In 2003, the Psychology Department at Augusta State University established the Minority Pipeline committee to improve the representation of minority students in the field of Psychology. To that end, our mission is to provide undergraduate students with information related to graduate school and to support high achieving minority students as they go through the graduate application process. As part of our efforts to recruit minority graduate students to our Master's program, the committee has hosted a free seminar on graduate school. Invited speakers discussed the benefits of holding a graduate degree, options for financing graduate school, and life as a graduate student. Each year we see more students taking advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about the realities of graduate school in a relaxed and interactive atmosphere.
Why Isn't a Bachelor's Degree Enough?
* A minority graduate student's perspective *
Education is an opportunity open to all members of our society. Unfortunately, not everyone is pursuing this wonderful opportunity. There is an unfortunate inequality in the ethnic distribution in today's classroom. This disparity worsens with the level of education, with fewer minority individuals seeking graduate educations. For example, in ASU's Master of Science program in Psychology, 12.5 percent of the first-year students are from minority groups. This number is slightly less than the 16% reported by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the 2002-2003 school year. Like many colleges and universities, we would like to see more diversity in our graduate program.
In a recent forum for minority undergraduates, Dr. Joyce Jones, Dean of Students, outlined many of the reasons to go to graduate school. For example, an advanced degree is often necessary to enter your profession of choice. Alternatively, you may be passionate regarding a particular subject and want to learn more about it. A graduate degree can provide job security, personal satisfaction, as well as the opportunity for mobility. Finally, one important reason is that a graduate degree can bring in a lot of money! Earning a graduate degree can certainly elevate one's financial status and at the same time draw a sense of great self-respect and respect from other members of the community.
Many college students decide to forego graduate school because of the financial costs. However, there are numerous opportunities for financial assistance available for students pursuing a graduate degree. According to the APA, about 40 percent of the costs of graduate school for students who received Master's degrees in Psychology (2001-02) were covered in the form of scholarships, loans, teaching or research assistantships, and grants. In the Psychology department here at ASU, typically between about 40 and 50% of first year students receive some type of assistance which is also accompanied by a tuition waiver. For general information about funding your advanced degree, visit the Financial Aid Office in Payne Hall and speak to one of the counselors, call 737-1431, or send an email to email@example.com.
The Financial Aid Office is but one means of gaining information about pursuing and funding a graduate education. For example, many students do not know that there is a summer leadership program for minority students to learn about educational and career options while networking with other students and professionals. In past years ASU has fully funded students to participate in this program. If you are interested in finding out more, contact Dean Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Undergraduates who would like to learn about ASU's graduate program in Psychology can speak with any member of the Psychology department faculty. Specific questions may also be addressed to Dr. Sabina Widner, the Director of the Graduate Program. If concerns about finances are pulling you away from pursuing an advanced degree in Psychology, contact one of our professors or check out the American Psychological Association's website about scholarships for women and minorities at http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/scholars.html or go to www.free-4u.com/minority.htm for a list of general college scholarships for minority students.
Written by Vee Ramcharan (2004)
The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)
ABPsi Student Section
Society for Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues
Online Psychology Career Center (SPN)