Applying to Graduate School

Think of your graduate school applications as another 3-credit course you are taking; it's an intense process that will take at least that much of your time and have its own assignments, from contacting potential mentors through writing your personal statement and requesting letters of recommendation. Instead of a textbook, you'll be paying transcript and application fees; instead of a syllabus, we offer you the "Beginning the Graduate School Journey" handbook for psychology majors. The handbook outlines the entire process, with tips for selecting schools, writing your best personal statement, what to provide to the people who agree to write your letter of recommendation, and a checklist to keep you on track through the process.

Extra Application Help

If you're feeling stuck trying to write your personal statement, this reflection activity may give you some ideas. You may also want to consider your transcript after reading "What does your transcript say about you?", to determine if there's something you need to address in your personal statement.

If you're trying to decide who to ask for letters of recommendation, consider these questions to identify what letters would help you present your strengths.

Psychology advisors Drew and Karen Appleby identified five major mistakes made by applicants to graduate school that can really hurt your chances of being accepted. They published their findings as "Kisses of Death in the Graduate School Application Process", and also made a colorful poster to help applicants avoid those critical mistakes.