Graduate Study in Psychology:

Seven Sins of Applying To Graduate School

Got 5 Minutes For Science?
Click here to complete a short questionnaire!

These tips are one of a kind! Where else can you get expert advice on how not to get in?
  1. Give your professors only three weeks notice about writing your letters of recommendation for you. That way you can make sure that they are annoyed and angry with you while they write them.
  2. Don't do any background research to find out what the program you are applying to really focuses on. That way you can make sure that you are completely wasting the committee's time by applying to a program that isn't even what you think it is. (If you think nobody is dumb enough to do that, think again: hundreds of students apply to social psychology programs each year thinking that they are going to become "social relations counselors" after they graduate.)
  3. Don't find out what the average GPA and GRE scores are for the program you're applying to. That way you'll be sure to either be way out of your league or way overqualified for the programs you're applying to.
  4. Ask your friends and family members whether a graduate program is a high-quality program or not instead of looking at what the American Psychological Association or the National Research Council says about it. That way you can be sure to get really useless advice rather than seeing some real data on the quality of the program.
  5. If you're applying to a graduate program where you will do research with an advisor or mentor, make sure you avoid looking up there publications. That way you won't have any idea of how well established your advisor is in the field, what kind of work he or she does, or whether you are even interested in doing that kind of research.
  6. Don't bother looking at the cost of the graduate program, the cost of living in the area that the program is located in, or the financial aid opportunities that will be available to you. That way you might get lucky enough to be in debt the rest of your life.
  7. Don't let anyone who is smarter than you read over your statement of purpose/application essay before you send it. That way you can ensure that the faculty members on the admissions committee have someone to laugh at (or cry at, or wince at) during their committee meetings.
Pardon the cynical tone, folks, but I hope you've learned something positive!