There is some value in undergrad conferences, but if there’s any chance to submit it a national or international conference, that is much more impressive – and if that SIOP, it would also give you an opportunity to reconnect with some of the faculty/current students at the school you will attend. I will give you a few tips though. PhD program don’t make admittance decisions lightly. For applications to I/O grad programs, are there any consequences for taking more than 4 years to complete undergrad? My professor told me that Anthropology usually is less popular and I might have a better chance of getting into the conference in general if I apply under Anthropology. As long as they haven’t committed to you, you haven’t committed to them. But if the professor seemed excited about your interest, it is probably in your best interest to skip class and go to the open house. So experience is an I/O lab is not critical; you just need experience in any psychology lab. Do you think this will happen? If they don’t respond in 2-3 days, you have a good reason for having contacted someone else. If, for example, you took a graduate level statistics course and got an A, that would go a long way toward demonstrating you can succeed at Master’s level coursework somewhere else. I noticed that the BLS stat of where I/O psychologists work had a decent number in CA (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm) so I wanted to go to a school that will eventually get me there. I am just trying to broaden my goals knowing now how small of a chance I have at getting accepted into a PhD program. So… there are a lot of pieces of what you’re saying. Very very normal. Your backups can be either PhD or Master’s, depending on how qualified you are. And fortunately, if you end up having to go to all this extra effort, you have an added advantage: it’ll be clear that you’re a serious applicant worth consideration. I am willing to do what I need to do but I just need some guidance. I hope it is not too late to be looking for research experience! The primary benefits to membership at the student level are access to the I/O journals and a discount on the SIOP conference. There are some exceptions, but they are very uncommon. Is there anything else that I can do to boost my chances, or should I really focus on getting those couple of things as close to perfect as possible? I’m not sure what you mean by “afford” if you want to attend a PhD program. The key here is that lab experience gives you two things: 1) experience being a researcher and 2) work experience within I/O. For example, if you attended George Mason, that school is highly connected in the Washington DC area (because that is where it’s located). My question is directed towards how I should go about choosing the other labs that I get involved with. I/O is better, but any psych research experience is good. Do you think that being on the executive board of a club at my school will be useful? in Management which is a short, 15-month program that offers coursework covering topics such as leadership and motivation, organizational learning and change management, management research, global leadership, and a capstone project. That is why standardized test scores tend to be so much more important in admissions decisions – it is the only way you can realistically compare one student to another. Remember that the goal of undergrad research experience is to demonstrate that you understand what the grunt work of being a grad student is like. This shows us that you know what you’re getting into and understand what research really involves. As for research experience, although I/O experience is preferred, it is not the expectation. At that point, as long as you’re doing a good job, you can move pretty much anywhere that takes I/Os. Arrangements usually involve working as a teaching assistant in exchange for free tuition plus a salary (right now, generally in the neighborhood of $12K – $20K per year – which isn’t a lot, but certainly enough to live on if you don’t need to pay tuition). These roles are the front lines of research. So the question is really – what do you need to do to get accepted in an IO terminal Master’s degree program? I have thought very hard about this and I think a masters in IO is more appealing to me even though I know a PhD is better. This feeling is called imposter syndrome. GRE scores are going to be much more critical with research experience right behind that. You can certainly switch if you want. Your research advisor’s pedigree isn’t really relevant to applications, nor is her graduate training, nor is her department. If your goal is to go into practice, I would not go for that. Easier said than done, but maybe this will help: http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.aspx. However, this seems to not matter now since I know that I really need to focus on performing well on the GRE. Will this hurt my graduate school resume because she is in the Education department? If I do this, will this make my research less credible in terms of grad school? You need to prove your research potential in order to impress admission committees. After reading pervious comments, I calculated my GPA from the last two years and it is a 3.43 (still pretty low). Which one would be more helpful with getting into grad school. Is there another way to find out how good a program is? Lastly, from what I’ve read, it seems that GPA, GRE scores, research experience, and letters of recommendation are the most important when trying to get into a PhD program. Will that be a huge disadvantage compared to those who do have I/O experience? But it is useful to think of it in terms of cost-benefit – everything you do now to increase your chances of starting the career path you want means earning money on that career path earlier, doing work you love earlier, etc. Would it be crazy to do this? Starting Sophomore Year: Should I get a Ph.D. or Master’s? So during my sophomore year of college, I presented two different research projects at an undergraduate student conference. Or is it not necessary ? Thank you SO much for all the information you have been giving me! I was also admitted to highly ranked Master’s programs, and I am considering going the Master’s route even though I was admitted to a PhD already. This was already my dream when I was working towards by BS degree, so I had a solid GPA (3,77 / 4,00). I have done literature reviews and research courses at university, but never formally worked in a research lab. 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