This page is meant to be a guide to the process of searching for and applying to grad school. Many of the things listed on this page have been recommended by professors, grad students, and students who have recently gone through the process.

1) Go to
-This page is for those who don't have any grad schools in mind and want to do a grad school search. The site allows you to search for graduate programs by subject and search programs by school. You can search by degree levels (Masters, Doctorate, etc.), by location of school (specific sections of the US or even outside of the country), or even by online programs. Many recommend beginning this search in the spring of your Junior year or summer before your Senior year. Applications may have early deadlines, so it's good to start as early as possible in this process.

2) Once you have some programs in mind, look to see if they require the GREs.
-Most grad level psychology programs require that you take the GREs, either the general or subject. You need to find out which one you need to take, because it is usually not necessary to take both.

      • Once you figure out which test you need to take, get your study materials. Some people take the Kaplan course over the summer or fall. This course is designed to teach students the ins and outs of the GREs and help them develop strategies for taking the test. However, the program is costly and time consuming. If this is not for you, go to your nearest bookstore and check out the test book section. Many students have recommended the Princeton Review and and Kaplan GRE study guides. These books offer strategies, tell you the setup of the exam, have practice tests and many even include interactive cds that follow along with the book.

-DO NOT CRAM FOR THE GRE!!!! Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to study- this means weeks, even months not days! The things you are being tested on are not extremely easy, you will need to study.

-Sign up for the GREs ahead of time because spots fill up fast. Make sure you choose a time that you are confident you will be ready by. You can do this on, but be careful because if you cancel your test you have to pay an extra $40! It's already $115 to take the test, so make sure you're prepared for it. You can re-take the GREs but you have to pay every time, and many professors say that unless you do some intense studying, most people do not improve their score by much. So make sure you are prepared as much as possible and make your first time your last.

-After you complete the test, you can choose to send your scores to 3 different colleges. Any additional schools you want to send your scores to after that are an additional charge and you need to send a request in on a paper form available on their website or in the reported score that is mailed to you.

3) Attend the Grad School Lecture and Fair at Canisius
-Every year in the fall semester Canisius hosts a grad school fair in Koessler. Numerous schools send representatives and information about their schools. Students can walk around and talk to people from the schools and get information on their programs and can even sign up to be on their mailing list.

-Also in the fall semester is the grad school lecture that Dr. Sanders of the Psychology department gives talks about the process of applying to grad school and gives her advice and recommendations on everything from writing personal statements, to asking for letters of recommendation, to what degree programs students should apply to. She has many handouts on these topics, so if you can't attend the lecture, stop by the Psychology Office and try to get them there.

4) Letters of Recommendation
-Once you have decided which schools you are applying to, check to see how many letters of recommendation you will be needing. Get in mind who you are going to ask to write your letters and go talk to these people in person. Make sure they are willing to write you a GOOD letter of recommendation. Also make sure that you give them enough time in advance because professors are busy with classes and writing other letters. Let them know ahead of time when you will be asking for the letters and what your due dates are.

-Many of the professors might not know everything about you, so they recommend that students requesting letters fill out the RecommendationLetter worksheet. Students can use this worksheet to tell the professors about their career goals, their academic history, the classes they have had with that professor and much more.

-Once you have filled out the worksheet, put together a package for each person you are requesting letters from. In this package, you want to include all the instructions regarding your letters. For each letter from each school, you want to include a stamped, addressed envelope for the letter to go in. Also include directions as to where the letter is going: if the professor needs to send it out or if the sealed envelope is coming back to you. Lastly, make sure you include when you need the letter by!

-Send thank you notes to everyone who wrote you letters in order to show your appreciation for their help in your application process.

5) Requesting Transcripts
-All schools will require an official transcript from all undergrad institutions you have attended. At Canisius, you can request your transcript in Bagen at the Registrar's Office. They will give you a paper to fill out for each school you are applying to. On there you can choose if you want them to directly mail out the transcript or if it will be coming back to you in a sealed envelope. Some schools want you to send them all your material together in 1 envelope, while others may want things to come directly from your institutions. You may have different instructions for each school

-If you attended any other colleges or took credits in high school, you will need to go to the school's website and see what their instructions are for requesting transcripts.

6) Curriculum Vitae
-Most students applying to grad school will need to make a curriculum vitae. This is similar to a resume, only it is more academically involved and is used for applying to grad school. You can find layouts for this on various different websites or you can obtain a hard copy of a real one used from Dr. Sanders at her grad school lecture.

-Things included in a curriculum vitae include: name and address, GPA, GPA in your major classes, volunteer activities, internship experience, clubs, jobs, and extracurricular activities, career goals, and any skills/talents related to the field you are going into. This is the place where you really want to brag about yourself and show how well-suited you are for the program you are applying to.

7) Personal Statement/Essays
-In the application process almost every school will require either a personal statement or some kind of essay(s). The personal statement is an opportunity for you to show off your intellectual ability and academic/writing skills. Make sure you answer the question asked clearly and completely, following all of the guidelines of the English language.

-Essays are usually on specific topics, so make sure you answer the question that you are being asked. You are also given length guidelines most of the time, do not go over what you are told because an essay reader might stop reading an essay that is too long. Don't try to overuse big words, keep your answer clear and direct.

-It is a good idea to have a professor who is willing look over your essays and personal statement. They can give you advice on what you have written and correct any grammatical mistakes you may have made.

8) Save Your Money $$
-Applying to grad school can be an expensive process. You have to pay to take the GRE, send extra scores to schools, and for applications. Some schools may only require a $20 application fee, while others may charge $50 and higher. When applying, check online with each school and see if they offer a discounted price for applying online.

9) Deadlines
-All schools have different deadlines for different programs. Some programs have earlier deadlines than other programs at the same school. Make sure you have the correct deadline for you program and send your application in early. Do not wait to mail it the day before it is due, because schools may have already been reviewing applications and making decisions. The earlier you send in the application, the better.

10) Look into Financial Aid and Assistantships
-A lot of schools require that you apply separately for scholarships and assistantships. Look into this and apply as soon as you can. You want to get your name in before anyone else.
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