WHAT’S NEXT: TIPS FOR PSYCHOLOGY UNDERGRADS!
I’m getting my B.A. in Psychology....what now?
It’s nearly Thanksgiving and Term Break, which will leave you with
the inevitable question at family gatherings: what are you going to do What Can I Do?
next? Maybe you don’t have an answer for this and the mere thought of
this interaction with each one of your relatives gives you so much
anxiety you need a Xanax, but have no fear, it is November - the perfect * Research Assistant
time to start making decisions about what’s next come May 2010! The * Human Resources
transition from college to the “real-world” is intimidating, but if you Assistant
prepare and plan to the best of your ability, the transition can be quite
* Child Care Worker
* B.A. Substance Use
Graduate school applications are due soon (usually Dec. 1, Jan., 1,
(PhD) or March 1 for Master’s programs), so if you think you’d be
interested in furthering your education, make sure you give your * B.A. Level Case
recommenders plenty of time to write a thoughtful, personal letter. Is Manager
your vita the best representation of your academic and professional * Vocational Assistance
accomplishments it can be? Is your personal statement free of
* Non-proﬁt social
grammatical errors, concise yet explanatory, and reﬂective of the fact
that you are a good match for that particular graduate program? Have
you sent your GRE scores to the proper schools/departments? Have * Shelter assistant
you written thank you letters to the professors who have written you * Admissions Counselor
letters of recommendation? * Academic Support
If you aim to ﬁnd employment, do you know what options are Services
available to you? Where do you ﬁnd out about local agencies that may * Resident Director
be hiring? Have you been able to highlight your “transferable job
skills,” coursework, and major experience on your resume? Is it a * Program Advocate for
polished, one-page representation of all the exciting things you have Persons with Disabilities
done in your four years at Hiram College? Do you have a solid cover * Entry level
letter than you can easily edit for speciﬁc positions to which you are management
applying? * AmeriCorps
Have you started networking? Have you joined LinkedIn? Have
you thought about creating a personal website to highlight your skills?
CLINICAL, COUNSELING OR SOMETHING ELSE? M.A., M.S., M.ED., OR PH.D?
If you are considering graduate school, be aware psychology, evolutionary
of the diﬀerent types of programs you might apply to psychology, school psychology,
and know your future career goals as well. For social work, and educational
example, if you are interested in doing research, a psychology. I would
Master’s degree in counseling may not be as recommend a book published
beneﬁcial as a Master’s degree in Clinical or by the American Psychological
Experimental Psychology. If your grades are not as Association: Getting In: A
strong in undergrad, but you hope to go on to get a Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining
Ph.D. eventually, consider a Master’s in general Admission to Graduate School
psychology to improve your grades while gaining in Psychology. Also check out
experience in the ﬁeld. Also be aware of programs APA’s Graduate Study in Psychology if you plan on
such as industrial psychology, developmental taking a year or two oﬀ.
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WHAT’S NEXT: TIPS FOR PSYCHOLOGY UNDERGRADS!
JOB SEARCH TIPS
I would say the two best ways to get jobs in the indeed.com and simplyhired.com which listed a
ﬁeld are via networking and careful internet searches. posting that was put in the Syracuse newspaper. In
This means starting the process early - as soon as the ad it listed a researcher to apply to directly,
NOW! My job search began in November from which resulted in a phone interview with her, a
conversations I had with a researcher at a conference phone interview with her staﬀ, and then ﬁnally an in-
I attended. She put me in contact with someone person interview. I would also recommend LinkedIn.
who was interested in hiring a project manager, and If you are involved with any professional
then began a series of informational interviews which organizations, check their websites as well. Also, the
ended with a job oﬀer. I also had luck emailing American Psychological Association of Graduate
researchers who spoke to my class/Master’s program Students oﬀers many list-serves which advertise
and she circulated my cover letter and vita among her positions from time to time - usually for Ph.D. level
place of employment - this resulted in two interviews positions, but you may get a sense of what medical
and a couple of other contacts regarding potential centers might need BA level research assistants. In
employment options. I would also check the addition, check out NIH’s website and training
websites of major research universities and apply opportunities for post-baccalaureate - especially if
directly through Human Resources. For example, I you have worked with primates and would be
applied on-line to a position at Yale School of interested in doing so again. I applied for anxiety
Medical and the West Haven VA Medical Center and disorders research and got an email inviting me in to
the next day I was called to schedule an interview. In interview with a researcher who focused on primates
some centers this works better than others - it may because that is a rare experience for BA level RA’s to
be dependent upon the system of that speciﬁc have. And...word of mouth! Let EVERYONE know
institution. Finally, I found my job by subscribing to you are looking for a job!
HIGHLIGHT THE HIRAM EXPERIENCE!
Think about all unique in someway? Did you take Writing Assistant or Teaching
the things you neuroscience and learn how to Assistant? Were you a student
have done at map fMRI images? Think about manager at the Dining Hall, an
Hiram College all your classes and your Student Caller? Did you write for
that you can experiences - as a Hiram grad with The Advance? Did you travel
highlight on a B.A. in psychology, you should abroad? Can you speak another
your resume/vita. Can you put a have learned to write an APA language? Are you proﬁcient in
presentation or publication on paper, prepare a research proposal, HTML or other computer
your vita? Can you highlight your make a professional presentation, languages? Think broadly and
training in SPSS (believe me - not and learn basic statistical analysis think about how each of your
as many students have experience and map fMRI images if you took unique skills can be beneﬁcial to a
in this as you think!)? Can you neuroscience in your sophomore potential employer.
highlight leadership, management, or junior year. Remember to use the
or a breadth of course work? Did What about extra-curricular Education that Works Conference
you minor in something that activities? Were you a member of in February as a way of meeting
makes your psychology major FISH, a Resident Assistant, a people and networking!
IF YOU THINK OF QUESTIONS, ASK!
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any further questions or
want me to review of a cover letter, personal statement, resume, etc. Or, if you just have any
questions about searching for a job/internship/potential salaries in the ﬁeld, let me know as
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