Connecting with the Community
Building relationships outside of the university is beneficial for students as well as the community. Not only will these experiences look good on your academic resume (CV), but they can also help you obtain letters of recommendation and future jobs.
Donating your time to organizations in the area of psychology that you plan on pursuing will give you practical experience. Many graduate school applications will expect at least a year commitment from each volunteer position. This length of time will also allow you to build professional relationships with your supervisors in order to get strong letters of recommendation. These people could also be your future co-workers or lifelong colleagues and friends. The career center is an excellent place to start looking for opportunities.
Practicum is essentially volunteering for school credit. Students can set up a practicum with an adviser, for example a faculty member. Some practicums are already set up and you have to apply for these positions as they open. The length of time may vary from one term to a year long commitment. They usually have a writing component, for instance a journal and/or a reflection paper. Peer advising is an example of a practicum. See the above links to find opportunities.
As well as looking great on your graduate school applications by joining an association, students are informed of conferences, research and networking within their specified area of psychology. If you don’t see an association listed here that doesn’t fit your psychology interests chances are it exists, just Google it. Some associations charge a fee for joining. See the specific association website for more details.