How I Got Into the Stanford Psychology Ph.D. Program


It took me a while to decide, but there it was: I wanted to get into a graduate program (MA or PhD) in Psychology.

At that point, I had been living in the US for about 5 months, and knew absolutely nothing about the application process. All I had was a "B-" Grade Point Average (GPA) from the Israeli university where I studied for my BA. The year was 2002.

During the application process, I relied heavily on the kindness of people who owed me absolutely nothing, and expected nothing in return for their help. Their assistance was invaluable. At some point during this long process, I promised myself that if I got into a program, I would try to pay it forward - and help people who are going through the same process as I was.

This is my attempt. Comments and questions are more than welcome.

Good luck,

- Eran

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The (true) story that follows is just that - a story, of how I got into a psychology graduate program with which I'm happy. Hopefully, reading through this story may provide You with some insight as to what steps You may take to help You reach Your goal. Keep in mind that You and I are different people, and I (sadly) can't provide a fail-proof recipe of how to be admitted to a good graduate program in Psychology

Applying to graduate school in Psychology was a long and effortful process for me. I started it with immense motivation which (thankfully) almost never wavered throughout the process. It took a lot of time and energy on my part. It's possible to do - if I did it, there's no reason why You couldn't - but it will take effort. Motivation is key. WANT it, and KNOW that You can do it. Those two convictions are a necessity, not luxury. WANT it. Know that You CAN do it.

As always, comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

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A Little About Me

My name is Eran Magen. I was born in the USA to Israeli parents, and the entire family moved back to Israel when I was about 8 months old - I lived almost my entire life in Israel. Since I was born in the USA, I hold a dual citizenship - Israeli/US.

I received my BA in "Human Resource Management" (Behavioral Science and Business Administration) from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, about 5 years before I started the application process. I completed it with the less-than-thrilling final average of 80.3 (out of 100), which is roughly a "B-", or just under "3.0" in the 1-4 GPA (Grade Point Average) scale.

Since I am a US citizen, I was not considered an international applicant, even though my BA is Israeli. This meant I wasn't required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

My family is not wealthy. I needed to find a program that would, among other things, finance my studies.

I was not interested a clinical Psychology program. - my interest is in research and applied psychology.

I started with no "connections" in the academic world. I intended to do everything in a legitimate way, but always attempted to "get personal" with professors - guided by the concept that, metaphorically speaking, it's easier to be invited from the inside than to try and push my way in.

Okay, let's move on :-)

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