Montana State University • On this or a separate page(s), please provide a clear, concise 1-2 page essay summarizing your background in psychology (or related field), career objectives, research experience, research interests, and why you are applying to Montana State University’s M. S. program in Applied Psychology. Please be sure to read and sign the signature page at the end of this document. Colorado State University A statement of your research interests which highlight areas of research that you would like to pursue during your graduate training, specific faculty members with whom you would like to work, and your previous or current research experience • A sample of your scientific writing ability such as a senior honors thesis, term paper from a psychology course, laboratory report from an experimental course, or some similar material University of Northern Colorado • Please answer the following questions in a 2-3 page essay. Your responses will provide the MA Selection Committee with a more clear impression of your professional goals and interests. If accepted, what are your professional goals upon completion of this program? Explain how these goals developed. • To conduct your thesis research you will need to request supervision from a faculty member with relevant expertise. It may be necessary for you to modify, or deviate from, you first choice interest area in order to conduct a project that fits within a faculty member’s ongoing research program.
With this in mind, please review the area of specialization and titles of recent publications or presentations of individual psychology faculty, which can be linked to at http://www. unco. du/psychology/index. html before answering the following questions. . What special interest area in psychology would you want to investigate in depth during your M. A. program? What experiences have you had that have given rise to these special interests? How are your specialized interests related to your professional goals described above? Which faculty members(s) have research interests closest to your own? . Describe any relevant professional accomplishments/awards (e. g. , publications, professional presentations, research projects, volunteer experiences, etc. ). University of Denver Please prepare approximately 2-3 pages of typewritten, double-spaced autobiographical material which will be considered confidential. If available include a copy of your vita and E-mail address. (Please be aware that the review committees may contain graduate student representatives. ) • Indicate the source of your interest in psychology and the reasons why you wish to pursue graduate studies in your chosen area of specialization. If you have had practical experience (work or volunteer) in psychology, please describe it. If you have been in another areas of academic study or employment, discuss your change.
When and how was your attention directed to our graduate program? Indicate how the specific features of our training program would facilitate your professional goals, and indicate which faculty’s research interests represent a match with your own training goals. What are your career plans? What would you ultimately like to do? University of Colorado • Clinical program: Your autobiographical sketch should answer the following questions: o What is the source of your interest in psychology? o Why do you want to pursue graduate studies in clinical rather than another area of psychology? o Why do you want a clinical Ph. D. ather than a Psy. D. degree? o Why are you applying to the University of Colorado? o Which two (2) research mentors have you selected at the University of Colorado and why? o What has been your previous research experience? Provide letter(s) of recommendation from your research supervisor(s) with their phone number(s). o What has been your previous practical experience, paid or volunteer? Provide a letter of recommendation from your clinical supervisor. • All other programs: Your autobiographical sketch should address the following items, numbering your answers as listed below: o Describe your previous research experience.
Why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in your chosen area of specialization? o Why are you applying to the University of Colorado? o Which two (2) research mentors have you selected at the University of Colorado and why? Colorado State University Applied Social Applicants • A statement of your research interests which highlight areas of research that you would like to pursue during your graduate training, specific faculty members with whom you would like to work, and your previous or current research experience. Behavioral Neuroscience Applicants A statement of interest which describes how you became interested in behavioral neuroscience, your training goals in our program, and why you are pursuing a career in behavioral neuroscience. You are also encouraged to be as specific as possible in describing your research interests and to indicate the faculty member or members with whom you wish to affiliate. Cognitive Applicants • A statement of interest that describes how you became interested in cognitive psychology, your training goals in our program, and why you are pursuing a career in cognitive psychology.
