Are you interested in pursuing an advanced degree in sport and exercise psychology? Ready to apply? Then this is the page for you! Below you will find helpful tips written by current graduate students who themselves went through the very same process you are about to go through. The information here should provide you with a great head start to applying to graduate schools in the field. Of course, this is by no means a step-by-step guide. You have a lot of work you will have to do yourself. This page is meant as a starting point to make you think about everything you will need to do.
One of the first things you will want to do is purchase (or find a recent used copy of) the Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology. This book contains information about over 100 degree programs all over the world. This information includes faculty, research interests, contact information, websites, and general program information. Additionally, the Directory includes useful information about requirements for certification and questions to ask yourself and others when applying to graduate school. This is a must-have for applying to graduate schools in sport and exercise psychology!
Finding a Good Fit
If you think you know what you want your future career to be, it is important to find a program that will help you reach that goal. If you want to be a full-time consultant, look for programs that focus on applied sport psychology. If you want to be a professor, look for programs that allow you more opportunities to teach and research. You want your interests, whatever they are, to align with the programs you apply to.?If you are unsure of what your future career holds, that’s okay too. Look for a program that will give you a taste of everything.
Attend the Annual AASP Conference
The AASP Conference is held every year in the fall. At the conference there is a Graduate Program and Internship Fair, where many schools and internships have a table set up. During this time, you can ask questions to current faculty, internship supervisors, and students, pick up information about the program, and interact with other students looking to apply to graduate school or internships. On top of the Graduate Program and Internship Fair, do not be afraid to introduce yourself to professors or supervisors of a graduate or internship program you are interested in during other conference events.
Attend a Regional Conference
Each region generally holds a regional conference every year. These student-friendly conferences are typically shorter and tend to be more relaxed than the annual conference. They are also in your region, which makes it easier and cheaper to attend! This is a great time to network with students and professors in your region.
Want to email a student at a program you are interested in learning about? Then check out PPUMP’s database of graduate student mentors. This list contains graduate students who are willing to help undergraduates and new members to the field become more involved. Feel free to send someone an email!
Prepare Your Application Materials
The earlier you start this process, the better. At the minimum, you will need a personal statement (or goals statement), CV, and letters of recommendation. Some programs will also ask for a writing sample. Use your academic advisor and career services center to help you craft a good application.
Set Aside Some Money
Application fees are usually around $50 per program. GRE scores, official transcripts, and sending things priority mail costs money, too. Plan on spending at minimum $80 per program. The costs add up quickly, so if you can set aside money ahead of time, do it.
If you are able to, try to visit your top one or two programs you are applying to. Some programs even have a visitation weekend where all interested graduate students can visit, with some programs even offering funding for this trip if you apply for the visitation and meet their qualifications. By visiting your top programs, you will have a chance to personally meet the students and faculty on their home turf and for you to check out the school. Ask yourself, “Could I see myself here for 2 or 4 years?” If the answer is “no,” you should reconsider going to that program.
Create a List of Questions to Ask
Before you meet or speak with someone from a particular program, you should write down a list of at least five questions you want answered. Remember, you are the one applying and if you have questions about a program, you need to get them answered. A good fit means that you are a good match for the program and that the program is a good match for you. Your questions should help you figure out if a good fit exists. The Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology has a good starting list of questions that you should consider when applying to schools.
Have a Backup Plan
It might not be fun to think about, but what if you are not accepted into any programs you apply to? This could happen, and if you are prepared for it, then you can better overcome this obstacle. Take a deep breath and pursue plan B!