Appendix F: Timeline for Clinical/Counseling Doctoral Program Applicants

Applying in 2 Years (typically fall of Sophomore Year)


  • Seek out professors with whom you can conduct research.
  • Look through the Pre-Health Handbook and choose courses very carefully to meet psychology requirements.
  • Become involved with the local chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology.


  • Begin to plan summer experiences. Look for research or clinical internships that match the type of doctoral program in which you are interested.


  • Meet with your advisor. Discuss summer plans such as research, internships, volunteer work, and classes. 
  • Actively arrange summer experiences early in the semester before the mid-term crunch.


  • Plan summer experiences, preferably research projects, as these will increase your chances of being accepted into doctoral programs.

Applying in 1 Year (typically fall of Junior Year)


  • Touch base with your advisor to bring him or her up to date on your plans. If you have any questions regarding course selection, contact your advisor early. Make sure all prerequisites are completed.
  • Make plans for when you will study for and take the GRE. There are available online courses as well as printed materials that will assist your preparation for the GRE.


  • Register to take the GRE. This should be completed before May.
  • Plan summer research experiences.
  • Begin studying for the GRE using the study materials you have obtained or the online course in which you have enrolled.


  • Make a tentative list of Ph.D./Psy.D. programs to which you plan to apply.
  • Update your resume.


  • Begin researching potential programs to which you are interested in applying. This research will include identifying individual faculty members within these programs with whom you are interested in working.
  • Determine whether each program requires the GRE Subject Test in Psychology.
  • Complete a draft of your personal statement.


  • Approach trusted professors for letters of recommendation. Make sure that all of your letter writers have a current copy of your resume and any other information that will assist them in writing their letters.
  • Continue working on your personal statement.
  • Take a look at the individual schools' online applications to become familiar with them.


  • Take the GRE now to ensure the best scores.

In the Year of Application


  • Draw up a flow grid or neat checklists to chart the progresss of each of your applications from initial contact through interviews. Create a folder for each school.
  • Email faculty with whom you are interested in working to determine if they are accepting graduate students for the year that you would begin your graduate program.


  • Finalize the list of schools to which you want to apply in view of your GRE scores and seek out graduate school professors whose interests align with your own.
  • Ask professors for letters of recommendation. Be sure to provide them with an updated resume to assist them in writing your letters. This resume or curriculum vitae should provide a summary of your experiences, including research you have been involved in.
  • Make sure you have taken the GRE by this point so that you have the scores back before you apply.
  • Submit transcript request forms to the CSA office to have your transcripts sent to the schools of your choice.
  • Complete applications. Be aware that each application take several hours to complete, so be sure to allocate sufficient time to complete them.
  • Begin calling schools to ensure that applications are complete.
  • Take the GRE Psychology Subject Test if it is required by any of the programs you are applying to.


  • Make sure all remaining transcripts and applications are submitted before the deadline (most schools have a December 1st deadline.)
  • Prepare for interview season by practicing interview skills with your major advisor or pre-health advisor.
  • Speak with your advisors before heading off for interviews to review strengths and weaknesses in your application and how to deal with them.


  • This is interview season.
  • If no interviews are offered by the end of January, you should meet with your pre-health advisor to discuss options.


  • Interviews continue into the spring semester. But if you do not receive any interviews, alternate plans should be considered. Talk to a pre-health advisor before re-applying.


  • Acceptances sent!
  • Things to consider when choosing your school include quality, location, and financial aid package.
  • If you did not receive an offer to a doctoral or master's program, discuss employment options with your pre-health advisor that will increase your chances of being accepted to a graduate program in the future.

Emory, Va. Campus: P.O. Box 947, Emory, Va. 24327 (map)    276.944.4121
Marion, Va. Campus: 565 Radio Hill Rd., Marion, Va. 24354 (map)    276.944.6342 ·  276.781.7200