I am currently a senior finishing up my bachelor's degree in Psychology through online classes offered at Washington State University. I intend to apply to grad schools (2 PhD programs and 1 MS as a plan B) thereafter. I will be engaging in Independent Study during the Fall, 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters (a literature review project). I will then be eligible to graduate in May, 2019. However, I am wondering if an independent study literature review project is considered to be strong enough "research experience" for grad school apps. Recently, I have been considering staying-on for an extra semester to participate in more research. I have the opportunity to engage in a Hypothesis Testing option where I can run my own experiment (with mentoring, of course!).
I'm just wondering whether staying an extra semester to do research is worth it (the trade-off is I will have less time to study for GREs and write applications because I will start school again in August, versus totally being done and having a few extra months to prepare). Can anyone provide input on this? Basically, my choices are: 1) graduate in May, 2019 with 1 Independent Study project under my belt and have time to study/take GREs and write applications; or 2) graduate in December, 2019 with 2 research projects under my belt, but less time for GRE prep and applications.
I have also read on some of these posts that grad schools may not like applicants who took classes online, so any input here is welcome as well. How do grad schools view courses taken online through major universities? Although my junior and senior year classes have been solely online, I have been able to gain TA experience and I have a good relationship with our program director, so I will be able to get good letters of recommendation. I also have a 4.0 GPA, so I'm hoping that helps my case a bit.
Any input is much appreciated - I'm really torn on this decision. Thanks!