UPDATE: 2018-2019 Admissions Cycle – Dr. Huo will be reviewing applications for graduate work in the Social Relations Lab.
Thank you for your interest in the UCLA Social Psychology Program and in the Social Relations Lab. Please visit the Psychology Department Webpage for information about deadlines and the graduate application process. For specific questions about how to apply, please contact our Graduate Admissions Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are my answers to some questions that students typically wonder about. I hope they are helpful.
1. What happens after I submit my application?
In the social area, we begin reviewing applications in December and conduct phone or skype interviews with a short list of candidates. In January/February, a small group of students will be invited to visit, and admissions decisions will be made some time after interview weekend.
2. What do you look for in prospective students?
I review the entire application packet including the self-statement, letters of recommendation, academic record, and supplementary materials (e.g., writing sample, CV). What I am looking for is evidence of several factors (see below) which together provide a holistic assessment that a student will excel in graduate studies.
Fit of research interests with advisor and with the graduate program
You will be happiest and most successful if you and your graduate advisor share compatible interests. Our lab webpage includes an overview of the type of problems we work on and our approach along with PDFs of publications. Read a publication or two that appeal to you. If after all this, you find yourself excited about the general types of problems we work on and our research approach appeals to you, that’s a good sign that we have mutual research interests. In addition, check out our program requirements and the other faculty in the social psychology program with related interests. It is also important that there is good fit between the training we provide and that you feel the intellectual community here is one that you can see yourself happy being a part of.
Prior research experience
Before you commit to 4-5 years of graduate studies, you should know what it will be like. There is no better way to get a sense of whether the research life is for you then to jump in and try it out.
Evidence of persistence
Research from inception to publication is an extended process with bumps along the way. I look for students who have demonstrated persistence and resilience in the face of adversity and challenges.
All are important to success in graduate studies.
The rigor of your coursework and grades are good (but not perfect) indicators of success in graduate school. I take into account this factor in conjunction with all the other factors.
3. Do you have any tips about what to do or what not to do?
Specify your interest in a graduate advisor in your self-statement.
f you are excited about the type of problems faculty are working on, let us know! It also important to clearly describe your interests and how you think they fit into the work we do.
Obtain letters from faculty who know you well.
Undergraduate or post-bac advisors and instructors in smaller classes are excellent potential letter writers. They can speak to your strengths and provide assessments of your motivation to pursue graduate studies in social psychology and to tell us a bit about you as a person. At least one (more is better) of your letter writers should be able to provide a detailed assessment of your research experiences, your achievements, and your record of achievements and persistence.
Provide a writing sample (e.g., your senior honors thesis, a research paper).
Good luck with the application process!