Psychology grad school fair

Written by: Forest Schostalo | Freelancer

The Psychology Peer Advising Center, PsychPAC, will hold a graduate school fair on May 21 in the Werner University Center. The event will run from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Columbia Room and will have at least 13 programs in attendance. 

When asked about the importance of this event, John Thoma, PsychPAC’s graduate school coordinator, said, “Many people don’t know how to go about grad school; this is their very first time showing interest. The mystery creates a lot of questions, but you don’t always know which ones you are supposed to ask.” 

This will be the second-ever graduate school fair that PsychPAC has hosted, following the success of last year’s event. According to Thoma, the event will be a great way for students interested in graduate school to not only learn more about graduate school but also become acquainted with the people who work at these schools. “Go in representing yourself and the best person that you are. These are the people who could be interviewing you when you apply, that’s how it was for me at Geroge Fox,” said Thoma.

In preparation for the Grad Fair, PsycPAC curated a list of Dos and Don’ts for students attending the event. They suggest preparing several questions in advance to get a full picture of what the school has to offer. They also suggest talking to the school one is most interested in last to get some practice before seeing them. Finally, they suggest wearing something that is more professional. If one doesn’t have anything professional, the Stitch Closet on campus can help.

PsychPAC also puts forward some don’ts. Don’t only look at the information on the table, instead talk to the attendants to obtain a full understanding of what they have to offer. Don’t leave mid-conversation if you discover you aren’t interested in the school, finish the conversation, and politely excuse yourself and thank them for their time. Finally, don’t save questions for a later time —this is a good opportunity to ask any questions, including about topics like financial aid or what they are looking for in an application, as some topics are better off not mentioned in an interview. 

PsychPAC serves as a way for psychology majors at Western to get advice from their peers who are also involved in the psychology program. The advisors include people at various levels within the major, with varied career aspirations and who have taken different courses within the program. They can help with registering for classes, removing advising holds, understanding degree tracks and more. They are located in Todd Hall, Room 339, and are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Several advisors from PsychPAC will be at the event ready to answer questions from students. “This is a perfect opportunity to gain information about grad school. You can then immediately come over to our table to make a plan to make that goal happen,” Thoma said. “We can help make a schedule for next year or figure out what classes or volunteer opportunities you should focus on.” 

The center will also be open during its normal hours on the day of the event for people who have any questions.

Many of the colleges with psychology-related graduate programs from across the state will be in attendance at the fair: private universities like George Fox and Pacific University, Public universities like Oregon State and the University of Oregon and even Western Oregon and its new Occupational Therapy Program will be represented. 

A full list of the universities that will be represented at the fair, what programs they offer, if they are accredited in any way and what makes these programs unique and special is available on the PsychPAC website.

For anyone who may be nervous about attending an event like the Graduate School fair, Thoma has some advice. “It’s okay to not know everything, that’s why we do these things. You can talk to these people and say it’s your first grad school fair and just by doing that you’ll learn what kinds of things you need to ask, don’t be afraid to not know.” 

Any questions about the event can be directed towards the PsychPAC email: or can be asked in person during their operating hours.

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