Question by Sleeping Beauty: What should you do if you want to major in counseling psychology?
Answer by Komodo
Hi there. :)
If you’re considering undergraduate programs with a concentration in counseling psychology, then obviously grades will be very important. The more prestigious programs at “ivy league” Universities will have the most stringent admissions criteria.
I think you’re referring to graduate programs – so I’ll spend more time discussing those…..hope I’m right about my interpretation of your question…..
For graduate programs, your battle plan is more direct:
(1) Get research experience. Even though counseling psychology involves therapy, many academic/research psychologists serve on admissions committees. Having some research experience often helps – and NEVER hurts – your candidacy for a graduate program in counseling psychology!
(2) Prepare extensively for the GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination. The GRE is the most important predictor of your success in graduate school – and is most often used by graduate admissions committees. Personally, I think it’s overused – but you need a GRE score of at least 1100 (and preferably 1200 or higher) to be competitive for most counseling graduate programs.
(3) Secure exceptional letters of recommendation from professors who know you well. This kind of supports #1 – if the professor can speak directly of your academic prowess, you’re in a good position.
(4) Apply to SEVERAL schools, and don’t rule out Psy.D. – or Doctor of Psychology programs. Most people want to attend master of arts (M.A.) or Doctor of Philosophy programs, since these provide financial support, often in the form of reduced tuition (many master’s programs do not, but almost all Ph.D. programs do!). Psy.D. programs rarely provide financial support – meaning you’ll pay for most of the degree yourself. Apply to these programs as a backup.
You CAN become a counseling psychologist if you choose to. It’s competitive, but achievable.
Good luck and take care! :)
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