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Dear Prospective Student,

Thank you for your interest in UIC and in my lab in particular. I will be reviewing graduate student applications to the social /personality psychology program in anticipation of taking a new student or students for Fall 2020. I am particularly eager to identify students with interests at the intersection of social, political, and moral psychology. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you read examples of the kinds of research we do in my lab before applying. Compatibility of research interests between students and their faculty advisors is one of the best predictors of graduate student success. Finding an advisor who most closely matches your interests is therefore critically important to your long term success. Some good articles to get a sense of the kinds of work my students and I do -- and areas we’re likely to continue working in-- can be found here, here, and here (all include student co-authors. Note: These articles may not all be my most recent papers, but are ones I feel best represent the kind of work we tend to do, and I hope to do going forward). Something you might notice is that our work is methodologically varied— we’re as likely to do national survey research as we are behavioral research in the lab and everything in between: I am interested in students who share my enthusiasm for taking a multi-method approach to understanding a given problem. And one way to gauge whether we would have good fit is to pay attention to how you feel when reading these papers: Can you see yourself not only doing this kind of research, but love doing it? Can you see yourself writing these kinds of papers once you get some statistical training? Or were you bored to tears?

If you wish to apply for graduate study at UIC and my lab in particular, please be sure to indicate in your personal statement that you wish to apply to work with me, and how your interests, training, and skills represent a good match with those of lab. Awareness of what we do that goes beyond what can be found on this website but is easily revealed by reading some of the research our lab produces counts a lot. If you have particular strengths that might make a contribution to the lab, such as prior research experience, statistical training, or programming skills, be sure to mention those as well. The personal statement is in my particular case the most important part of the application and basis upon which I decide whether to consider a prospective student. Your interests don’t need to be a perfect match with my own but I nonetheless need to be persuaded to invest my time and energy in supporting you. Why should I select you over any other prospective student? What do you bring to the table that I as an advisor would find to be an especially valuable addition to my work and lab?

It is also important to emphasize that the Skitka Lab emphasizes inclusion and diversity in achieving and sustaining excellence in research, training, and outreach. We are committed to an intellectual climate that is welcoming, nurturing, and challenging. We respect and value the full spectrum of human diversity in race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, disability, national origin, or political orientation. Members of the lab work together to create an environment of inclusion, mutual respect, safety, and support and we favor people who want to work in a cooperative and supportive environment.

Although we have an application deadline in early-December, the department takes some time with initial processing and active review of your application by faculty won’t begin until probably early January. Those who make my short list for consideration are usually contacted for a telephone or Skype interview. A smaller number of students may be invited for a campus visit for further consideration, something that will involve interviews not only with me, but with the other social/personality faculty and our current graduate students. All notices of acceptance/rejection will be sent by no later than April 1. We tend to be late with rejection notifications because we like to keep the pool open in case first choice candidates decline offers and we want to consider additional well qualified candidates.

Thank you again for your interest!

Best wishes,

Linda J. Skitka. Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Head of Psychology
President, Society for Personality and Social Psychology