Preparing for grad school had my anxiety at an all-time high, from finding schools to taking the GRE I felt like I was drowning in information with no lifeguard in sight. Since I found a process to find schools that made me feel better, I thought I would share.
Step 1-Pick locations
I had no idea where I wanted to go to graduate school so I decided to pick places in the US that I was interested in living in. I narrowed it down to Michigan (home state) Florida, Washington D.C, Illinois, and Indiana.
Step 2- Find schools
After I found states I simply went to Google and searched “(major interest) in (State)”. Schools who had that degree program came up and I began to look at their admission requirements and if they had other things I was interested in. A number of schools you decide to apply to can vary. Right now I am thinking about applying to 10 schools because the acceptance rate to graduate school for psychology is around 25%. I then wrote down the application date, if the GRE was required, did they want a personal statement and how much the fee was. I now have a list of schools to apply to!
Step 3- The dreaded GRE
I spent a lot of time avoiding this step until it was June and I had no choice but to confront it head-on. I went to the library and got 2 prep books and went over the information in them for an hour every day. If you have the resources to take a class, by all means, do it! But this was the most convenient way for me. I also made a timeline of when I would take the exam. I decided on 3 times, August-October so that I would have enough time to get my applications in order.
Step 4- Personal statements
At most schools, the personal statement is an open-ended essay that is used by the institution to get to know the parts of you administrators cannot see from a resume. This is your time to talk about the things that make you who you are as a person, good and bad. Starting this can be a struggle but this is where having good advisors comes in. I took my personal statement to a professor I work with closely and she gave me tips on how to make it better, it also made her more interested in my life and made us closer (Which lead to a great recommendation letter from her).
Having all of these things together the summer before senior year will lighten the load you feel while sending in those applications in the fall.
Good luck future Grad Students!