Because we follow a mentorship model, you are encouraged to be as explicit as possible in indicating your research interests and the faculty member or members who whom you wish to be affiliated. Counseling Applicants • A personal statement, no longer than two or three typewritten pages. Write a biographical sketch highlighting your interest in psychology and your previous or current involvement in research, or applied psychology work. The Selection Committee is concerned with how your interest in counseling psychology developed, what you want from a graduate program, and an assessment of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Industrial/Organizational Applicants • A statement of how you became interested in I/O psychology , what you want to gain from our graduate program, and why you are interested in pursuing a career in I/O psychology. University of Utah • Personal statement summarizing your specific research and career goals, the reasons for your interest in our program (including discussion of faculty members with whom you hope to work and the fit between their research interests and your own), your prior educational and work experience, and any other appropriate information.
This letter is your chance to demonstrate that (1) you have the prior experience necessary to begin graduate training in Psychology; (2) you have well-defined research interests and know how to communicate them clearly; (3) there is an excellent fit between your specific goals and interests and those of Utah’s program and faculty. Supplemental Instructions for Writing Your Personal Statement: Applicants to the Clinical Program Only • The personal statement is a very important part of your application.
In addition to basic academic qualifications, we are vitally interested in ensuring that our students are committed to and satisfied with both the professional and research aspects of their training. There is no template for writing a successful personal statement, and we are mostly interested in whatever information you feel is important to include. Nevertheless, the following information is often very useful in our admissions’ decisions. As you consider these issues, keep in mind that we realize incoming students ary in how well articulated their interests and research ideas are. We simply want information that will allow us to assess the fit between yours interest and our areas of concentration or expertise. We appreciate your time in preparing this statement. a. pertinent academic, clinical, and research experiences, and ultimate career goals. b. Why you are applying to a scientist-professional program in Clinical Psychology rather than (or in addition to) other forms of training in the mental health field (such as psychiatry, social work, professional schools, etc. . c.
The type of clinical setting(s), populations of interest, and modes of service delivery you envision working in either now or in the future, and how the role you have described is important to you. d. Research topics you would like to pursue in graduate school and beyond, with some explanation of how you developed this research interest. e. Any possible ties of your interests or proposed research studies to the ongoing research programs of current faculty members.
Weave into the letter • Any academic achievements or accomplishments • Specific learning experiences that demonstrate your motivation and inspiration for continued study and/or research. o independent study courses or research with professors o teaching assistantships o undergraduate research conference presentations o published work o laboratory experiences o research internships o seminar courses o honors thesis o relevant education abroad o independent writing o academic honors and/or very closely related work experience. Discuss in detail: • Qualifications that relate to your academic goal Special academic and research experiences. Explain special projects or research • Indicates ability to explore or master certain skills or particular knowledge about your academic field • Illustrates to the committee that you have o the initiative and ability to develop ideas o the capacity to work through problems independently o the determination to achieve your goals. Mention special skills • Laboratory techniques • Computer skills • Foreign language proficiency • Advanced quantitative and statistical expertise.
Explain Specifically why you wish to attend their particular program. • Specifically how the department’s graduate curriculum matches your short and long term academic and career goals. • Show evidence of your investigation of their program, its faculty and their research, and their departmental resources and facilities • Indicate how your academic and intellectual interests form a match with the research interests of one or more faculty in the program or department. Tell the Graduate Committee • That you are qualified and motivated • That you will be successful in graduate study and research
Summarize briefly • Why you believe you possess the experience and skills to be admitted to their program• Direct and straightforward manner • No contrivances or gimmicks • Place central points early • Use active, not passive voice • Do not use words such as rather, quite, somewhat, fairly, pretty much • Be positive o emphasize strengths o explain anomalies • Be accurate and precise redundancy • Be organized, orderly, specific and concise. • Use examples where needed • Keep the statement to one or two typed pages. Use transitions that tie each paragraph to the next. • Do not assume that the committee will understand everything. o Explain course titles and research projects where necessary Guidelines to Help You Create Your Personal Statement ?Many graduate programs require applicants to submit a personal statement (or statement of intent, or autobiographical statement, or letter of intent). This activity is becoming more and more important in the admissions process. It allows you to provide valuable background information about yourself, and it also provides the graduate admissions committee with a writing sample.
