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Psi Chi

What is Psi Chi

Psi Chi is Psychology's National Honors Society. It was founded in 1929 based on discussions that took place at KU. That is why we are Charter # 1!

Benefits of joining Psi Chi:

  • When you become a member of Psi Chi, you are a member for life.
  • You get to graduate wearing a special cord.
  • The documents a membership certificate and card which give tangible evidence of membership.
  • The references provided throughout one's lifetime (this service alone is worth the investment).
  • The experience gained by working with Psi Chi is excellent for building up a resume; it is difficult to attain that first managerial and creative experience.
  • Psi Chi is a springboard for professional growth. Opportunities are made available to the members for promoting their research, receiving national and international recognition, meeting and interacting with leaders in their field, and meeting Psi Chi members of other chapters who also will be future leaders.
  • The United States government recognizes membership in Psi Chi as meeting one of the requirements for entrance to the GS-7 security level in the Federal service.

Prospective members must:

  • Have a minimum 3.25 GPA overall (minimum 3.5 in Psychology).
  • Have completed at least three semesters of college.
  • Be a officially registered as a Psychology major or minor (or allied field emphasizing Psychology).
  • Have high standards of academic conduct (no academic misconduct on their record).
  • Must have completed at least 9 semester hours of psychology courses.

Check out the application for Psi Chi.

What's an Induction?

What is an induction ceremony?

An induction ceremony is the formal initiation into Psi Chi. We hope that all new initiates will choose to attend with their familes, partners, a good friend, or just yourself!

What will happen?

You will arrive at Genovese and be heartily greeted by the members of the Board, the Faculty Advisor, and the Department Chair. Once at your table, you may peruse the menu that Genovese has prepared especially for us. After orders are placed by the inductees and their families, the Board will begin their presentation. The history will be discussed, the events of the year, etc. Then, each inductee will be called by name to receive their certificates and lapel pins. Your parents will want a picture of this-- this is your moment!

Why should I do this?

Because we simply don't get enough pomp and circumstance in our lives. And this is fun! Plus, it gives the Faculty Advisor and Department Chair a chance to meet and greet your family and tell them how proud we are of you. Additionally, we will be showing off some of your accomplishments. It's great!

How long does it last?

No more than an hour and a half. While the staff is preparing lunch, we will read your name and present your certificates, during which the food will arrive. You enjoy your meal and depart with your family afterwards.

Why are you asking for a deposit for a table?

Because in the past, several RSVP and simply don't show up. Since the room (which we have to pay for) has capped capacity, we had to turn some inductees away when they wanted to attend at the last minute.

If you are a new member of Psi Chi and are interested in attending, please email for further information and to RSVP.

Contact Information

Dr. Ludwin Molina, Advisor
Office: [785] 864-9831
Clint Jensen, President
Carson Catalano, Vice-President
Yichi "Ken" Zhang, Treasurer
TBD , Secretary

Papa Don't Preach

It's true..."PAPA Don't Preach." But a little advice never hurt anyone, right? In this section of our web site you'll find lots of helpful tips, whether your ultimate goal is admission to graduate school, finding a career to fit with your psychology degree, or even if you're not really sure exactly what it is that you'd like to do. We're here to help you succeed and get the most out of your time at KU, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to send us an e-mail at

While it is certainly important to go to class and get good grades, there is so much more that can be done to really maximize your psychology degree. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that GPA is not even the most important factor considered by graduate admissions committees! With that idea in mind, let's take a look at some of the things you can do outside the classroom to really get the most out of your experience.

  • Research, Research, Research

    One of the most important things that you can do as an undergraduate, especially if you are entertaining the idea of going to graduate school, is to get involved as a research assistant. Getting involved is probably even a little easier than you might think. Most, if not all of your professors conduct research in a specific area of interest to them, and many of them are in need of undergraduates to assist them. This assistance can take a wide variety of forms, including data entry, collection, and analysis. You might also be interested to know that you can even get course credit (PSYC 480) for participating!

    Also, research is an excellent way to obtain excellent Letters of Recommendation.
  • So how do I get involved?

