Department of Psychology at Illinois State University


Cumulative Planning Guide

The Cumulative Planning Guide offers suggestions for a successful academic career. When planning a semester schedule, students should also review the following websites: Requirements for the Major in Psychology, Program Changes, and Standards for Progress in the Major.

Welcome from your academic advisor, Ms. Raz Steward. To offer you assistance and reassurance as you work through your undergraduate years, I have prepared the following guide. Please become familiar with the suggested time line.

Freshman Year
   READ your Illinois State Undergraduate Catalog. The general information is helpful, and the specific information on the graduation requirements is essential. You, not University staff, ultimately are responsible for your meeting the multiple graduation requirements.
  CONSULT the department's Major in Psychology website.
   DECIDE, tentatively,whether you want a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree and plan your curriculum accordingly.
   READ the course descriptions in the Undergraduate Catalog for the various academic disciplines. Enroll in a range of courses that sound appealing to you. Your final major and minor choices should be disciplines you enjoy and can master successfully.
   KEEP up with each course syllabus and study for exams. A low grade point average (GPA) may be hard to raise.
   CONSIDER if you are eligible for one of the Honors Program as described in the Undergraduate Catalog.. If so, speak to an advisor.
   SEE an advisor at least once a semester. Bring questions about careers as well as academic concerns. Advisors can refer you to helpful resources if unable to answer questions directly.
   READ the e-mail messages sent to your University e-mail account.

Sophomore Year
  TAKE additional courses in potential majors for continued evaluation.
   VISIT the Career Center (Student Services Building) to learn about future occupations.
  TAKE PSY 200 Careers in Psychology
   SPEAK with professors and advisors about career. Advisors have more time available to meet with you outside of scheduled registration periods.
   ATTEND Student Psychology Association and Psi Chi meetings for general information about the major and possible careers
   APPLY to the Department of Psychology for the major (only if you have not already been declared a Psychology major.) Applications are only accepted during September, February, and May through July.
   REVIEW your Academic Progress Summary and Progress Toward My Degree each semester. Request and pick up your summary from the University Registrar (Moulton Hall) and/or check My Illinois State for Progress Toward My Degree. Discuss any discrepancies in the Summary with an advisor.
   ASK an advisor about Career Enhancement Certificates(CEC) that are offered by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

   Start thinking about research assistantships and/or internships you would like to participate in.

Junior Year
   DECIDE, tentatively, whether you want to go directly to graduate school after graduation or enter the job market with your Bachelor's degree.
   TALK with an advisor about internships,job, or volunteer experience, and research opportunities which may qualify your for academic credit.
   JOIN the Student Psychology Association, if you have not done so yet. Think about joining the American Psychological Association (APA) as a student member.
   JOIN Psi Chi, if you are eligible
   DISCUSS with professors, professionals, and advisors the work environment and job tasks that interest you in order to narrow your goals.
   ASSESS whether your goals are realistic based on your GPA. If necessary, consider related goals.
   DECIDE whether you want a minor and/or a Career Enhancement Certificate.
   CONISDER registering for a research apprenticeship in the spring semester of your junior year or for the fall semester of your senior year. Honors Program students should register for research no later than for the fall semester of their senior year.
   ACQUAINT yourself with a few professors. You may need recommendations.
   KEEP up your GPA

   Start reviewing for the GRE, if applicable. 

Summer Between Your Junior and Senior Years
  SECURE a job or internship related to your future goals, if possible
  IDENTIFY graduate programs that interest you. Consult the APA's Graduate Study in Psychology, which is available in Milner Library. Talk with professors in your area of interest.
  REVIEW for the GRE, LSAT, etc.

  Register for the GRE.

  Take the GRE by the end of summer.

Senior Year
FALL Semester for Students Applying to Graduate School
   COMPLETE all required and elective 300-level courses in the major, including your capstone experience and research.
   SEND for and complete graduate school applications
   HAVE recommendations and transcripts sent to prospective graduate schools
   APPLY for graduation after your last semester registration. Review the degree audit report that is sent to you. See an advisor for any irregularities in the report.
   ARRANGE for updated transcripts to be sent in early January to prospective graduate schools.

FALL Semester for Students Planning to Enter the Job Market
   COMPLETE required and elective 300-level courses in the major.
   USE the Career Center to assist you in your job search strategies, résumé building, and interview skills.
   ATTEND career fairs both on and off campus beginning early in the fall semester
   SEEK recommendations from professors and employers
   APPLY for graduation after your last semester registration. Review the degree audit report that is sent to you. See an advisor for any irregularities in the report.

SPRING semester, Senior Year
   TIE up academic ends, keep up your GPA, but take it easy as much as possible. The real world will hit soon!
   SEE professors or advisors, if you choose, for information and/or advice regarding final decision making.