Making Yourself a Competitive Candidate
Learning resources for improving your skill set
Gaining Research/Fieldwork Experience
Aside from volunteering your time in a psychology laboratory or applied setting, UCLA offers some wonderful opportunities to earn course credit. Research assistantships and internships can help show that you value learning inside and outside of the classroom.
Conferences: Present Your Research
- UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) - Held at UCLA each May. Present your research conducted in the field of Psychology such as Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, Cross-Cultural, Developmental, Forensic, Health, Measurement, Personality, Social Psychology, or other related Behavioral Sciences in paper or poster sessions.
- UCLA Science Poster Day - Held at UCLA each May.
Journals: Publish Your Research
- UCLA Undergraduate Psychology Journal - The Undergraduate Psychology Journal (UPJ) is an on-line refereed journal published by the undergraduate students of UCLA's chapter of Psi Chi. They are particularly interested in publishing new departures and cross-disciplinary psychological research.
- UCLA Undergraduate Science Journal - Provides an opportunity for undergraduates to present and publish research findings.
Letters of Recommendation
- Advice from the Social Psychology Network
- Asking your faculty for a letter of recommendation
- Advice from UC Berkeley's Career Center
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Other Tests
Almost every graduate school requires certain entrance examinations. Although the most widely used test is the GRE, please refer to each school for specific requirements.
- GRE - Information on both the General exam and the Subject Test in Psychology.
- Miller Analogies Test - Check with each school (not widely required).
Exam Preparation Assistance:
- UCLA Career Center - Offers workshops on grad school entrance exams
- Kaplan Test Preparation
- Princeton Review Test Preparation
Statement of Purpose
The best assistance and feedback on your personal statement for graduate school comes from your current faculty advisor or graduate student mentor. If you are assisting in a research lab or doing fieldwork, ask your supervisor to proofread and comment on your personal statement.
Low GPA/GRE: Prove Yourself in Other Ways
- Compensate with additional relevant experience (e.g., Psychology research/fieldwork), leading to stronger letters of recommendation
- Email potential advisors at the desired universities. If they know who you are (and your experience) when reviewing new applications, they may help.
- Apply to additional second tier schools/programs (less strict requirements).
- Consider completing a terminal Master's Degree program before applying to a Ph.D. program. Check with individual schools for degrees offered.