Once you have been accepted to the university of your choice, it is time to begin studying psychology in earnest. Before you begin your freshmen year, sit down with your academic advisor and come up with a four year course plan covering all of the general education, psychology and elective courses that you will need to graduate. While you may find yourself deviating from this plan due to various reasons, it can serve as an important road-map as you work toward your ultimate goal of becoming a psychologist.
As you begin to learn more about psychology, you may find that your interests shift towards a particular specialty area (such as developmental, cognitive or biological psychology). If you find that a particular area appeals to you, consider adjusting your course plan to include more elective classes in this subject area. Remember to keep your GPA high in order to prepare for graduate school.
Tips for Undergraduate Students:
- Seek out research opportunities and participate in experiments whenever possible.
- Consider signing up to be a teaching or research assistant. You can gain valuable experience and receive mentoring from your supervising professor.
- Maintain a high GPA. Psychology graduate schools can be very competitive and having good grades, especially in your core psychology classes, is essential.
- Take the Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE), including the Psychology Subject Matter test. Most graduate programs require this test in order to gain admission.
- Start looking at graduate programs as early as your freshmen year. By understanding the requirements of the graduate school you wish to attend, you can be sure that you make the most of your undergraduate years.
- Develop good relationships with your instructors. The better they know you, the better prepared they will be to write glowing letters of recommendation for your grad school applications.