With so many different career avenues open to the Psychology major, good career advising is very important. The first courses recommended for Psychology students are foundational for all career directions. They provide the basis for further study in any area of Psychology. Students are advised to avoid specializing too early because a well rounded, scientifically based set of courses will provide them with a flexible and firm foundation for post-graduate career development. Most students find that the career goals they entered college with are very different from their goals at graduation. The first courses students are advised to take are designed to help them know whether Psychology is the major for them or not.
Within the Psychology curriculum advising tracks have been developed in order to help students select courses that will prepare them for careers in Clinical/Counseling Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social/Organizational Psychology and Research/General Psychology. As students take courses within the tracks they discover their own interests and competencies that help further determine career goals. Students are encouraged to complete an internship in a field consistent with their long term career goals. They are also advised to consider a basic science thesis topic that applies well to their potential career direction. For example a student who planned a career in management completed his thesis on the relationship between work group similarity and productivity.
During the Senior Capstone students prepare a professional vitae. This vitae is much the same as a resume. They can receive advice on making the vitae (or resume) from Westminster's Career Center. Students receive advice on graduate school and future jobs from advisors, alumni and the Career Center.
Approximately half of Westminster Psychology graduates enter graduate training immediately. Another 10-20% eventually enter graduate school. Virtually all students who wish to attend graduate school do so. Students are advised by both the academic advisor and the thesis advisor on the preparation, selection and application process. In order to be accepted into graduate school students must be well qualified, motivated and have goals that fit the particular program. Students are advised to become qualified through their course work, extra curricular activities, internship and research throughout their undergraduate years. They are advised on how to prepare for entrance examinations (such as the GRE) and entrance interviews. Students are also advised on how to select potential graduate schools for which they are qualified. The trickiest part of selecting the right graduate school is the fit between the student's goals and the graduate school. This part is difficult because students are developing their goals. The Psychology program at Westminster is designed to help students develop a clear understanding of their goals. Many students choose to work for a while before applying for graduate school in order to clarify their long term career goals.
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