Applying to School Psych Master’s/Specialist Programs?

Hello! If you found this page, it might be due to an interest in School Psychology or psychology graduate programs. This is my advice as someone who applied to master’s/specialist programs. I know that I struggled to find relevant information when I was applying, so I am trying to create a helpful resource for others. I have also included links to other resources at the bottom of the page. Definitely check those out! I hope that you find it helpful!

If you are applying soon, good luck with your applications!

My Background

I applied to all master’s/specialist in-state programs for school psych (North Carolina). For the most part, the applications were fairly similar. I had the main essay draft (personal statement) that I wrote and modified to better fit for the individual school (e.g., state which parts of the specific school/program appeal to me); one program had a short response section instead of a personal statement.

It’s similar to how you applied to college, making sure you have the prerequisite courses (if the program you are applying for requires statistics, etc), entrance exam (if GRE is not waived), personal statement, CV/resume, 3 letter of recommendations, and background info.

I applied to 4 schools, got asked to interview at 3, and got accepted by 3. I also had some people read my personal statement before I submitted my application. I sent a list of characteristics/experiences to my LOR writers to help them create a stronger letter as well.

Note: One of my LOR writers “ghosted” me at the last second (no letter = pure panic near the application deadline), so it is good to have an idea of a backup letter writer in case you need it!

Building Up Your Application

When I was setting up my CV and essay, I was trying to highlight things that I think would make me a strong candidate. For example, I had done volunteering experiences with kids (e.g., tutoring) and victim advocacy. If you have experience in education or working with children, that’s a plus. If not, think about how other experiences you have may have helped you develop skills that make a strong school psych.

Get to Know Your Programs

Another helpful source specifically about each program could be their student handbooks (often posted on the program page). That gives really detailed info like all of the courses, requirements, etc.


If you get invited for an interview (mine were virtual), this blog post may be helpful to review! After my own interview season, I summarized the general process, including some common interview questions. Check it out!

Also, you might be asked why you chose this field instead of school counseling or something else, so you want to make sure that you know why this field specifically interests you. The NASP site could be very helpful in learning more! My blog post on the field of school psychology may also be helpful! I have several school psychology resources listed within that blog post!

Financial Aspects

Initially, I was not offered a graduate assistantship in my current program. However, I applied to one for the graduate school and got it (20 hrs/week for the first year). So, even if you are not given a GA position right away, there may be many openings!

Some programs allow for out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition. See if that is a possibility!

Also, some areas have forgivable loans (e.g., FELS in North Carolina) for high-demand careers such as School Psychology. Check them out!

Additional Resources

Some graduate students and psychologists/professors have made Google Drives with many resources for graduate school applicants!

Dr. Ruthie Walker’s Graduate School Resources- Google Drive

Julie Cristello’s Resources – Google Drive

YouTube channels of current graduate students and early career school psychs:

Tiffany Lee’s YouTube Channel

Erica Carter’s YouTube Channel

Psychin’ Out has a Slack channel for School-Psychology which might be helpful for reaching out to others:

Good luck with your applications! I wish you the best this application season!

If you have any additional school psychology-related resource suggestions, please let me know in the comments below!

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