5 Tips on Applying to a Doctorate of Psychology Program

When the decision is made to go forward for an advanced college degree, there are a lot of things that can be done to increase the chances that a particular application will stand out with the admissions department.

Research colleges and programs thoroughly

In determining the schools that are the best match for your interests and aspirations, there are factors that need to be evaluated in order to decide on the best attributes for your education. Those factors should include:

  • Location
  • Tuition
  • Match research specialties
  • Availability of concentrations within interests in psychology
  • Faculty teaching major classes
  • Unique experiences or backgrounds of faculty in the program
  • Investigate existing research from each school
  • Availability of concentrations of interest within psychology

Within this framework, it becomes clearer the schools that should be considered for advanced education. Try to find three choices of schools that align with your aspirations and apply to them, in the event that you are not accepted to your first or second choices.

SEE ALSO: 5+ Online No GRE Psychology PhD Programs

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The essay needs to stand out

There are ways that an applicant can format their essays to make them stand out in the sea of application essays. What gets the attention of the admissions counselors could be the difference between an application being passed over versus one that gets moved on in the approval process. The key ideas to try to highlight in the essay are:

  • Personal struggles, illnesses, losses, that indicate persistence
  • Personal achievements
  • Specific reference to school and program to demonstrate research done
  • Be very attentive to grammar and word choice

Even if being aware of these good ways of making a memorable essay, it is important to ensure that the grammar and precision of the essay are perfect. Make sure to have the essay  proofread before turning it in.

Choose references wisely

It is important to not underestimate the importance of a good reference as part of your doctoral degree application. Having someone that can vouch for your hard work and good skills is a crucial first step in the approval process. In thinking of good references for your application, consider the following:

  • should know you and have experience with your work
  • give them enough time to write reference before it is due
  • offer them samples of your work to look over while writing reference
  • make sure they can give a positive reference
  • any relevant link to the school or the industry should be highlighted

By having references written by relevant professionals that are willing to stand up for you and your work is a very big accomplishment towards turning in a winning doctoral application.

Complete all required forms accurately

This seems to be an easy one, but through overlooking or misunderstanding, there are frequently people that submit their advanced degree applications without everything included. To minimize the chances of this happening, be sure to include:

  • checklist of all required documentation
  • have checked for grammar and punctuation
  • ensure all required documentation is turned in
  • make sure all pages of each required element are included
  • be aware of timelines and deadlines for all parts of the application process

Visit college campus for a tour

By touring the campus, an applicant is able to:

  • Make contact with an admissions counselor
  • Speak with doctoral students for campus-specific details
  • Meet and discuss degree with relevant faculty
  • Get the contact information for those spoken with

All of these benefits provide an opportunity to have an inside contact that increases your chances that someone who met you personally may take an interest in you and your body of work.

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By considering these five tips to improve your doctorate degree application, it increases your chances of your application standing out in the field of prospective students trying for a spot in the program. The more of these elements can be taken into account, the greater the chances for success and acceptance to the doctoral degree program.


  • http://classroom.synonym.com/tips-writing-personal-essay-doctoral-degree-program-1267.html
  • http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/PhD_Courses_-_Tips_and_advice_for_making_your_application
  • http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/application_tips.shtml