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Is it common to take MORE classes in order to get prereqs?

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I am looking into applying for a couple of art therapy grad programs. I have a B.A. in Theatre and graduated in 2011. The art therapy programs that I am looking at both require 12 credits in Psych and 18 in Studio Art. I have no psych classes under my belt, and my art training was all through THEA classes (along with out of school training). The admissions counselor recommended that I take classes at the local community college in order to get these prereqs. I already have my A.A. and my B.A. and am really concerned about taking even more classes at a community college just to *maybe* get into grad school. Is this a common occurrence? 

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Well, if you need to fulfill prereqs that you don't have and you've already finished your degree, there's not much else you can do than make those prereqs up by attending extra classes. You can explain the extra classes in your SOP, even spin it to show commitment. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about things you can't change. 

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Everyone's road to grad school is different.  Some people are set on a course at 10 and never deviate.  Then there's the rest of us.  My brother and I are in our late 30's and both headed into pretty decent Ph.D. programs in the fall.  Both of us ended up in a variety of fields before we settled on what we were really cut out to do, and both of us ended up taking quite a few extra, non-degree courses along the way.  These courses are actually a good way of testing the waters without committing.  Maybe you'll find out you really hate psych.  Better to know so now than halfway through a program.  Also, there's a whole new vocab and mindset to learn.  I have never taken a psych course.  That brother of mine is about to start a Ph.D. in one.  He ends up completely talking over my head every conversation I have with him.  You would not want to be in a program where you are the only one who doesn't know the lingo and the way of thinking of all your professors and texts.  

If you write your application right, a meandering path to grad school can show just as much commitment, as fuzzylogician said.  Grad school is a much bigger commitment than a few community college courses, so if you have trouble committing to them, maybe it's not really what you want to be doing or you need more time to think about it or your life circumstances aren't right for this anyway.  

And if you find out this isn't for you and can't get into grad school, it's still a win.  Both psych classes and art classes sound pretty fun and useful in and of themselves.  You get to learn a few new things and possibly meet a few interesting people.  Community college is usually not a huge financial commitment compared to your other options.  So enjoy.  If you can't enjoy the thought of a few extra courses, grad school may not be for you anyway -- or at least not at this moment.  Maybe there are other ways to do some of the things you want to do, like volunteer to teach community art or theater to at-risk kids or in senior citizen homes in addition to your day job.  (Although I know nothing of the field, I will hazard a guess that if you do end up applying to grad schools in art therapy, such activities will not hurt your application.)

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As mdivgirl pointed out, the road we each take to graduate school is different. I don't think it is uncommon for a program to require their students to take additional classes in order to meet prerequisites for the program. I also agree with fuzzylogician that it is important to have some courses under your belt prior to attending graduate school to make sure you like the program and don't realize you don't like your field of study. 

For me, my grad program, which I start this fall, requires an introduction to linguistics course, which I don't have. They recommended I take the class prior to beginning the program, but I don't have the money laying around in order to do that. I am taking 12 hours my first semester, one course is going to be an undergraduate class to meet the intro to linguistics requirement. 

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Like others have said, it all depends on your educational path BUT I can tell you that I went through something slightly similar. I was accepted to a PhD in psych and was missing a prereq that my new schools required. They offered me a spot in the program but I had to finish the prereq by the end of this summer. Luckily after talking to my advisor who happens to be the DCT, I was able to take it at my local community college instead of moving to my new school early.

I think you would just need to talk to the departments you're interested in and see what the best path is but just know it is possible to get in even if you're missing the classes they want :)

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