    Glad you asked! The first step is to identify a couple professors that you would potentially be interested in working with. Ideally, it should be an area in which you're interested, but it's not absolutely necessary. As long as you bring a positive attitude and strong work ethic to the lab, you can certainly focus on things that are more interesting to you a little further down the line. Research is also a great way to meet professors on a more personal basis than the classroom, and can be very helpful when it comes to having sources for letters of recommendation, which is absolutely essential if you are considering graduate study.

    One of the best ways to identify potential research advisors is to check out the KU Psychology department faculty page, where you can locate contact information, areas of expertise, and a brief summary of research interests for the professors here at KU. Pick out one or two that you might be interested in working with and send them an e-mail indicating your interest (click here for a note on email etiquette). Be sure to be polite and write formally, as this is someone who you should be trying to impress! If all goes well, they'll probably want to set up a meeting with you to discuss the research that they are doing and to make sure that you'll be a good fit in their lab. Additionally, it's important to note that you need not be enrolled in a professor's class to help with their research. If a professor that you don't have for class is doing research that you find exciting, feel free to contact them and ask if you can help.
  • OK, so I'm already involved in undergraduate research. What else can I do to maximize my undergraduate experience?

    There are a number of different things that you can do, starting with working on your networking skills. We've previously mentioned that letters of recommendation are important, so the more professors you know (or the more that know you), the better off you'll be when it becomes time to ask for those all-important letters. Some good ways to get to know your teachers are simple, but effective. For starters, be sure to go to office hours for all of your professors, if for no other reason than to introduce yourself! They are there to help, and it's always good when they can put a name with a face. It can also be to your benefit to get involved in a Psychology club (like PAPA!), as it will be a good way to meet peers, discuss issues, and meet some professors as well, all while becoming a little better known throughout the department.
  • What about the Honors program?

    The Honors program at KU can be another fantastic way to enhance your profile and your resume. Honors students conduct their own research in the form of an honors thesis, and they are among the best and brightest psychology majors at the university. For more information about requirements and signing up, check out the Psychology Honors web site.
  • Is there anything that I can do outside of school that would make me a more appealing candidate to graduate schools or to potential employers?

    Absolutely. There is always a need for volunteers in various mental health fields, and that can be a great thing to add to your resume. In Lawrence, check out the website for volunteering at Headquarters. It can be a great source for information about becoming a volunteer in a psychology-related field. You can also look into potential employment in a related field. University Career and Employment Services offers outstanding assistance when it comes to finding a job that is both interesting, and that will look great on your resume.


Duties – President:
- representative of Psi Chi and manager of all other positions
- responsible for contacting speakers two weeks in advance
- responsible for creating thank-you notes and distributing to other officers for speakers
- responsible for organizing speaker speeches and introductions
- responsible for fundraising opportunities and other events
- responsible for the creation and management of induction
Duties – Treasurer & Membership Officer :
- responsible for collecting Psi Chi and PAPA applications
- responsible for maintaining and updating Excel records
- responsible for contacting Psi Chi and PAPA members about acceptance & updates
- responsible for all monies from events, cords, membership, induction, etc.
Duties – Public Relations (PR) / Advertising:
- responsible for the creation and distribution of meeting flyers
- responsible for inviting members to events/meetings
- responsible for maintaining the Facebook group
Duties – Communications Officer:
- responsible for updating and the maintenance of the Psi Chi website
- responsible for contacting Psi Chi/PAPA members about meetings
- responsible for contacting Psi Chi/PAPA members about other important news
Duties – Secretary:
- must attend ALL meetings, including board meetings
- responsible for taking notes and emailing notes for officers during Psi Chi meetings
Duties – Faculty Advisor:
- responsible for depositing and writing checks
- helps organize group's goals

The National Psi Chi website has additional information and descriptions listed under "Chapter Officer Guidelines."

Letters of Recommendation

Dear Students,

The following material was provided by Dr. Dan Bernstein, a psychologist who heads up our Center for Teaching Excellence. He is supportive of students and knows what he is talking about; his advice and description of the procedure are fabulous and well-worth listening to! Letters of recommendation, by the way, can carry a lot of weight.

Read on....

To: Undergraduate Students

From: Dan Bernstein

Re: Letters of Recommendation

It is an important part of my job that I provide you with letters describing your academic activities and make recommendations for decisions about your possible employment or further education. I am pleased to help you by providing letters and by responding to questions on standard forms that come from employers, graduate schools, or other settings for further education. I would like to have you learn a bit about the process and about the kinds of letters that are written; this way, I believe you will find the most effective people to write letters that reflect your uniqueness and your strengths.

