5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Applying to Graduate School
If you are interested graduate school for psychology, counseling, or social work check out the 5 things I wish I'd known before applying to graduate school. Applying to graduate school to become a therapist is very competitive. It can be scary and even intimidating. Take it one step at a time and breathe. This should be an exciting time in your life and hopefully these 5 tips make it a little easier.
1) Research Your Programs
When I was narrowing down the schools and programs I wish I would have looked more carefully into what internships were offered, the licensure I would receive, and the number of students that are in each program. This would have allowed me to better choose a program that was best suited for myself and my career goals.
2) Understand the difference between an LPA, and LPC, and LCSW, etc.
Different programs prepare their students to become licensed as a specific type of therapist. I did not fully understand the difference between these licenses and until after I applied to multiple programs. There are many lincense specific nuances: supervision requirements, how competitive the program may be, scope, and boundaries practice.
3) Meditate, meditate, meditate
Before I began the application process, I had a professor explain to me how important self-care and daily meditation is while applying to graduate school. The four or five months I spent filling out and perfecting my application to each program were most definitely the most stressful days of my life. I wish I had taken this advice a little bit more seriously. I may have enjoyed the experience more.
4) Create an organized spreadsheet of due dates and requirements
Every program has a priority deadline and demands specific requirements (e.g. 2 or 3 letters of reference, research experience, 2 separate personal statements) and it is extremely important that you stay organized. It will help your process go smoother and create less stress in such a stress-provoking time period.
5) Ask for help
More than anything, I wish I would have reached out to more graduate students and professors for help. Most graduate students don’t mind helping and offering advice. Send them a copy of your personal statement for a quick read or ask them their opinion of programs. A little help can go a long way.