Admissions Resources

Graduate Admissions in Psychology - Links

Prepared by Dr. Foster-Clark

The following articles and the summaries I've extracted all come from recent issues of Eye on Psi Chi, the journal of the National Honor Society in Psychology, and are available from their website ( by following the links provided.

General References

The following general references may also be useful:

American Psychological Association (2016). Graduate study in psychology 2017. Washington, DC: Author. 

Sayette, M. A.,& Norcross, J. C. (2018). Insider's guide to graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology: 2018/2019 edition. New York: The Guilford Press. 

Social Psychology Network (1997). Ranking of clinical psychology programs in the U.S. and Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2005, from

U.S. News & World Report (2004). America's best graduate schools 2006: Health: Clinical psychology (doctorate). Retrieved July 14, 2005, from

Applying to Graduate School in Psychology

Applying to Graduate School in Psychology: A Professor’s Perspective 

by Whitney M. Herge, MA; Sherilynn F. Chan, BA; Valentina A. Podkowirow;and Betty Lai, PhD, MST


Applying to graduate school in psychology can seem like a daunting process. Given the extremely low acceptance rates (approximately 32% for PsyD programs and 7% for PhD programs), it is not surprising that many prospective applicants have questions regarding the application process generally, as well as specific queries regarding ways to make themselves more appealing and successful candidates (Kohout & Wicherski, 2010). In an effort to help guide prospective applicants, we conducted an interview series with Annette M. La Greca, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University of Miami, and an expert in the fields of peer victimization, youth internalizing problems, youth trauma exposure, and pediatric diabetes. Dr. La Greca graciously provided her opinion regarding the psychology graduate program application process, as well as specific tips for interested students.

Citation:Herge, W. M, Chan, S. F., Podkowirow, V. A., & Lai, B. (2012, Winter). Applying to graduate school: A professor's Perspective. Eye on Psi Chi, 16 (2),16-17.

Applying to Graduate School in Clinical Psychology

Applying to Graduate School in Clinical Psychology: Advice for the Aspiring Applicant

by Katherine A. Schoeneman and Thomas J. Schoeneman - University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Schoeneman, K.); Lewis & Clark College (Schoeneman, T.)


Applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology is a time-intensive and often mystifying process. This article outlines the steps involved in successful applications: gaining necessary experience, choosing programs, submitting applications, and following up on submitted materials. Prior to the application process, students should focus on coursework and grades as well as research and work experiences. The application process should begin about 18 months before the date of enrollment. Several sources and strategies are given that are helpful in selecting programs to apply to. We also describe strategies for collecting the relevant application materials, including application forms, GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, a vita, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Following-up to be sure that all materials have arrived is essential.

Citation: Schoeneman, K.A., & Schoeneman, T. J. (2006, Winter). Applying to graduate school in clinical psychology: Advice for the aspiring applicant. Eye on Psi Chi, 10 (2). 

Clinical Versus Counseling Psychology: What's the Diff?

Clinical Versus Counseling Psychology: What's the Diff?

by John C. Norcross - University of Scranton


The majority of psychology students applying to graduate school are interested in clinical work, and approximately half of all graduate degrees in psychology are awarded in the subfields of clinical and counseling psychology (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000). But deciding on a health care specialization in psychology gets complicated. The urgent question facing each student--and the question frequently posed to academic advisors--is "What are the differences between clinical psychology and counseling psychology?" Or, as I am asked in graduate school workshops, "What's the diff?"

Citation: Norcross, J. C. (2000, Fall). Clinical versus counseling psychology: What's the diff? Eye on Psi Chi, 5(1), 20-22.

The Curriculum Vita

The Curriculum Vita: A Student's Guide to Preparation

by R. Eric Landrum - Boise State University


What is a curriculum vita (CV)? Roughly translated, it means "academic life." A CV chronicles your professional, academic life: it is a comprehensive listing of your accomplishments. The preparation of a CV differs in important ways from the preparation of a resume. For instance, a resume usually provides a brief synopsis of a person's work history and a summary of skills and abilities. Also, a resume is typically limited to one or two pages. A CV can be a longer document without page limitations. The CV tracks your entire professional and academic history, including academic performance, memberships in associations, professional experiences, research interests, presentations and publications, and references. This article includes a sample template vita that students can follow in the creation of their own CV.

