Matters to a Degree

By definition, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students is primarily focused on graduate student issues. But APAGS is also home to another important group of psychology students: undergraduates. Moreover, APAGS staff work collaboratively with staff in the Office on Precollege and Undergraduate Education (PCUE) to provide resources and opportunities to undergraduate students.

With psychology being one of the most popular undergraduate majors, undergraduates are a vital part of the psychology pipeline. To address the academic and professional needs of undergraduate students and recent graduates, PCUE staff created Psychology Student Network. This newsletter was launched earlier this year to offer students information on careers and opportunities in psychology, including graduate study and preparing for the workforce. In addition, PCUE staff coordinate student visits to APA headquarters where students learn about the work of the Association, APA internships, and publications and resources. There are lots of benefits for undergraduate students who join APA as Student Affiliates.

Professional development

If you're interested in a career in psychology, joining APA is a great way to begin building your connection to the discipline of psychology. For just $35 a year in member dues, undergraduates get the Monitor on Psychology and Psychology Student Network which offer articles on a wide range of issues that affect psychologists and psychology students. Student affiliates also receive APA's official journal, American Psychologist, which offers peer-reviewed research for the entire field. For an additional fee of $21, undergrads also can participate in APAGS. Students who join APAGS receive gradPSYCH, a quarterly magazine with articles about graduate education and training in psychology. And starting in 2015, student members of APAGS will have access to Translational Issues in Psychological Science, an APAGS-sponsored journal that gives graduate students the opportunity to serve as reviewers and associate editors.

Insights into grad schools

In a new outreach effort to undergraduates and post-baccalaureates, APA is offering a series of resources about applying to graduate school, including key questions to consider when you are evaluating graduate programs. APAGS is also developing information on the costs of grad school, debt and loan repayment. Look for them to appear soon on the APAGS website.

Discounts on psychology resources

APAGS members get discounts on APA publications. Among the most popular among undergraduates is Graduate Study in Psychology, a listing of approximately 600 programs in the United States and Canada that offer graduate education in psychology (online access is also available for purchase).

Funding opportunities

Through its APAGS/Psi Chi Junior Scientist Fellowship, APAGS helps to fund students at the start of their graduate careers. Students apply for this $1,000 grant the summer before starting in graduate school. Applying for the grant — which requires you to work with a mentor — helps students get a head start as they begin their doctoral education; we've heard from applicants that the application was a great way to communicate with their mentors before classes began. More than 20 students have won this grant since it was started in 2011. To apply, join APAGS and Psi Chi at your undergraduate institution.

Low convention fees

Student affiliates are eligible for lower registration fees for APA's Annual Convention (next year in Washington, D.C., Aug. 7-10). Furthermore, APAGS members who are first authors of a poster presentation at APA's Annual Convention are eligible for free registration.

Social media/listservs

You can join APAGS on Facebook, Twitter and on Listservs. Members can participate in discussions with graduate students, ask questions about grad school life, or brainstorm research ideas on listservs and social media. You can also receive digital versions of gradPSYCH and the Monitor through free apps available for iOS and Android.

I encourage all undergraduates who are thinking about graduate school in psychology to join APAGS. gradPSYCH alone is worth the cost, but all the other benefits make it a worthwhile decision.