Graduate Schools
Psychology Graduate School Directories

Accredited Doctoral Programs in Professional Psychology

Graduate Programs in Applied Psychology


  • Determine the admissions requirements for the programs to which you are applying. Expectations may vary from program to program.
  • Admissions requirements common to many graduate schools include: undergraduate GPA (especially in your major), GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
  • Photocopy all applications and keep a comprehensive file on each school in which you can record all interactions with that school.
  • Follow all rules set forth by the application. Call the admissions office and ask for advice if you have questions or are tempted to "break a rule."
  • Put your name and social security number on any additional pages.
  • Make certain your application is neat and professional.
  • Have someone proofread your application and personal statement. © 1996-2001


Start to think about the admissions process early. Begin thinking about the application process the summer before your senior year. Check admissions deadlines with each school. They are often different from program to program. Some graduate schools admit incoming students only for fall term. Others allow students to enroll at several points in the year. Financial aid deadlines are frequently earlier than the last admissions deadline.

  • Research programs. Collect information and speak with faculty, graduate students, and professionals in your field.
  • Use the Internet to research programs.
  • Plan to visit schools.
  • Determine what tests are required for admission.
  • Make a list of possible professors and/or professionals whom you can ask to write letters of recommendation.
  • Visit schools and speak to department members.
  • Begin to draft a personal statement.
  • Draft a resume that reflects academic interests and research abilities.
  • Contact schools and request applications.
  • Inquire about financial aid deadlines and required applications.
  • Take the GRE.
  • Ask professor and/or professionals to write letters of recommendation. Arrange to meet with them if possible.
  • Send all information to recommenders at least two months in advance.
  • Ask professors and other students to review your personal statement. Finalize the draft.
  • Complete and mail applications.
  • Keep copies of everything you send.
  • Remind your recommenders of deadlines if necessary.
  • Apply for financial aid. © 1996-2001


How to Study for the GRE: Example Questions, Resources, and Study Hacks

KAPLAN Test Prep and Admissions

Graduate Record Examinations

The GRE supplements your college grades and helps admissions officers compare your record with those of other applicants. Although you may increase your test scores to some extent through preparation a few weeks or months before you take the GRE, last minute cramming is unlikely to be of any help. If you decide to spend time preparing for the GRE, the following information may help guide you:
  • Become familiar with the types of questions used in the GRE. Question types include sentence completions, analogies, reading comprehension, antonyms, logical reasoning, logic games, problem solving, and quantitative comparisons.
  • Take a practice test.
  • Pay special attention to the directions. You will have more time to during the GRE to focus on the questions themselves if you thoroughly understand the directions before you take the test.
The GRE Subject Tests demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you plan to study in graduate school.

  • Read test directions carefully. Work as quickly as you can without being careless.
  • All questions are of equal value. Do not waste time thinking about individual questions that you find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.
  • First answer all the questions about which you feel confident. Then go back and answer questions that require more thought. End with the most difficult questions if you have time.
  • Questions for which you answer more than one answer or no answer are not counted.
  • Guessing will not improve your score. It may even lower your score. © 1996-2001


Sample Essays

  • Graduate school admissions committees want to know whether or not applicants will contribute to the program’s unique mix of personalities, intellectual criticism, personal experiences, and aptitudes. Demonstrate the characteristics necessary to meet the demanding requirements of the program’s curriculum.
  • Capitalize on your opportunity to convince an admissions committee of your passion for psychology. Write about what interests you and excites you.
  • Use the personal statement to present a total picture of your qualities other than attributes that can be reduced to numbers, such as your IQ and GRE score.
  • Don’t start your essay with "I was born in…" or "My parents came from…"
  • Communicate your unique characteristics and experiences in a way that will distinguish you from the rest of the applicant pool. Use concrete examples.
  • Prioritize and organize your personal traits, experiences, and accomplishments tailored to the structure of program admission requirements.
  • Convey your most significant research, leadership, and service experiences.
  • Provide illustrative details and meaningful insights related to each experience, event, or idea.
  • Be confident that your experiences are exciting enough to commit to print. It is the depth of character you convey—not the intensity of the topic—that matters.
  • Don’t overuse vague words like "experience" and "situation."
  • Don’t start too many sentences with the pronoun "I".
  • Don’t tell the reader "I am a unique and interesting person." Let the reader learn this indirectly from your unique and interesting essay. In other words, show—don’t tell.
  • Try to use active voice instead of passive voice. For example, use "Our staff completed the assignment in record time" instead of "The assignment was completed in record time."
  • Don’t try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.
  • Don’t try to write a scholarly or overly-important sounding essay. An essay showing off your knowledge of—instead of you passion for—psychology tells the reader nothing about you as a person.
  • Use a natural and informal conversational tone—not as informal as colloquial speech, but less formal than the tone of an academic assignment.
  • Be yourself. Convey your genuine thoughts.
  • Don’t write an autobiography or a resume in prose.
  • Don’t try to accomplish too much in your essay. Less is more. Don’t try to summarize your entire life’s accomplishments. Your essay will read more like a laundry list and less like a meaningful personal statement.
  • Don’t write anything that may embarrass the reader or make him or her feel uncomfortable. The reader is neither your therapist nor your close friend.
  • Don’t repeat or sum up your points.
  • End your essay with a statement that refers to the beginning and restates your main point.
  • Avoid careless grammatical errors. Proofread your essay several times for spelling and typographical errors. Use the spelling checker of your computer’s word processing program, but do not rely on it. Consult a dictionary for any words you vaguely suspect may be misspelled.
  • Revise your essay at least three times. Don’t attempt to write the perfect essay in one sitting. Good writing is the product of careful and constant rewriting. © 1997-2000 © 1997-2001, CyberEdit, Inc. © 1996-2000
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