Citation: Landrum, R. E. (2005, Winter). The curriculum vita: A student's guide to preparation. Eye on Psi Chi, 9(2), 28-29, 42.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE Test Day: A Student's Odyssey

by: Matthew Sather, Boise State University (ID) 


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is widely regarded as the gatekeeper for entrance into the graduate study of psychology (Sternberg & Williams, 1997). Setting aside the current debate as to whether the GRE is predictive of future performance in graduate education, the exam continues to be the main tool available to admission committees to sort applicants (Sternberg & Williams, 1997). U.S. News and World Report (2012) stated that an estimated 700,000 people take the GRE annually worldwide. In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association Center for Workforce Studies (2010), 96% of the responding 338 doctoral programs required GRE scores for admission. Similarly, 81% of the 176 master’s programs that responded also required GRE scores (Pagano, Wicherski, & Kohout, 2010). 

Citation: Sather, M. (2014, Winter). GRE test day: A student's odyssey. Eye on Psi Chi, 18(2), 10-12.

Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School

Building Relationships With Professors: A Roadmap to Obtaining Strong Letters of Recommendation

by Amber M. Anthenien, Portland State University (OR)


If you are preparing to apply to graduate school, you may have noticed how important it is to make connections with faculty. This is a process best started at the beginning of your college career, but if you are preparing at the start your senior year, all is not lost. This article aims to provide students with a road map for establishing contact with faculty. It will provide an overview of the "nuts and bolts” behind formal correspondence and meeting preparation.

Most graduate applications require at least three letters of recommendation. It is important these are strong letters from professionals who can speak to your abilities as a student. These should include abilities such as research experience, public speaking, writing, critical thinking, community involvement, volunteer work, enthusiasm for psychology, and dedication to studies. Ideally, students should ask for letters at least six weeks prior to the deadline; however, around four months is ideal.

Citation: Anthenien, A. M. (2012, Summer). Building relationships with professors: A roadmap to obtaining strong letters of recommendation. Eye on Psi Chi, 16(4), 10-12.

How to Properly Request Letters of Recommendation From Your Professors: Ask, Don't Tell

by John Gomez, PhD, Our Lady of the Lake University (TX)


One asks for a favor, one does not tell a professor what to do by simply dropping off a recommendation form. It is a common mistake to assume that professors will write a strong letter if you simply drop off a recommendation form in their mailbox or e-mail them a web link. If you have not confirmed a professor’s willingness to write your letter, the person may not follow through, or even worse, the person may write a negative letter—disastrous situations you might have avoided if you had talked with the professor first. A strong and effective letter of recommendation is the end product of a student-faculty partnership that you initiate. This article discusses how to properly request letters of recommendation—and how not to request them—with specific instructions and suggestions from some experienced professors.

Citation: Gomez, J. (2016, Spring). How to properly request letters of recommendation from your professors: Ask, don't tell. Eye on Psi Chi, 20 (3), 12-15. 

Personal Goal Statement

Organizing Your Personal Statement: An Outline to Get You Started

by Merry Sleigh, PhD, Winthrop University (SC)


One of the biggest challenges when applying to graduate school is writing the personal statement, particularly given that the personal statement is one of the most important criteria for graduate admission (Norcross, Kohout, & Wicherski, 2006). Applicants have a restricted amount of space to describe their past accomplishments, future plans, and interest in a particular graduate program. Despite impressive credentials and experiences, students often don’t know how to get started. As suggested below, getting started can begin with organizing the information that needs to go into your personal statement.

Citation: Sleigh, M. (2009, Summer). Organizing your personal statement: An outline to get you started. Eye on Psi Chi, 13(4), 17-19.