Grad School Is Taking Over My Life! (And I’m Not Even Accepted Yet)

17 11 2009

In fact, I’m not even done the applications!  In truth, grad school has been taking over my life since I started studying for the GRE General test back in September.  I’ve been trying to take it all as seriously as possible, so I put in a lot of study hours for the GRE and then for the GRE Psychology subject test last week.  Hopefully it pays off.  I know I studied more than some of the people who took the GRE Psych test with me last weekend; they were bragging about how they didn’t study at all!  I don’t know about you, but when I have to pay 130 dollars to take a test, I’m gonna study like mad for it.  But it’s very nice to have those tests behind me now.

gradschool1Also taking up my spare time has been the process of narrowing down schools to apply to, which is fun, but very time consuming.  My criteria for picking a grad school initially left a lot of options open to me.  I started off eliminating schools that were in geographically less appealing places like Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Arizona.  There were enough schools that satisfied my needs that I could afford to be a little bit picky about where I get to live while attending school.

The central states just don’t seem that exciting to me.  I’ve driven through them.  Boring.  Maybe I’m not giving them a fair chance, but I have the luxury of not having to worry about it.  Arizona, New Mexico and Western Texas are just way too hot for a warm-blooded Canadian boy and there’s no ocean nearby to offer a reprieve.

So that left basically the west coast, the east coast and the gulf coast, all of which I would be quite alright with.  I’ve lived on the west coast and the gulf coast so I know I like it, and the east coast seems pretty cool from what I hear and Maren and I could use an adventure.

After I had the locations sorted out I looked at more important stuff like the kind of financial aid I could receive from each school, competitiveness of each school, faculty whose research interests matched my own.  I made sure I wasn’t excluding any really good schools because of an unfortunate location and I came up with a list of ten schools.  It turned out to be exactly the kind of list that your academic advisors tell you to make.  I had three ambitious schools, UCLA, Yale and Penn State, each ranked in the top ten clinical psych programs by US News.  I had three safety schools, U of Maine, U of Houston, and Rutger’s University.  And four moderately competitive schools, U of Virginia, USC, U of Oregon and SDSU/UCSD, ranked in the top 20 and top 30.  I’m not bragging when I mention Yale and UCLA, I’m just reaching for the stars, so to speak.  Honestly, I might have a stroke if any of those top ten schools contact me for an interview.

Finalizing a list of schools to apply to was a relief, but the real work is still ahead of me.  Applying to one grad school is a lot of work, let alone ten of them.  What am I doing to myself?!  Oh well, it’ll be worth it.  By the end of December, I’ll be done with applications for a while and I won’t have to start stressing again until it’s interview time!  (Keep your fingers crossed for me that I’ll actually get an interview or two).

I’m interested to know what you (all three of you) think.  Which school do you think would be the coolest for me to attend?  And give reasons.  And which school do you think I’ll actually end up going to?  Remember, they’re UCLA, Yale, Penn State, U of Virginia, USC, SDSU/UCSD, U of Oregon, U of Maine, Rutgers University, U of Houston.  What do you think?

So far blogging has been a welcome distraction on days when I’m spending hours making sure I haven’t forgotten some crucial part of an application.  So, hopefully I can keep up with the regular blog posts in the near future.




5 responses

17 11 2009

I’m sure it’s not just about the money for the tests that encouraged you to study a lot but also the score and how that will aid you with the above applications. I’m also sure that each application has a nice little fee attached to it. Brandon’s law school applications sure did. Peter, I have complete faith in you and wherever you decide to go will be the right place and you will be successful. This is an exciting time as you enter another phase of your life wondering where it will take you. I’m happy for you and excited to see where you end up :) It’s the beginning of yet another adventure!

18 11 2009

I wish I had your dedication. I have such a hard time studying even for the retarded SAT. I am sure you will make it into one of them, I am just hoping it is one on the west coast so you don’t disappear off the grid for again!

20 11 2009
Daniel Harker


You know what I think!! SDSU/UCSD!!! Whoop whoop!!! I might be biased though because I want you guys to stay in cali!!

And who knows youight just get to see the honorable Ann mclellan if you stick around!! Lol?!!

Ucla would be so sick Pete!! But I’ve been reading in the news that they are raising tuition by 32% next year!!! Aaah!!!

Keep me posted man!! I can’t wait to find out where you go!!!


24 11 2009
Fred Leavitt

Well I’m rooting for SDSU, UCSD, or USC myself.

17 12 2009
Lester Leavitt

East Coast! East Coast! East Coast!

I think you will have a few interviews, and then the real test will be which of those you decide on.

Good luck!

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