From the APA Science Student Council

Talking to Fellow Students About Joining APA: Myths vs. Facts

As student affiliates, we should challenge ourselves to “spread the word” about APA and urge fellow students to join. Below are some of the common misconceptions science-oriented students have about APA and some information to assist you when encouraging fellow students to become affiliates.

The Science Student Council is a group of nine graduate students who spend a couple of weekends a year with the Science staff, advising on programs and activities that would benefit graduate students in psychological science. This month, and every month for the next year or so, the students will present useful information that other graduate students need to know! Visit the Science Student Council to learn more about the activities of the SSC.

Talking to Fellow Students About Joining APA: Myths vs. Facts
by Jennifer Brielmaier 

 

As APA student affiliates, we’re aware of all the resources APA offers to foster the professional development of science-oriented students. However, other students at our institutions may not be aware of APA’s many benefits. Moreover, some students have decided not to join APA due to various misconceptions about the organization. As student affiliates, we should challenge ourselves to “spread the word” about APA and urge fellow students to join. Below are some of the common misconceptions science-oriented students have about APA and some information to assist you when encouraging fellow students to become affiliates.

Myth: Membership fees are too expensive.

Fact: Membership fees are very reasonable for student applicants.

The cost of membership fees is often an important factor when deciding whether to join an organization, especially for graduate students. However, students get much more than just a line in the “Professional Memberships” section of their CV when they pay APA’s nominal graduate student affiliate fee of $51. Students receive American Psychologist, the flagship journal of APA, as well as Monitor on Psychology, APA’s monthly news magazine. Additionally, students are automatically members in APAGS (American Psychological Association of Graduate Students), which means that students also receive a subscription to gradPSYCH, which is full of informative articles relevant to science-oriented students. Recent articles have covered topics such as working with your IRB and alternative dissertation formats. Student affiliates can also take advantage of discounts on APA electronic databases and journals to keep up with the latest research. Finally, student affiliates are offered discounted registration fees to attend the Annual Convention, an invaluable opportunity to learn of and present the latest research findings in psychological science.

Myth: APA is mainly for professional psychologists, not psychological scientists.

Fact: APA has numerous resources available to the psychological scientist.

APA’s structure includes a Science Directorate whose programs and activities are designed to enhance psychological science. One such program is the APA Science Student Council (APASSC), which represents the needs of and provides resources for science-oriented students. Other APA programs include those geared toward advocacy activities. Student affiliates can keep abreast of policy issues affecting psychological science by subscribing to the Science Policy Insider News (SPIN) and take an active role by joining the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN), which provides students with the tools they need to contact members of Congress about federal research funding and other policy matters. Once students are affiliates, they can also become members of APA divisions, which often include a strong emphasis on research. Finally, student affiliates are eligible for several scholarships and awards offered by the Science Directorate and APAGS for excellence in psychological science research. For example, the Science Directorate’s annual Dissertation Research Award program awards science-oriented students up to $5000 to assist with their research costs.

Myth: APA is too large to help meet one’s specific research needs.

Fact: APA can provide researchers with unique perspectives and specialized programs to help meet one’s research needs.

Although it’s a great idea to become a member of specialized organizations during graduate training, being part of an organization as diverse as APA means exposure to different ideas and viewpoints. Such exposure informs research and often allows students to discover new interests or opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Attending and presenting research at Convention is a great way to take advantage of this diversity as well as make APA feel smaller. Students often come home from Convention raving about the opportunities for one-on-one interaction with both fellow students and their research idols. APA can help address one’s specific research needs through its many division-specific listservs and the Science Oriented Grad Students listserv. Listservs are a great way for students to expand their networks and keep informed about psychological science.

You are now armed with the tools to motivate fellow students to join APA! We students are truly the future of psychological science. By becoming involved in the world’s largest organization of psychologists, we ensure that psychological science will continue to promote advances in human health and welfare for decades to come.