Yearly Undergraduate Plan for Grad School – Psychology Educational Assistants

Yearly Undergraduate Plan for Grad School

A Psychology Major’s Guide to Graduate School:

Sophomore Year


  • Get involved in Psychology Club
  • Visit Career Services and begin researching careers in psychology
  • Take Statistics (this is a pre-requisite for Research Methods)
  • Look into faculty research interests and try to get involved in their research projects


  • Take PSYC 212: Research Methods (this is very important as you will then be able to take the lab courses you need for your major;  additionally, any research experience you can gain as an undergrad will be highly beneficial for you and in grad school.)
  • Declare your major and meet with your faculty advisor to create a timeline for the classes that you need to take for a psychology major
    • Check when classes are available and how you can work them into your schedule
    • Think about possible minors
  • Check eligibility for membership into Psi Chi

Junior Year

  • Take courses from the professors you would like to write letters of recommendations for you
    • Take time to get to know your professor outside class
      • Work on research together
    • Typically three letters of recommendation are needed for each graduate school application
  • Begin researching areas you would want to pursue in graduate school
    • Counseling, social psych, cognition, experimental, etc.
  • Apply to Psi Chi so that you can put it on you grad school application
  • Obtain the GRE bulletin to get information regarding when and where to sign up
    • Buy study materials to help you prepare for the exam
  • Get involved in volunteer work related to our field of interest
  • Consider doing an independent study project
  • Being writing your CV
    • Look in JRC LL54 for tips!

Summer before Senior Year

  • Be financially ready- make sure that grad school will be financially feasible for you. Make sure to remember:
    • Application fees
    • Programs visits
    • Traveling expenses to interviews
    • Tuition
    • Books
    • Living expenses
  • Think about taking the GRE during late summer
    • It will be harder to prepare well once school starts
    • Register online
  • Compile a list of programs that offer the concentration, degree and training model that appeals to you.
  • Visit some of the programs you are interested in to narrow down your list
  • Review the list of programs and use it to make a list of schools to which you will want to apply
    • Carefully review their DEADLINES for:
      • Applications
      • Financial Aid
    • Prepare a list of information about the schools and the application materials that are required
      • Some schools will require you to first apply to their grad school and then to a particular program- be aware of both deadlines
    • Finalize your CV or resume
      • Visit JRC54 or the Writing Center for tips

Senior Year


  • Make sure you have registered or already taken the GRE
  • Begin drafting your personal statement for your applications
    • Have faculty review it
    • Different programs will want you to stress different areas so make sure you can tailor it to each program you are applying to
  • Contact faculty members to write letters of recommendation
    • Remember its extra work for them so give them enough time to write a good letter!
    • Give them a copy of your CV so they know about all your accomplishments
    • Put letters in order by deadlines
  • Compile a list of addresses of where your transcripts will need to be sent
    • Make sure you have the correct number for each school
      • Some schools require a copy for the grad school and the specific program


  • Turn in your transcript requests to the Registrar’s Office
  • Take the GRE
  • Begin filling out application forms
  • Register for the Subject GRE if required by the schools to which you are applying


  • Take the Subject GRE
  • Finalize Financial Aid Forms
  • Finalize application forms
    • Some deadlines are as early as December!
    • Send out applications at least 4 weeks before the deadline!


  • Many programs have early January deadlines so be sure to complete them in early December
  • Prepare each application for mailing
    • Proofread all of your application
    • Photocopy each application in its entirety in case something is lost or misplaced along the way
  • Make a check sheet to be sure you have included all the necessary information for each application:
    • Application form
    • Personal statement
    • Application fee
    • Request for financial aid
    • Self addressed postcard for verification of receipt of your application materials
  • If possible, visit the programs to which you have applied to
    • Meet with faculty
    • Put a face with your application


  • Contact faculty members that wrote letters of recommendation for you and confirm that the letters were sent
    • Send them a thank you note for writing a letter for you
  • Follow up that your completed applications were received
  • Mail out any remaining applications
  • You may be invited to attend interviews, so begin preparing for the questions you may be asked


  • You should begin to hear back from schools about your application status
    • Acceptance, provisional acceptance, waiting list, denial
  • Attend interviews


  • Once you have received notification of you applications status,  consult faculty in making your final decision
  • Notify the school of your choice of you acceptance
  • Formally tell other schools you will not be coming so they can offer your position to another student
  • Call or write to the people who wrote you letters of recommendation to inform them of the outcome