Posted By Joel W. Hughes, PhD, Kent State University (OH),
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
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In 2017, Psi Chi self-published an edited eBook titled: An Eye on Graduate School: Guidance Through a Successful Application. This electronic-only offering is a compendium of 20 years of the collective wisdom of contributors to Eye on Psi Chi magazine on applying to graduate school. The editors curated, revised, enhanced, and organized 19 key articles into seven sections covering everything from selecting graduate programs to succeeding in graduate school. It is available for purchase on the Psi Chi website, and a 75% members’ discount reduces the price to only $4.99. But do you need it? There are other books for psychology majors on graduate school, and Eye on Psi Chi magazine already contained many of these articles.
I vote “yes,” for the following reasons:
- Multiple perspectives. Many psychology departments host faculty presentations or graduate student panels on applying to graduate school. Often, these are limited by the expertise of the people involved. For example, a clinical neuropsychologist has a lot of advice regarding desirable qualifications and research as it pertains to graduate school in neuropsychology. No one person can address the diversity of graduate school interests represented in the audience. Some of the books on getting into graduate school like Sayette & Norcross’s (2018) excellent Insider’s Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology or my own Psychology Pathways: How Psychology Majors Get Into Graduate School and Launch Careers (Hughes, 2019) represent only one or two people’s advice. In contrast, An Eye on Graduate School collects the advice and guidance of a broad array of experts. Each reader will discern the themes and adopt or dismiss the specific suggestions as they see fit, based on their own situation. Considering multiple perspectives matches how graduate admissions works, as each program, admissions committee, and faculty member will have their own idiosyncratic considerations. Thus, aggregating the collective wisdom of multiple contributors is a strength of this book.
- Unique niche. Some books on getting into graduate school emphasize only a few areas of psychology (e.g., Sayette & Norcross, 2018). Some focus exclusively on doctoral study in psychology, like Sternberg’s (2017) classic Career Paths in Psychology: Where Your Degree Can Take You. The American Psychological Association’s (2007) Getting in: A Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology is broader because it also covers master’s programs, but is becoming a bit dated. Of course, no book can cover everything, so An Eye on Graduate School doesn’t discuss employment with the bachelor’s degree. For that, APA has another resource: Finding Jobs With a Psychology Bachelor’s Degree: Expert Advice for Launching Your Career (Landrum, 2009). Thus, An Eye on Graduate School strikes a nice balance of specificity and breadth, which is needed because, although about 44% of psychology majors often get graduate degrees, only the minority are in psychology (14%), and only 4% are doctoral degrees in psychology (APA, 2018).
- Up-to-date and cost-effective. Do you need An Eye on Graduate School? In my view, the $4.99 price for members settles the case. True, many of these articles were previously featured in Eye on Psi Chi. However, what is your time worth? It would take hours to collect them all, and they wouldn’t be organized into one resource. Also, can you tell what is current and what is outdated? The articles span 20 years, so relying on authors and editors to update, fact-check, and align the material with contemporary APA standards more than justifies the paltry price.
Prospective applicants to graduate school probably need multiple informants including faculty advisors, other graduate students, websites, and books. One of those books should be An Eye on Graduate School: Guidance Through a Successful Application. It’s not perfect, and for example, some chapters may leave you wanting more details. But on the whole, it’s a valuable resource that I’ll be recommending to the undergraduate psychology majors I advise.
American Psychological Association (2007). Getting in: A step-by-step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychological Association (2018). Degree Pathways in Psychology. [Interactive data tool]. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/workforce/data-tools/degrees-pathways
Hughes, J. W. (2019). Pathways in psychology: How psychology majors get into graduate school and launch careers. Kent, OH: Joel Hughes.
Landrum, R. E. (2009). Finding jobs with a psychology bachelor’s degree: Expert advice for launching your career. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Sayette, M. A., & Norcross, J. C. (2018). Insider’s guide to graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology, 2018/2019 edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Sleigh, M. J., Iles, S., & Cannon, B. (Eds.). (2017). An eye on graduate school: Guidance through a successful application. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.
Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.). (2017). Career paths in psychology: Where your degree can take you, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Joel W. Hughes, PhD, is Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University. He is a lifetime member of Psi Chi since March 1991. He blogs at www.psychpathways.com.
Editor's Note. This review was edited for basic APA Style only.
Going to Grad School