It is often very competitive to obtain a place on a postgraduate course in Educational Psychology, with the average number of applicants per place on a Doctorate course at Southampton being eight.
To increase your chances of being successful, you will need to complete some work experience, whether it be voluntary or paid. Not only does this experience demonstrate to postgraduate selectors that you are committed to this particular field but it gives you the opportunity to apply your studies to the outside world.
Whether it be volunteering as a classroom assistant, working with children with disabilities, or just supporting young people, these are all relevant as a springboard to becoming an Educational Psychologist.
The following points include examples of relevant work experience; some include jobs in the local area.
- Volunteer in a school for a Classroom Assistant or Learning Mentor. Local places that offer voluntary work:
- Mansbridge Primary School
- Bassett Green Primary School
- Bursledon Junior School
- Oasis Academy Mayfield
- Harefield Primary School
- Nursery Volunteer at Early Years Centre at University of Southampton
- Cantell Maths and Computing College
It is best to apply for these roles via Community Volunteering as they are able to provide CRB checks that are essential for working with children and young people. In addition, they can locate volunteers to the approprate schools in order to balance requests across the community.
- Work within voluntary organisations for children and young people.
Barnardos offers internships in children’s services to students in London and various areas across the UK.
KIDS offer voluntary summer work to help disabled children, young people and their families.
ABA tutoring for children with Autism (your department will usually make you aware of such opportunities).
- Voluntary work as an Assistant Youth Support Worker (Woolston)
School Governor for the independent charity 'The School Governors’ One-Stop Shop'. The main quality needed is the desire to make a difference to young people’s lives through their education.
- Residential Volunteer at Beaulieu, New Forest – transport is provided from Southampton
The Life Foundation UK offers volunteering in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania working with abandoned children, children with learning disabilities or children with Autism.
Mencap offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities including working with people with disabilities and young people which will be of relevance.
Assistant Educational Psychologist role – easier to obtain after graduation and relevant voluntary work experience has been undertaken. These roles can be found in the Psychologist Appointments which is part of The Psychologist (the BPS monthly magazine), in newspapers or in specialist publications.
To apply for a Doctorate at the University of Southampton, you are expected to have experience working in community or educational settings which will allow you to demonstrate knowledge of the Common Core Skills and Knowledge for the Children and Young People’s Workforce (CWDC).
A Criminal Records Bureau Check will be needed if you are working with children or with sensitive information