Mark Your Calendar - Upcoming Event!!!

The UN Advising Office is offering Walk-ins in the afternoon: Monday - Friday from 1 PM - 3 PM, in room 100 PSY Building.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Undergraduate Competencies

There has been lots of talk in the national news recently about choosing a major.  Some of these discussions range from: career paths taken by students, satisfaction in their career, cost of major vs. salary after graduation, popular majors, (Of course, we all know the answer: PSYCHOLOGY!!), male vs. female dominated fields, etc…  (I digress, back to our scheduled topic)  What are some competencies that all students need regardless of your major?

Many PSY students start out with the premise that they are studying to become a clinical psychologist.  With this assumption, the next logical path is attending graduate school.  However, research has shown us that only 4-6% of graduating psychology students continue and enter a graduate program in psychology.  Of course, many choose to pursue other graduate degrees: MA, MSW, MBA, JD, etc…  However, these numbers still remain somewhat small.  These facts are not to discourage, but rather to inform you of the reality of your chosen academic path. 

The question then becomes what happened to the majority of these graduating psychology students.  (I am so glad you asked.)    Many graduating seniors don’t have much of a choice.  With the reality of the final cost of an undergraduate degree (bill statement in black & white), most students will need to be gainfully employed and start paying off these student loans.  Others may be unsure about where their interests lie, want to take some time off, or are not interested in a post-graduate education.  Whatever the reasons may be, looking for a job is the next step. 

There are certain competencies that are essential whether you are applying for a graduate program or a job.  These are some ideas for consideration:

What you can do in psychology is determined not just by completing a PSY degree but also by the following:
KSAO – knowledge, skills, abilities, & other characteristics.  Many companies are looking for students to have gained some major competencies while completing their undergraduate degree.
  • Academic skills – you can show academic excellence through your major courses as well as other areas.  You have excelled academically in all types of courses.  Varied academic background in courses such as; logic & reasoning, language, physiology, culture, etc….
  • Technical skills – the ability to use all Microsoft Office programs installed on your computer. (If you can not name them, then you have a problem.)   Proficient with using various technological and social media tools (professional not just personal usage) to get the work done: email, presentation, data-excel, etc…
  • Communication – effectively communicate verbally and in written formats.  Know and understand how to write in full sentences.  Learn and express yourself using the proper grammar and the correct syntax.
  • Problem solving skills – Demonstrate the ability to learn new tasks and to expand on knowledge given and received.  Working independently to research and solve problems that consistently arise. 

Who you know – networking
Networking is essential in making connections to different people and opportunities.  Networking is found to be the #1 source of finding a good job.  It is also the top source for job leads.  A person’s network can include but is not limited to friends, family, co-workers, professors, internship supervisors, etc…

What you are passionate about
Research and have a deeper understanding of what and why you want to pursue a particular field of study, or career.  Most employers are not looking for an emotional response on: “how or what you feel”.  This verbalization should be very factual and informative.

Professionalism – Show that you can function in a “work” setting.  What does this mean?  Punctuality - be on time, dependability, flexibility, self management, attention to detail, etc….  Your attitude and behavior indicate your aptitude to work in a diverse environment and group.  Body language can say much about what we do not say aloud….  As a soon to be graduate, think of the organizations that you are involved in.  Leadership roles are excellent ways to exhibit many of the above competencies.  Also do not forget to join professional associations and attend local or regional conferences.  These opportunities allow you to interact with experts in the field.
Stay tuned, maybe next time we will tackle, what you should know and do when opportunities come your way.


KSAOs as well as most of the above subject areas are covered in many HR books such as:
Your Career: How to Make it Happen. Lauri Harwood
Staffing Organizations, 7th edition.  Heneman, H. G. III, Judge, T.A., & Kammeyer-Mueller, J.D. (2012). 
Graduate Statistics from: American Psychological Association website.

Graduate School Preparation

We have 2 excellent events coming up.  Hope many will attend.  Don't miss out on these 2 opportunities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall 2013 Seminars & Events

We have scheduled some events that we have found very beneficial.  Please take a look and attend as many as you can.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On your mark, get set, GO….

Yes, summer seems to have flown by and a new academic year has begun.  Where did the time go? That is the way of college life: fast and furious (oops, that is also the title of a summer blockbuster with Van Diesel & Tyrese). Unfortunately there will be no high flying cars and actions in your class, but I can’t guarantee zero drama!!  So, let’s begin this semester on some good, solid academic footing. Setting goals are necessary for success.  One must set goals, priorities, and accountability.  While setting goals, it is important they are achievable, realistic, clear and specific.  

Setting Goals:
Goals do not consist of a laundry list of “ALL” the things that you would like to get done, just a few key desired outcomes.  These are accomplishments that you want to achieve in a 3-6 month time period.  In most cases, it is establishing 4-5 goals per semester.  As you set the goals, you need to understand what and why?
Some recommendations would be:
      Build relationships with faculty
Develop and improve skills such as communication, presentation, active listening
Take ownership of your education
Achieve/maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for the semester
Plan and attend 2-3 activities such as: fairs, workshops, seminars, study groups, etc...
Get involved with one campus or community group
Gain experience through volunteering, research, or a job, internships

The Proverbs say: without a vision, the people perish. Write down your goal/vision for the semester. Once you have set these goals, then steps can be established to accomplish them.  Planning steps wisely and establishing a time-frame will help keep you focused and on track.  Create a list of activities that will support the achievement for each goal.  Again, start small.   Since many of these goals are written down, it will be easier to keep track of them.  They become more attainable, and you grow as you achieve these set goals.  Also, you can plan accordingly on how to reach these written goals.

Setting Priorities:
In my life, sometimes it feels like everything is important and should be done “right now”.  (Again, our fast, quick and in a hurry mentality in our society.) In fact, it is not necessarily so.  Take a step back and prioritize.  In prioritizing goals, you are setting up an order of importance.  What is the most pressing activity that will yield the most benefit?  In classifying your goals, you can establish specific activities that will help you reach these goals.  Once that is established, then you can move forward and act accordingly. 
For example, if one goal is to: “achieve & maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA”, then these are some activities you may engage in:
Check your schedule & make sure you are in the right classes
Do a complete review of all your course syllabi 
Become familiar and write in your planner important due dates for exams and projects. 
Set up "regular" study time throughout the week.  Make it a daily occurrence.
Attend office hours/ speak with class instructor once a month for each enrolled class.

Many of us have a fear of accountability when it comes to our own self. According to the dictionary, it means simply to be responsible to yourself for your own actions.  Yes, we can set goals and prioritize, but we lack accountability.  What does that mean personally?  It is to track and monitor your own progress.  It is making sure that you hold your own self responsible for what you have set out to do.  Are you completing the tasks/activities that you have set to achieve a positive outcome?  These are your academics and your education.  As a college student, you are in the driver’s seat and will determine the outcome of your education.

Why go through all of these gyrations? As you work toward a goal it can provide you with challenges and motivation to do better.  Ultimately it will impact your attitude, behavior and performance.

There are tons of theories on goal setting and the impact on the individual and organization.  One of the most popular is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, result-focus/relevant, and time-bound.  You should check the many websites to learn about SMART.  Believe it or not, there are tons of research, Youtube videos, and an APP for that too.  Get SMART!!

References & links:
Weblinks to goal setting theory:

Setting Personal Goals:

Goal setting & goal orientation:

Youtube videos
Goal setting: