Lisa H. Ritchie, MBA is an Interpersonal Communication Instructor at UNC-Charlotte, where one of her duties is providing constructive feedback and coaching to students for future growth in the workplace. Formerly, Ms. Ritchie served as Coordinator of Student Success at Belmont Abbey College where she performed academic performance advising and managed the creation of a new Peer Mentoring program.
Students can find invaluable support by combining online research and academic tools and on-campus services such as academic advising and peer tutoring programs. In addition, campus career centers help students seek employment in the field of mental health. The following guide links to and discusses some of the most useful resources for psychology students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.
Lisa H. Ritchie from UNC-Charlotte discusses resources available to students, including career center and career mentoring.
Our career center at UNC-Charlotte is excellent. In fact, I work with the career center closely in my classroom. Experts from the center do a presentation for my students on interviewing and conduct, actually providing mock interview sessions and grading the students on them. They also do a second presentation on resume writing. By having these experts come into the classroom, it provides a channel into the career center. I explain to my students that these services can cost a lot of money on the open market–so now is the time to use these free campus resources, while they are here.
Our goal was to create a program for students who were struggling–remaining anonymous about what the particular struggles were–to help them be more successful academically. After defining the need for the program, we researched the benefits of existing local programs, hired, trained, and recruited core members and their job descriptions. I acted as the point person for issues and escalation. The program was very successful.
I work with juniors and seniors at UNC-Charlotte, helping them to develop skills they will need after leaving the university-how to walk into an interview, write and present a resume, how to get a job and keep a job, how to communicate in business. These are all essential skills in the workplace. I like to recommend the Jung Typology Test, which helps students discover which careers are the most suitable for their personality type. We also work on public speaking skills, and I find Toastmasters to be a valuable resource.
Although there are numerous online resources for psychology students, there are also fantastic resources right on campus. Here are three campus resources that support undergraduate and graduate psychology students.
Campus libraries are filled with resources for students, from online instructional tools to full-text resources and digital collections. Some of the most important components of a psychology library include:
Databases: Some campus libraries have their own databases. For example, at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCI), students can browse videos by topics, therapeutic approaches, and therapists in the PsycTHERAPY database. Most colleges and universities provide access to the following databases:
Interlibrary loan: If the library does not own specific articles, books, media, or other materials, students should be able to request them through Interlibrary Loan.
RefWorks: Many campuses offer this powerful web-based citation management tool that enables students to access citations from a number of databases, or manually enter citation information. It assembles entries in a variety of citation styles and will even compile a bibliography.
Free Search Alerts: Students can keep up with new developments in their area of research and build lit reviews by saving search alerts.
Whether a college or university has a general student academic affairs office or one that specializes in psychology, this resource supports students in many different ways. For example, some schools offer combination psychology/career center co-advising services. At the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the academic affairs office is called UNCC-PASS (Psychology Advising of Student Success). Some of the services offered by academic affairs include:
Juniors and seniors help undergraduate psychology students to analyze and assess progress. They also help students find courses that suit their goals and interests, discuss graduate school and career options, and look for research & independent study opportunities.
Academic advisors discuss courses and academic planning, current goals, future aspirations and personal experiences as psychology students prepare for graduate school. It’s a more formal process than a peer advisor program and usually available by appointment.
Faculty advisors are typically available by appointment for consultations about research opportunities, undergraduate preparation, graduate school, and post-grad opportunities.
Many graduate schools match graduate students with a faculty advisor who acts as career and research mentor. These mentors meet with students regularly to offer course guidance and discuss funding and research plans.
One resource that psychology students should never overlook is the career services center. Undergraduate and graduate students who want to further their education can get help as they explore programs and complete the application process. The staff at the career services center can advise psychology students about work-study opportunities on campus, as well as how to find off-campus jobs to finance their education.
Campus career services centers also assist students looking for internships, volunteer positions, and service opportunities. Students preparing to seek employment after graduation can find workshops and trainings on topics like building a LinkedIn profile and building a resume. They can also get details about career center-sponsored Career Fairs, find career guides, and learn about on-campus organizations that can be helpful for strengthening a resume.
For example, almost every college campus has a Graduate Association of Student Psychologists (GASP) program—and all graduate students are automatically members. GASP is a student-run organization and social network for forming friendships with fellow grad students and faculty members. Students can attend informational meetings about academic and social events that serve as a transition from college to the professional world.