Basis of My Letters

As a general rule, I write almost exclusively from first-hand knowledge and experience with you and with your work. Therefore it is important that you look carefully at the dimensions that are important for a particular school or employer; you should be certain that the kind of interactions you and I have had will give me sufficient grounds to answer the questions asked. For someone I have known exclusively in a class, I am pretty comfortable writing about school skills, verbal facility (written and oral), and general academic potential; I would be less confident that I can attest to your emotional maturity, leadership potential, social skills, likely success as a clinician, or other more personal characteristics. Sometimes a resume or personal statement will give me a fact or two that I can use to amplify a point I want to make, but the core of my recommendation must come from personal experience. Inevitably the material for the most convincing letters comes from experiences that have occurred outside the usual classroom setting; those interactions can take place while working on research or teaching together, or it can come from conversations outside of class.

Kinds of Letters

As both a writer of letters and someone who reads dozens of recommendation letters each year, I can offer you some sense of the classes of letters that are produced. First, there is the basic letter that describes your performance in one or two classes; this letter will repeat the grades and include an anecdote about class participation or maybe a term paper topic. Sometimes I can write a basic-plus letter that describes an occasional out of class conversation that confirms the plans, goals, and values articulated in your personal statement. Second, there is a moderate letter that describes your performance in more than two classes, along with some form of collaboration beyond class. This letter allows for examples of your taking initiative or responsibility in some form of non-standard effort, and the context is appropriate for drawing inferences that communicate more than what is found in the grades on the transcript. Finally, there are genuinely strong letters based on two or more classes and extended collaboration, including some independent work beyond assisting in an ongoing project. Interactions in this context allow me to give examples of performance that indicate an advanced level of maturity, creativity, and independent responsibility. When asked to evaluate whether someone would successfully complete a graduate program, this is the kind of repertoire I would like to describe. These situations also naturally provide opportunities for conversation about plans and goals, and there is more evidence of personal qualities that are obscured by the roles taken in classes.

Match Between Letters and Uses

Each of these classes of letters has real, positive value, but it is important to recognize the best situation for each kind of letter. For most employment contexts, the reader wants to know that you are capable of learning new things, in possession of basic academic skills, and a reliable participant. All of those elements can be observed in the basic type of letter. Certain kinds of internship positions are also well served by the basic letter, though it is a plus to include some confirmation of your stated interest in the field being served. For further education that is not a psychology graduate program, the basic letter is also useful, though stronger letters would certainly help. Competition for admission to Masters level programs in psychology, counseling, and social work has become much stiffer in the last decade, and often the basic letter is not enough to make you stand out among many applicants who have the basic academic qualifications. A letter in the moderate class gives the reader an opportunity to learn more than just grades, and it should provide more clues to your likely success in a Masters degree program. For a realistic chance at admission to a Ph.D. program in all areas of psychology, you should have at least one strong letter that gives plenty of first-hand knowledge of your unusual and independent skills as a student. People do not expect you to have gone beyond what is possible for an undergraduate, but there are many more qualified undergraduates than there are places in Ph.D. programs. Once the piles are arranged by grades and GREs, there are still decisions to be made, and those students with a personal letter describing a rich range of independent activities will stand out in that selection process.

Letter Strategy

As you go through your education in psychology, be sure to identify opportunities for the kinds of interactions that lead to letters of the stronger types. If you are asking for a letter in the fall of your last year, there is relatively little you can do to change the nature of your interactions with letter writers. At this point your strategy should be to note the kinds of information asked for in the letter (often in very small print near a large empty space) and give the form to people who can provide that kind of information. Sometimes this will not be an academic person.

Protocol for Requesting Letters

Following the list below should make your job more straightforward and make it easier for me to process your letters.

  1. Provide a list of all employers or schools, including the group or person to whom the letter should be addressed (e.g., Graduate Admissions Committee, Personnel Director); highlight on this list the due date, whether or not there is a standard form, and whether the letter is sent directly to the program/employer or to you for transmittal with your application.
  2. Include an addressed, stamped envelope for each letter. Editor's note: I would like to add that you should not put your home address as the return address. The professor will put his/her university address here.
  3. For each letter, list the job title or name of program and specific degree for which you are applying (e.g., M.A. in counseling, Ph.D. in Psychology, Staff Client Coordinator).
  4. If there is a standard form, be certain that it is filled in completely. This includes both your name and mine, as well as my office address and affiliation. If there is a waiver statement, be certain that you have marked your choice of option (either is acceptable to me) and signed the document.

