Recommended Preparation Timetable

Freshman Year

  • Concentrate on taking your LAF requirements for the University of Redlands. (Be sure to take MATH 41 or 101, a prerequisite for PSYC 250: Statistics).

  • Take PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology, followed by one or more 200-level courses in psychology.

  • Apply yourself diligently in all your classes. It will be difficult to pull up your GPA if you get off to a bad start. • Make sure that you know all the courses required for your major and map out a four-year plan.

  • Familiarize yourself with resources in the library (scholarly periodicals, computerized information search engines, and the Internet). Looking through psychology journals will introduce you to major ideas in the field and help you to feel more comfortable with scholarly writing in psychology

  • Start attending Psychology Department events such as seminars by guest speakers and senior capstone poster presentations.

  • Use career counseling and student services available on campus. The Career Development Center lists services and events.

Sophomore Year

  • Apply for an advisor in the Psychology Department. When you meet with your psychology advisor, review your four-year plan of coursework together.

  • Enroll in PSYC 250: Statistics during your sophomore year. This is a key course in the psychology major and will prepare you for PSYC 300: Research Methods the following semester.

  • Once you meet the prerequisites, begin taking 300-level courses.

  • Once you have taken at least three psychology courses, consider applying for membership in Psi Chi, the National Honors Society in Psychology.

  • Consider becoming a student affiliate member of the American Psychological Association or the American Psychological Society.

  • Create a file of activities and accomplishments that you might be able to use in your resume.

  • Start reading about careers in psychology and related fields.

  • Start your own library of reference works and texts. Keep your books from core courses in psychology, as they will be helpful when studying for the GRE and writing about your academic background on graduate school applications. Professors sometimes give away their extra or unwanted books, so watch for these opportunities.

  • Save term papers, course syllabi, and course descriptions; they will be helpful when you are asked about your academic background in graduate school applications or interviews.

Summer Between Sophomore and Junior Years

  • If you plan to work, try to find a job that is related to your chosen field or that places you in a population with which you might wish to work later (e.g., children, mentally ill individuals). Seek out opportunities for research related work.

  • If you are interested in a career in human services, consider a volunteer placement for a few hours each week in a community agency.

  • Begin studying for the GRE's by purchasing practice software, books or enroll in a preparatory class (e.g., Kaplan, Princeton Review).

First Term Junior Year

  • Try to attend an undergraduate research conference and if possible, present your own paper or poster at one of these meetings.

  • Once you have completed PSYC 300: Research Methods, begin taking 400-level courses in psychology.

  • Investigate research opportunities in the Psychology Department.

  • Familiarize yourself with resources and requirements for graduate programs, including books available for use in the Psychology Department Office.

  • If you know any seniors who are applying to graduate school in psychology, ask them if you can look over their applications and program materials. This will allow you to start thinking about the mechanics of the application process.

  • Start investigating programs in your specific program area (e.g., social, clinical, industrial/organizational, developmental). An excellent resource is Graduate Study in Psychology, which is published annually by the American Psychological Association. Note recommended and required courses for the programs that interest you and try to enroll in these courses.

Second Term Junior Year

  • Register to take the GRE administered during the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year ( Verify if the programs that you are interested require the subject GRE or any additional exams.
  • Continue taking the required upper division courses in your major.

  • Start thinking about faculty who might be good sources for letters of recommendation. It is a good idea to make sure the professors you choose will not be away from campus next fall. If they will be away, ask if they would be willing to write a general letter before they leave.

  • If possible, take additional courses in your area of interest and related fields.

  • If you meet the requirements, consider doing honors research. You will need to begin working on your proposal and identifying a faculty sponsor this semester.

  • Start researching financial aid opportunities for graduate school.

  • Make an appointment with the Registrar's Office for a grad check and meet your academic advisor to make sure you are on track to graduate.

  • Compile of list of the graduate programs to which you will apply. The programs that you select should range from those with admissions requirements that you exceed, to those with requirements you may not completely meet (for example, you meet the GPA requirement, but score below the average GRE for that program). You can determine how competitive particular programs are by checking their application/acceptance ratio and other requirements in Graduate Study in Psychology .

Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

  • If you plan to work, try to find a job that is related to your chosen field or that places you in a population with which you might wish to work later (e.g., children, mentally ill individuals). Seek out opportunities for research related work.

  • If you would like to obtain a career in human services, consider a volunteer placement for a few hours each week in a community agency.

  • Continue studying for the GRE.

  • Research graduate programs in depth. Most programs have application materials online. If the application and or other information is not available on the Internet, call or write to request information and applications from the schools that interest you.

  • Draft an outline for you application statement of purpose.

  • Create or update your resume or vita (academic resume). Give your resume/vita to the individuals who you've asked to write your letters of recommendation -- it will help them to craft a better letter.

  • Check due dates for financial aid forms and fellowship applications. These deadlines may be earlier than those for the graduate school applications.

  • Make your final decisions about where you want to apply.

First Term Senior Year

  • Allot time in your fall schedule to complete graduate school applications. Neatness counts; Be sure you are able to type, rather than write by hand, on all of your application materials, forms, and envelopes.

  • Organize the applications and program materials that you have received.

  • Take the GRE if you have not already done so. This is a good idea even if you plan to take time off before applying to graduate school. Students who take the GRE before leaving college generally do better than those who wait until after graduation.

  • Ask your professors for letters of recommendation and create an outline for them with the necessary information (e.g., application due dates, required information).

  • Order transcripts at least six weeks before each application deadline date. Order an official transcript for yourself, make photocopies of the transcript and include it in your application packet as your unofficial copy.

  • Order your GRE test score reports at least six weeks before each application deadline date. Photocopy your test scores and include them in your application packet as an unofficial copy.

  • Write your essay statements and ask others to review them.

  • Send your applications out 2 to 4 weeks before the deadline.

Second Term Senior Year

  • Follow up with the graduate programs to verify that they received all of the required application materials.

  • You should start to hear about your applications in late March and April for doctoral programs and a little later for Master's programs (due to the later deadlines).

  • Depending on the outcome of your applications and personal financial needs, you may need to apply for loans at this point.

  • You should plan to send official transcripts for spring-term classes to the program that you will attend. Check with the program to see if this is required.

  • If you are not accepted into the programs you selected, consult with faculty about other options. These may include working for a year in the field, re-taking the GRE, and/or applying to programs in related fields.

  • Once you receive notification of acceptance(s), consult with faculty before making your final decision. You may wish to visit these schools if you have not already done so.

  • Notify the program you have chosen as well as the programs that you have decided not to attend.