Once the application deadline has past, the psychology department at each university will go through the applications and begin to make selections as to who they might want to invite for interviews. There is no guide to being selected to interview but there are some characteristics that have been speculated to help improve one’s chances. These are in no way the actual guidelines, merely characteristics that selection panels consider;
- Academic ability – distinction in undergrad and honours.
- Ability to speak other languages.
- Life history.
- Work experience.
- Travel experience.
- Volunteer experience.
- Group dynamics and fit.
- Ability to be successful during the Master’s program and after.
- An X-factor that makes a student stand out from the crowd.
Each university has a different selection process and it is difficult to generalise about what is included in each. Every year the universities receive hundreds of applications and unfortunately there are very limited spaces available to train psychologists at a Master’s level. Limited spaces are due to a number of compounded issues such as limited funding and resources, limited positions for internships at accredited institutions, limited personnel for training and supervision, etc.
To give context to the limited amount of spaces available; universities around South Africa are able to facilitate between 6 and 12 psychology Master’s students per year, per program. This equates to less than 7% of psychology students gaining entry into an accredited program each year.
Unfortunately this is the reality of Psychology in South Africa at the moment. Without radical transformation to the policies and regulations surrounding the training and development of psychologists in South Africa, there will continue to be such demanding and rigorous aspects to the selection and interview processes as a master’s level.
One of the main objectives of this information platform created here is to help build realistic expectations in regards to the journey taken by students on the path towards becoming a psychologist.