    Editor's note: Some professors will not write a letter unless you have waived your right to see it. Also, letter-readers prefer to see this right waived because they can be more sure that the letter is honest. Check with your letter-writer if you are unsure. Also, a professor may prefer to fill in their own information- they often have an address stamp and can answer questions concerning rank which the student may not be able to.

    I would also add that a typed application looks especially good.
  5. A copy of your personal statement that you will be sending with your materials (if appropriate); if none is asked for, give a one paragraph statement of your goals related to this application and why you are a good fit for the position or program.
  6. You may also wish to include a brief (two pages maximum) vitae or resume that describes your academic and non-academic experiences (projects, school groups, employment, volunteer activities, cultural activities). Occasionally these activities will fit in with the letter I can write based on my own experiences; please help me by pointing out such connections if you include a resume.

Still Worth Doing

I know that this is a daunting task, and I am sorry to lay out so much information and so many guidelines. Because this is an important part of your educational or job career, it is important that you know how to make the most of your recommendation letters.

Additional Note:

Students sometimes believe that because they feel they know a professor well, that so too must the professor know them well. You may have had 2-3 classes with a professor, but if you didn't stand out- the sad truth is- the professor may not even pair your name with your face!

Be sure to take some time to let your professors know you. I have heard students assert that they do not stop by to see profs because they are 'independent'. Fine, but this 'independence' won't get you a good letter.

Graduate School

So you're considering moving on to studies at the graduate level? Great!

With that decision, however, comes a great deal of anxiety. Much of that stress can stem from a lack of knowledge about what grad school is really like. With that in mind, PAPA invited the experts in the area, a panel of first-year grad students, to field questions from undergrads and to talk a little about their experience early in their careers. Here is some of the information that we learned on that night:

Don't Be Alarmed

Don't be alarmed if you find that you don't understand a great deal of the reading, terminology, etc. during the first year of your studies. As one student on the panel told those in attendance, she found that she was only understanding about 25% of what was going on initially. While she felt this was a problem at the beginning, she would soon learn that she was in the same boat as everyone else, and that she would pick it up as she goes.

Change Your Way of Thinking

Another student informed the group that some of the best advice he could offer is to be willing to change your entire way of thinking in graduate school. That is, it's a completely different experience than undergraduate work, so treating it like undergrad can lead to some problems. Realizing that graduate school places a greater emphasis on things like research and reading, and less emphasis on tests, will allow you to manage your time more efficiently and be a better grad student.

Taking a Year Off

Many students fear that taking a year off will somehow harm them in the admissions process or in some other way if they are considering graduate school. While there are a number of factors that must go into this decision for each individual, our panel included students who had gone straight from undergraduate to graduate work, as well as some who had taken a year or two off. The students who had taken time off seemed to agree that it was not a bad thing for them, and can actually be a positive experience, depending on your individual circumstances.

Clinical vs. Counseling Psychology

This was a popular topic of discussion among PAPA members in attendance at the meeting, as a great deal of them expressed their interest in wanting to use their Psychology degrees to help people in a clinical capacity. Many of them were unsure, however, whether graduate work in clinical psychology or counseling psychology would suit their particular needs. The panel had some helpful advice in this area, and clarified the difference between clinical and counseling psychology, and what kind of work can be done with each.

Clinical psychology programs tend to be more focused on psychopathology in the clinical training that you will receive. That is, clinical psychology tends to teach its students to identify and assess disorders, and then to treat those disorders with psychotherapy. Counseling psychology, on the other hand, is more focused on providing patients with social support, and is likely to deal less with individuals with serious mental issues. Counseling psychologists may tend to see more individuals who are just in need of a little extra help, leaving patients with severe problems to clinical psychologists. More about the difference between clinical and counseling psychology can be found at the Society of Counseling Psychology Division 17.

CUDCP (Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology) has established a general information page for students considering applying to graduate programs in preparation for a career in clinical psychology. The page helps students by providing information about the various types of programs and requirements so they, in collaboration with advisors, can decide what is best for them. See the CUDP 2011 Graduate School Fact Sheet

What about the Psy.D.?

The Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) is a degree that has come about more recently, and is probably a good choice for individuals who would like to receive clinical training, but have little or no interest in research. These programs focus almost entirely on clinical training, and don't require a dissertation like a Ph.D. program would. Instead, students in the Psy.D. program will do a "Senior Project," which can take a number of forms and is based on the interests of the student. While these programs are a helpful alternative for many, an important drawback is the cost. These programs can be quite expensive, since they are typically not funded like Ph.D. programs. If you would like to know more about the difference between the Psy.D. and the Ph.D., see Margaret Lloyd's Careers in Psychology Page.

Can I Work in Graduate School?

This is a question that can vary from program to program, but the idea among students in our panel is that it is very difficult to have a job while completing graduate school. It can be a huge demand on your time, and there simply may not be enough hours in the day for a job as well. However, many doctoral students do benefit from teaching or research assistantships, for which they are compensated with tuition waivers and/or stipends. This is definitely something to look at when choosing a graduate program.

Email Etiquette

Many professors prefer to be contacted by email rather than, say, a phone call or a drop in. That's because they tend to be busy during the day, and an email can be read at a time right for them (often at odd hours). Many if not most profs are very good at replying. If you've heard nothing within a week, it's ok to try again. Persistence often pays.

Keep in mind, you're not emailing a friend. Do not write 'hi' or 'hello' in the subject line. Better, write something like 'research in your lab' or 'psyc 480'. Do not send attachments and avoid adding backgrounds and smilie faces. Steer clear from slang.

Always address the recipient in the body with "Dr.". It is true that not all of the researchers at KU have their PhD, nor do all of the instructors. But all of the faculty do. If you're not sure who is faculty and who isn't, or who has their PhD (earning them the title 'Dr.') and who doesn't, it is much better to err on the side of caution and call someone "Dr." who technically isn't. In fact, it will make their day.

If you call a professor by their first name, or worse, by their nickname, don't be surprised if they don't get back to you.

Don't forget to sign your name, first name and last. Leave off your nickname as well.

What not to do:

Subj: Whazzzup!

Hi Greg (aka The 'Simsters')!

I heard you're doing research on language stuff. I'd like to get involved. I don't have much time though and would like to do stuff every other Tues from 3-4:45, unless there's a basketball game. Please let me know.

Amanda (aka "Chicken Little")

p.s. I like your car!! :)

Much better:

Subj: Research opportunities

Dear Dr. Simpson,

I understand you are conducting research on perception and language. I would be very interested to get involved. Do you have any psyc 480 opportunities? I am a junior and am keenly interested in gaining research experience for grad school. I am a committed student, enthusiastic worker, and this experience is a priority for me.

Thank you very much in advance.

Amanda Reckonwith


Cord Application

Honor Cords

It's getting close to graduation time, and Psi Chi members get the opportunity to graduate with a stylish Honors Cord!

Applications are due by April 30. Please turn in your check and your filled out Honor Cord Application form to the Psi Chi box in 426 Fraser. A Psi Chi officer will then contact you in order to confirm your application and to direct you to Dr. Molina to pick up your cord.

Honor Cord Application

Contact Information

Clint Jensen:
Psi Chi:

Apply Now

For those of you who are interested in becoming a Psi Chi member.

Steps to Apply:

Step1: Go to

Step2: Go to “JOIN” (don’t click on it). Then click on “Become a Member”. Go to the button of the page and click on the orange button “APPLY NOW”. After that, hit the blue button “APPLY NOW” in the next page.

Step3: Fill out the application form.

Step4: Turn in a physical copy of your DPR and a $70 check ($55 for Psi Chi, $15 chapter fee) paid to Psi Chi to the Psychology department main office, 426 Fraser.

Prospective members must:

  • Have a minimum 3.25 GPA overall (minimum 3.5 in Psychology).
  • Have completed at least three semesters of college.
  • Be an officially registered as a Psychology major or minor (or allied field emphasizing Psychology).
  • Have high standards of academic conduct (no academic misconduct on their record).
  • Must have completed at least 9 semester hours of psychology courses.


Psi Chi / PAPA can be contacted via e-mail at, or contact any of the officers about joining via email.

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