Before any student spends the time and effort applying to grad schools in psychology, some soul-searching needs to be done to determine if they’re pursuing the right degree in the first place. Many students think they know — but have no idea — about the level of scholastic work that is required throughout grad school. Graduate school is not Undergrad 2.0. And for a lot of reasons, it is really not a good idea to apply to grad school because you cannot find employment or have no other idea what to do with your life.
Ph.D. programs are research-intensive. The goal of graduate study is not to simply consume knowledge, but to create it. Therefore, Ph.D. students spend quite a lot of time reading tons of academic journal articles, discussing journal articles, and critiquing journal articles in preparation for designing research that will eventually be featured in journal articles. Did I forget to mention the importance of journal articles?
You won’t only just be reading, but you’ll be doing a heck of a lot of statistical analysis. Hand in hand with creating original research is statistical analysis. Gotta find out those stunning results, right? You might not ever get to the point of loving statistics, but you must definitely master stats. (And I assure you, there are indeed more than your fair share of statistical geeks in psychology.) You and SPSS will become good friends over the course of 5-6 years of graduate study. Even if you plan on enrolling in a Ph.D program in Clinical Psychology, you will have to become a stats guru. (Or at least master the particular statistical method you will be using).
The very first step to get into a doctoral program in psychology is to figure out if this is indeed the right educational path for you. If the mere thought of a career dealing with the ins and outs statistics sounds like a nightmare, then I urge you to reconsider applying to Ph.D. programs in the first place. If psychology is still your intended career, there are definitely other career paths than the research-intensive doctoral program route. But if you’re pretty good with stats, then you’re already on the fast track to getting into a top ranked Ph.D. program in psychology.