Once you decide that you’d like to apply to MSPP, I recommend checking out the website to make sure that you meet the pre-requisites (http://mspp.edu/admissions/apply/counseling-psych-ma.asp). For the 2011-2012 academic year the application deadline for general consideration into the M.A. Counseling program is Wednesday, January 12, 2011—mark it on your calendars! I personally get anxious when I procrastinate, so I planned to have my application mailed a couple of weeks before the deadline just in case anything got lost or went wrong!
The most important aspects of the application process for which to plan in advance are the 3 letters of recommendation and the GREs. The people who write your recommendations (I used 2 professors and a supervisor from my internship) are doing a favor for you, so it is thoughtful to give them plenty of time to get them done. Also, they are humans too, which means they have busy schedules and need time to sit down and give your recommendation some consideration! The GREs are optional for this program, however if you score well or intend to go on to a PsyD program, these results are valid for 5 years and may benefit you.
I personally feel as though I can give application advice because I applied to MSPP twice! Once was for the PsyD program that I wanted to start directly after graduation from college (I ended up attending a PsyD program in Florida which I started and then switched into the M.A. program, but that’s a story for a different blog!) and the other application was for the Master’s Counseling program which I decided to transfer into. In college I had a high GPA, research experience, and an internship when I applied to the PsyD program, but after applying a second time, I realized that my first application was generic and thoughtless. I had applied to seven PsyD schools and by the time I wrote my application for MSPP I was spiting out meaningless words that I thought sounded good! This is exactly what MSPP Doesn’t want. So, when I applied the second time for the Master’s program, I was much more genuine. My advice is to get in touch with meaningful life experiences and write about these and the relationships, interests, and personal qualities that you have that will make you an effective professional.
The Statement of Purpose and Goals and the Autobiography took me a few days to write and edit because I wanted to make sure I was getting in touch with myself and communicating how important this profession is to me. The second time around, I used many more personal details and experiences than I did when I applied for the PsyD. The application shouldn’t be something you breeze through with the TV on in the background and with Facebook minimized on the screen! You should sit down and really brainstorm what you want to say and maybe write a few drafts and pick the best aspects from each to incorporate into one piece about which you feel confident.
•Leave yourself plenty of time to complete all portions of the application, which is due January 12, 2011.
• Sign up NOW for the GRE if this is something you want to take (it is only given in certain locations on certain dates and it is something you should definitely study for)
• Pick people to recommend you that can attest to your abilities and that will put effort into making you sound like a strong applicant
•Get personal with your Autobiography! Be genuine
•Write a few drafts or give yourself a couple of days in case you think of things to add or to make changes
• Feel free to contact Admissions with any questions