Samantha is a 1st year Educational Psychology Trainee at Newcastle University. On Wednesday 4th of November 2020, Samantha hosted a Twitter Q&A session via the @BIPPNetwork account as part of the #NewFaceofPsychology campaign.
Check out her helpful tips and answers to aspiring psychologists' questions in the thread:
Hi Samantha you say your experience was in research, what was your role? Also, how long did it take you to get accepted for the doctorate?
I was a research assistant working in universities and as a research assistant for a computing education foundation. I then gained experience as a TA and an Assistant EP. I got onto the course on my second attempt.
In your case, did you go for previous work roles because they will boost your chances during your EP application for the doctorate, or was it just a happy coincidence? How early did you know you wanted to be an EP?
I then unsuccessfully applied for the doctorate and the feedback received was that I needed to reflect more on the role of the EP so I applied for many AEP roles and was lucky to gain one. But there are many ways to gain experience and most courses value diversity in cohort experience!
If you have an aspiration to be an EP, do all your work experience have to relate to the education system?
Not necessarily. I know people have managed to get onto the course through working as a CwP/Assistant Clin Psych. All you need to do is demonstrate that you have 1 years experience working with children, can comment on how you have applied psychology and can reflect and state how this relates to your knowledge of the UK education system
What kind of jobs did you have before you got a place on the doctorate?
I did a lot of volunteering - Code Club and girl guides, Research assistant work - looking at the attainment gap in South Africa Uni's; Investigating memory in UK uni students, TA work - Primary mainstream school; Secondary special school and finally, Assistant educational psych.
I'm defo gonna look into some of those volunteering organisations, thank you! Was any experience specifically significant and why? Did you do reflective journals or anything? How did you keep up to date with what was happening in psych or improve your understanding of it?
For me working as a TA was significant and my experiences formed the basis of my personal statement. Personally, I was able to meet some amazing young people and staff. Professionally, The staff was really supportive and allowed me to run mini research projects and shadow multi agency meetings, put me in contact with the School EP
What made you want to become an educational psychologist? What drew you to the career?
I was drawn to how (I believe) educational psychology has values of social justice and inclusion at the heart of the profession. I also really love working with children :)
What was the biggest barrier to getting onto the course?
Mmm. I think in the beginning, the biggest barrier was finding a network of people in the EP community to find out more about the profession and the application process.
How did you communicate your experience in your application?
The advice I was given was focus on 2 or 3 examples that demonstrate how you applied psych. Focus on what you did, Why you did it, What the psychology used was. Then reflect on it but by saying what you learnt/what went well and what you would do differently next time.
Stay up to date with the campaign activities on social media via the hashtag #NewFaceOfPsychology