Getting into grad school


Contributing Reporter

Applying to graduate school can be complicated and challenging. Over 40 Oakland University students attended a seminar to get tips on those challenges on Saturday, Jan. 24.

It was hosted by OU’s Department of Psychology and Psi Chi, a National Honors Society for psychology.

The program was oriented towards psychology majors, but there were helpful tips for students in any major. Dr. Andrea Kozak, an OU psychology professor, outlined what’s needed to apply: grade point average, Graduate Record Exam, recommendation letters, vita and personal statement.

Kozak advised students to take higher level seminar courses as undergraduates and “avoid the fluff classes.” She said that the difficulty of the undergraduate courses a student takes does play a role in the admissions process.

OU psychology professor Dr. Debra McGinnis recommended taking six months to a year to prepare for the GRE, which assesses analytical writing, verbal and quantitative skills, by using sources like preparation books or

Kozak said to submit three or four recommendation letters, and that letters from employers are inappropriate “unless it is relevant to your field.” She said to try professors the student worked closely with.

A vita is an extended, detailed résumé. It documents a person’s academic and professional background.

McGinnis advised that students treat the personal statement more like a professional statement, explaining the applicant’s interests and future goals. She said it’s important to tailor the personal statement to each school.

Both Kozak and McGinnis stressed that getting into graduate school is a challenge, but should be seen as an opportunity for adventure.

Nick Wrobel, a senior psychology major, said he wants to go into industrial organization psychology. He plans to get a master’s and maybe a Ph.D. 

“It’s competitive [to get into graduate school] especially with psychology,” he said.

Psi Chi is hosting several programs this semester that will focus on each of the different aspects of applying to graduate school. Their next event, “How to Succeed on the GRE,” is on Thursday, Jan. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Lake Huron Room in the Oakland Center.