Psychology - From Classroom to Career Sophomore Year
Use your faculty advisor and peer advising to choose the best courses, given your interest. Be prepared for your annual meetings. Look for unusual opportunities that could indirectly help a career in science.
What happens after Fairfield? What would be your "dream job" and how do you get there? Talk to your faculty advisor and other mentors: How can you use your remaining time at Fairfield to prepare for it?
A survey of Fairfield alumni who majored in Psychology indicates that most seek an advanced degree at institutions including Yale, New York University, UCLA, and Columbia. The largest number have sought that degree in psychology and allied fields but many have gone to medical, law, education and business schools. About half of those in business are employed in public relations, human resources, investments, advertising, and marketing. As a student, you will have many choices but you can find help in making these, not only from faculty, but from a network of alumni mentors who can offer counsel based on their own experience.
The Psychology Department has recently developed the Alumni Mentor Database to allow undergraduates to correspond with psychology alumni with similar professional interests. Each participating alumnus or alumna has submitted information concerning his or her advanced educational and employment experiences. Students may browse through all the records or search the database to locate the names and addresses of alumni with specific interests or experiences.
Talk to your professor or department chair about opportunities for summer research as paid research assistants on campus or in NSF sponsored summer intern programs at other institutions throughout the country.
Qualified Psychology students participate in the Honors Program at Fairfield University and, for students with an exceptional academic record of achievement, the opportunity to be elected to the country's premier honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
Talk to your faculty advisor and start planning now for potential internships. Think about "trying out" a career, gaining work experience, marketable skills, potential mentors and a competitive edge. Look for potential matches between an internship with your career. You can serve an internship for one or two semesters of credit in Applied Psychology. The wide range of opportunities includes work with children with autism, assisting probation officers and guidance counselors, work in advertising and human resources, and assisting in psychiatric facilities. All allow students to spend 10 hours a week using knowledge acquired in their classes. The Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project provides opportunities to be involved in preventive intervention that helps low-income preschoolers and their parents in language and reading. As a senior, you can undertake independent research; as a junior, you can apply, as many have done successfully, for summer research opportunities at other institutions, as well as supervised research and summer opportunities at Fairfield University.
Other internship sites include the Center for Growth and Development in Norwalk, Conn. (children with special needs); CRN International (radio marketing); People's Bank (human resources); YWCA (domestic violence unit); Superior Court (adult probation, family court, juvenile center); Legal Services of Connecticut; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (children's unit); Family and Children's Agency, Norwalk, Conn.; New England Center for Children; Giant Steps; National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Fairfield Preparatory School (counseling); The United Way (organizational psych).
Attend the annual Sigma Xi poster session, held in Bannow every spring. See the work of other Psychology majors, and imagine how your work will be displayed in future years. Contact Dr. Jim Biardi, advisor, (203) 254-4000, ext. 3465 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, was founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of psychology. It inducts both undergraduate and graduate members. It currently has 868 chapters nationwide. Contact Dr. Judy Primavera, advisor, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2233 or e-mail email@example.com.
(Broadening Access to Science Education)
BASE Camp projects offer students an informative and fun week-long experience with actual scientific research, across all scientific disciplines at Fairfield. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics. Look for the annual listing of summer events.
Interested in the health professions at Fairfield? You can receive specific advice on how to best prepare yourself to become a strong applicant for admission to a health professions school. Each semester, in addition to regular program meetings with all other pre-health students, you'll meet one-on-one with the program advisor. Those strategy sessions will help you determine how to best plan and carry out all of the components of building your application packet for graduate programs. The health professions advisor also works with the to offer general and specific advice, to anyone on campus, concerning the many professional opportunities in the health sciences. In addition to the necessary science courses, internships and research opportunities, Fairfield also provides you with a strong background in the liberal arts that emphasizes the ethical and human side of medicine, through appropriate courses in the social sciences and humanities. This helps students to build a broad perspective on health care and its associated issues, such as patient's rights, health care policy and legislation, ethics, etc.
All of this serves to make Fairfield applicants stand out during the very competitive admissions process. Here is the four-year course of study. In sophomore year, you should be earning good grades in all your classes, especially the science classes. The best time for students to gain valuable experience within the health care setting is usually during the summer before junior year. Make sure that you investigate various options for clinical exposure or research with the health professions advisor during sophomore year so that you know what you will be doing for the summer.
Line Up References
Start to look for 3+ professors in Psychology and elsewhere who might serve as professional references for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for guidance. Stay in touch with them so they can speaker about your successes in an informed way.
Package Yourself Professionally
Start building a LinkedIn.com profile, one of the most popular ways to find jobs and internships for college students. Establishing a professional profile page and networking with both peers and working professionals will significantly enhance the chance to have a flying start in the professional world after graduation.
Service Learning Associates
The Service Learning Associates (SLA) program engages 8 to 10 undergraduates each semester as student leaders to their peers in service-learning courses. Each SLA works intensively with one professor to support a service-learning course which aligns with the associate's academic background and interests. The SLAs meet regularly with both faculty and fellow associates throughout the semester and attend professional development training.
As Commencement nears and your job hunt picks up, what materials can you put in a portfolio to market yourself and help show your experience? Create a blog or e-portfolio to both present your best work (essays, research papers, work done through a campus club, internship or summer job) and to offer reflections on them. Your faculty advisor can help you sort through potential items and build a strong portfolio to accompany your resume and cover letter. Contact CAS Associate Dean Aaron Perkus to create an e-portfolio.
That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Psychology majors.