It is never too early to start prepping for the next clinical psychology PhD application cycle. Below are the top 10 things you could be doing now to increase your changes of being admitted to start graduate school in 2015.
1. Seek meaningful research experience if you don’t have it already, preferably in your interest area. Meaningful research experience means that you are involved in all parts of the research process – project conception, grant applications, IRB applications, data collection, data analysis, write-up/presentation. If you are not getting meaningful experience or you are not working on your interest topic, search for a new research job.
2. Retake the GREs. If your GRE scores where below 160 on each section or below 700 on the Psychology Subject test, you might benefit from retaking the GREs.
3. Read scientific studies. Not only will this help you figure out what your research interests are, but it will also make you sound like you know what you are talking about on your personal statement and your interviews.
4. Look for programs to apply to. One of the easiest ways to increase your chances of admission is applying to programs that are good fits. Keep looking for potential programs so you don’t miss any opportunities.
5. Network. Get coffee with any graduate students / professors you know so you can pick their brains. They have applied to graduate programs before, so they will probably have good advice to offer. If you are able to maintain good relationships with them, they might even be willing to help you with your statement of purpose
6. Work on your Statement of Purpose. It is never too early to work on your statement of purpose. Expect to go through many drafts.
7. Work on your CV. Think of ways you can enhance your CV between now and the fall. And work on making your CV look professional.
8. Ask your mentor to lead a project. See if your mentor allows you to head a project that will result in a poster presentation / publication.
9. Sign up for a conference in the fall. Sign up for a conference that will allow you to meet people who you will be applying to work with. This will greatly increase your chances of getting an interview.
10. Sign up to be a member of a professional organization. This will add a line on your CV, and will allow you to learn more about the major concerns in your field.