As a psychology student, you may want to begin putting your education to work in a job or volunteer position related to the field of psychology.
If you would like to gain more experience in the field, there are many on- and off-campus opportunities—some paid and some volunteer—open to you.
The following experiences are items you could later put on your resume or applications for graduate school. The list is by no means exhaustive; you may find other opportunities not listed that give you a place to apply the learning you are doing in the classroom.
Service-Learning Center (SLC)
The Service-Learning Center provides opportunities for Calvin students to engage with community organizations in the Grand Rapids area. You may find that some of your classes include a service-learning component. You can also work with the SLC to find your own volunteer situation.
Search for service-learning opportunities
Student Academic Services (SAS)
Student Academic Services aids Calvin students in becoming more capable and productive in work. As a psychology major, you can become a tutor for SAS if you have upperclassmen status, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a recommendation from a faculty member from the psychology department.
Resident Assistant (RA)
Resident Assistants are appointed to maintain open communication with residents and to promote spiritual, academic and social growth in the residence halls and in Knollcrest East. If you are interested in being an RA, talk with an RA in your residence hall or apartment building and attend an informational meeting held early in the spring semester. You will then complete an application form and go through an interview process. RAs receive financial compensation for living expenses.
Professors in the Psychology Department and in other departments on campus frequently conduct research and sometimes seek students to assist them with their projects. If you are interested in becoming a research assistant, contact a professor in the department who can then provide you with information about the availability of positions, current projects, and future possibilities.
Each semester, 10-12 psychology majors are placed in internships at community organizations through PSYC-380, the psychology internship course. Learn more about internship opportunities for psychology majors.
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services provides high quality care with a Christian emphasis to those who suffer from mental and emotional difficulties. You can work at Pine Rest in two capacities:
- Paid positions: Pine Rest hires many students in positions such as mental health worker, activity therapy assistant and driver. The only requirement is that students must have completed at least two full years of college and should be majoring in psychology or sociology. Pine Rest does not accept applications unless there are positions open.
- Volunteer opportunities: Positions involve working with adolescents, the developmentally disabled population, and adult or geriatric patients as teacher aides, activity therapy assistants, or one-to-one "adopt a friend." Call the volunteer office at 281-6308 for more information.
Psychologists employed with outside agencies sometimes appreciate the opportunity to use "top-notch" students as assistants in various research projects. When such opportunities become available, they may contact a member of the psychology department. The department will either (1) suggest several students to them as possible assistants, or (2) inform selected students about such opportunities so they may interview for these positions.
Wedgwood Christian Services
Wedgwood Christian Services is a private, nonprofit children's agency which offers foster care, residential treatment, preparation for independent living and other services for boys and girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen. Positions as a paid child care worker or youth worker are available and are often posted at Career Development. Internships are also available. Wedgwood requires you to be twenty-one years of age, but requires no previous experience in this area.
Bethany Christian Services
Bethany Christian Services provides Christian love and understanding to people with many different needs. This multi-service agency seeks workers who possess a sincere commitment to help. Bethany carefully screens applicants and requires twenty hours of training prior to paid or volunteer work. Positions are available in tutoring, "special friends," residential treatment, and the day-care center. You do not need any prior work experience to apply to work at Bethany.
The Chicago Semester program gives you the opportunity to earn academic credit for supervised experience in research or in an applied setting.
Additional Work Experience
Valuable experience can also be gained as a Social Services volunteer or by volunteer work on an emergency switchboard. Hospitals, clinics, mental health centers, nursing homes, churches, and recreational programs are all possible settings for volunteer work. An organized volunteer program with a clear job description and adequate supervision provides the most valuable experiences.