I am applying for for a PhD psychology program. Does it mean my clinical work, or other awards and leadership recognition's during my education?

  • Olympic medals come into mind (although participation can also be mentioned)
    – lalala
    Nov 9, 2021 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


From my perspective, the committee wants to know your overall personality besides all the grades and coursework you send them.

Imagine getting a new family member: you do not just want to know just their grades; you also want to know how they are "non-academically" because they will have to spend the next 3-5 years with you. Such achievements do not have to be awards of honour. Any certificate of participation in non-academic activities can show your overall engagement and give a glimpse of your personality.

Perhaps they want to see if you went the extra mile to do something for society using what you learnt in college? Maybe you ran a marathon? The question is open ended!


This is the opportunity to showcase interesting things about yourself that would otherwise not fit into any box. I use this for two main purposes:

Context: If you were a collegiate athlete throughout undergrad, it puts your other academic achievements into context. Similar things can be said about volunteering work, such as organizing conferences, talks and activities.

Personal traits: It can also reveal desirable qualities by showing that you excel at something objectively hard, but unrelated to academia. People who excel at one thing usually have the qualities to be good at other things, given time and work. For instance, I always mention that I am an international level strategy games competitor. It had always been discussed in a positive way in every interview I've had.

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