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School Psychology EdS, GPA, Admissions...


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Hi everyone!

I graduated in 2015 with a bachelors in Psychology from the University of Illinois. I've been pondering of what my field should be, as I'm still very interested in staying in Psychology. 

I worked abroad as an ESL teacher in the south of France, specifically primary schools. I had the opportunity to work closely with the equivalent of a school psychologist, as the schools I've worked in had many children with behavioral problems in part because of lack of support at home and low economic opportunities. They also had a huge immigrant population that also received little support. It sparked an interest in research on identifying educational/health disparities in culturally diverse students, advocacy and culturally responsive psychoeducational assessment. I thought that School Psychology would be the field for me to pursue those research interests, and I could probably practice as a specialist in the schools.

I guess my worry (anxiety, really) is the fact that I may not be competitive enough for any field in Psychology. I have a cumulative GPA of 3.5, and a Psych GPA of 3.1. My story is that I had bouts of anxiety due to a bad relationship at the start of my undergraduate studies, which hit hard on the starting Psychology coursework. I did better on graduate-level courses, and I was able to do an Honors Thesis after 4 years as a Research assistant in a neurolinguistics laboratory. Is my GPA a deal breaker for a School Psychology EdS? 

My second worry is that I have a lot of psychology research experience (+Honors Thesis) but it's not too closely related to School Psychology. At some point I thought I wanted to work in language, but after reading research papers from this field I think this is a much better fit. Should I look for volunteer opportunities in research again out of school? Something closely related to school psyc?

Finally, like I said earlier, I have teaching abroad experience. Before that, I volunteered at an early childhood center, a recreational special education camp (for special ed girls who were interested in STEM), and after school programs. Would there be any other experience I can look into to help my chances?

 

I'm sorry to overwhelm people with a wall of text. I've asked some schools with related research and they tell me that my GPA (cum) falls within their range, but not much else. I just want an honest response, if I should pursue a similar field or stay in Psych. I still have time to decide, and I'm not too strict on location when it comes to graduate programs, as long as they have the research opportunities that I'm looking for!

Edited by combustiblecake
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  • 1 month later...

I have recently gotten accepted into an Ed.S program for school psychology. I would say go for it but it is all depending on your GRE score. Look for programs that focus on bilingual students or have a multicultural research interest to stand out. (also when interviewing don't try to make excuses for your GPA if asked about it then say the beginning of college was hard for you but don't mention it unless asked).

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Well, first of all, you have a lot of great experience and you shouldn't undermine that. I've found that while ideally your research experience would be a good match with whatever labs/schools you apply to, it is not necessarily a hindrance if it does not match. What is more important is the quality of your experiences wherever you did work. What kind of things did you do there? How much responsibility did you have? What skills did you acquire? Did you present work or create posters? Are your recommendations solid? Etc.

Do you have any mentors you could talk to for advice? Or maybe anyone in school psych who you could ask? Depending on the expectations of the programs you apply to, it might be worth applying. But if your timeline isn't stringent, taking another year to accumulate more experience and really hone down on your specific goals and interests is a solid backup plan.  

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