and not the end state. While having a goal is important, flow requires enjoying the journey and not just fixating on the end product.
Achieving flow can be a pleasurable experience, but it also has other benefits as well. People who regularly enter into this state of mind also report having greater happiness, self-esteem, self-confidence, and life satisfaction.
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Counseling Psychology - Psychology Definition of the Week
Definition: Counseling psychology is one of the largest subfields in psychology. It is centered on offering therapy and aiding clients who suffer from mental illness and psychological distress. According to The Society of Counseling Psychology, the goal of counseling psychology is to improve personal functioning by focusing on social, emotional, educational, health, developmental, family, and work-related issues.
Learn more about counseling psychology.
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What You Need to Know About Earning a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology can be a great way to learn more about the human mind and behavior. The degree can also prepare you for further graduate study or to enter the workforce in a variety of different fields. Learn more including how long it will take, your career options after graduation and possible alternative degree that you might want to consider in these answers to frequently asked questions about bachelor's degrees in psychology.
One of the most common questions students often have relates to what they can do with a bachelor's degree in psychology. While earning a graduate degree is required for many psychology jobs, the fact is that approximately 75% of students who earn a bachelor's degree in psychology do not go to graduate school. According to one study, only about 25% of psychology undergraduates end up working in a field that is closely related to their major. Fortunately, there are a number of entry-level career options available to those with an undergraduate degree in psychology. Learn more about ten different entry-level career options in this article on what you can do with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
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Are You a Morning Lark or Night Owl?
While I am definitely more of a night owl, I've always aspired to become a morning person. I just seem to get more done in a day if I get up early, yet my love for sleeping in has always prevented it.
Since my daughter was born a couple months ago, I've been forced to become an early riser and it turns out that might be a good thing for a number of reasons. Research has shown that morning people are not only happier than their late-sleeping peers, they're also healthier .
One recent study found that people who prefer to stay up later tend to have worse cardiac functioning including heart rate and blood pressure. Not only that, they also suffered from poorer sleep and were less likely to be physically active.
The research also found that both morning and evening types are better capable of handling stress in the early hours if the day. So the next time you're facing an anxiety provoking work or school project, try working in it early in the morning rather than in the afternoon. By putting things off until later in the day, you're actually creating more stress for yourself which may ultimately affect the quality of your sleep.
While individual differences in your biological clock may influence whether you are a morning lark or a night owl, there are a few things you can do to shift your internal clock and start greeting the day a bit earlier.
A few things you can try:
- Manage your time wisely during the day. Get stuff done earlier and avoid procrastination in order to prevent having to stay up late to finish projects.
- Avoid loud noises and boisterous social situations in the late evening hours. Going to a late-night party or hanging out with roommates who are playing video games or watching movies can leave you feeling keyed-up and unable to sleep. Focus on giving yourself some time in the evening to unwind from the stresses of the day.
- Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Start going to bed at the same time each night in order to wake up earlier without feeling sleep deprived.
According to sleep experts, it may take up to a month to establish a new waking/sleeping routine. Stick to it, however, and you may soon reap the benefits of being a morning person.
Whitbourne, S. K. (2012). Morning Person or Evening Person? How your Body's Clock Affects Your Life, Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201209/morning-person-or-evening-person-how-your-body-s-clock-affects-your-
Thun, E., Bjorvatn, B., Osland, T., Steen, V., Sivertsen, B., Johansen, T., & ... Pallesen, S. (2012). An actigraphic validation study of seven morningness-eveningness inventories. European Psychologist, 17(3), 222-230. doi:10.1027/1016-9040/a000097
Fully Functioning Person - Psychology Definition of the Week
Definition: According to influential humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, a fully functioning person represents the ideal personality. These individuals tend to live in the moment and are fully open to the experiences they encounter. Rogers believed that in order to become a fully functioning person, an individual must first experience unconditional positive regard and must not develop any conditions of worth. When this happens, the individual will be able to express feelings freely, trust in themselves, and live a rich, full, and creative life.
Learn more about the fully functioning person.
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Are You Self-Actualized?
At the peak of Abraham Maslow's famous hierarchy of needs is self-actualization, which is described as a desire for self-fulfillment and reaching maximum potential. According to some estimates, less that one-percent of adults are self-actualizing. Are you?
Check out these common characteristics of self-actualized people. As you read the article, think of ways that you can incorporate these tendencies into your own life.
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