The requirements for completing this task are about as varied as most graduate programs—there is not a uniform method or procedure to follow. Hence, you need to make sure that you completely satisfy the requirements of each school when you are preparing your personal statement. Basically what you are being asked for: • A statement of your interests in psychology and how you came to have those interests • What your goals and ambitions in the field of psychology are • How the program to which you are applying can help you to achieve those goals. Osborne (1996) offered some valuable tips and feedback for those preparing personal statements. As you write and rewrite your personal statement, try to keep these tips in mind: •
Do the personal details I have included in the statement seem relevant to my ability to be a successful graduate student? [If no, then you may want to edit those details. ] • Do the personal details I reveal demonstrate characteristics of my “self” that reflect maturity, adaptability, and motivation? • Do the personal details convey a convincing portrayal of my abilities to succeed in this school’s graduate program? Try to focus on particular educational and occupational experiences that could account for your interests, rather than personal experiences. Why? Add some detachment, add emotional distance. With goals and ambitions, try to be as specific as possible. You need to be more specific that “I just want to learn–I’m open minded” but not too specific, or you won’t be a match at very many schools. The “trick” is to lob your volley—you have some general areas of interest, but are open to the types of topics that your graduate professors are studying.
Don’t limit yourself to only one faculty member—faculty leave, have too many students, etc. ?”Fit with faculty” is more important than most students think. You have to do your homework and find out what the faculty are studying (literature from university web sites, PsycInfo, etc. ). Personalize each letter to the graduate program to show that you have done your homework. ?Keith-Spiegel and Wiederman (2000) found that in the personal statement instructions that they examined, 13 themes emerged. One point to be stressed—do not write a single one-size-fits-all letter for all schools.
Do your homework, and give the committee the answers it wants, not a generic statement that vaguely addresses the school’s information needs. To help personalize your responses, you may wish to closely examine the 13 themes listed below. Also, addressing these issues should help you focus on why you want to go to graduate school, what you want to accomplish with your degree, and how best to get from here to there. Career plans (Tell us about your plans; What do you see yourself doing five to ten years from now? ) General interest areas (What are your academic interests? )
Research experiences (Have you had any research experiences? What did you do as a research assistant? ) Academic objectives (Why are you interested in graduate study? What can our graduate program do for you? ) Clinical or other field experience/practicum/internship (Tell us about any these experiences. What types of settings or populations did you work with? ) Academic background and achievements (What should we know about your academic work? Are your GRE scores and GPA representative of your ability? ) What do you see in us (Why did you choose us? What can you do for our graduate program? Motivation (Why did you choose graduate study? What events shaped your current career aspirations? ) Personal material (Tell us about yourself. What do you think we should know about you? Everyone has weaknesses; we ask that you discuss yours as candidly as possible. ) Autobiography (Provide a brief biographical sketch. Tell us a bit about your background. ) Specific graduate faculty of interest (Cite two faculty members who most closely represent your own interests in psychology. Whom would you like to work with in our graduate program? ) Anything else we should know? Can be a dangerous question—don’t offer too much! ) Special skills (Languages known, mathematics or computer skills) Final Instructions and Tips: Don’t start: I was born in a small town in the West… or…I want to help people (too cliche). Make sure that your materials are presented appropriately. No typos, no stains, no handwriting. Have somebody proofread for you (spell-checkers don’t catch all typos). Use plain white paper of good quality. Don’t get fancy–print with a dark, easy to read font. Single-spaced, 1 inch margins, APA format where applicable.
Prefer one side of one page–no more than two pages, one piece of paper (back to back). Always remember to follow the instructions of the school—exactly—even if they contradict the suggestions just made. One final note on this topic—be sure to answer the questions exactly. Graduate admissions committee members will actually read your personal statement, so make sure that you answer the questions that you are asked. Answer completely and concisely. If you can’t follow the directions for applying to graduate school, what does that say about your chances for success once in graduate school?