Shadowing School Psychologists
The Tufts University School Psychology program wants to be
certain that applicants are well informed about the field before
they apply to our graduate program. Shadowing a school psychologist
helps candidates learn about the roles and responsibilities of
school psychologists, and to "try on" the career informed by real
Volunteering with children, conducting clinical research, and
working in schools are all great ways to develop a broader
understanding of child development and the field of education.
However, they are NOT the same as shadowing a school psychologist.
Shadowing provides an opportunity to observe practicing school
psychologists as they engage with children and colleagues in the
school setting. By observing school psychologists at work,
applicants can see how they communicate and make decisions in
complex situations. Applicants will also develop a more realistic
understanding of what school psychologists, and schools more
broadly, can and can't do for children and their families. If you
shadow more than one school psychologist, you will learn see how
school contexts influence practices, and also may observe how
practice changes at different age levels.
Some questions to consider when shadowing
- Can I see myself doing what this school psychologist does on a daily basis?
- Can I see myself as a colleague of this school psychologist?
- What are the joys and frustrations of this career?
- Am I drawn to problem solving?
- Am I drawn to assessment?
- Is the school psychologist involved in providing direct services to children (tutoring, counseling, skills groups, etc)?
- Does the school psychologist consult on a regular basis with classroom teachers?
- What is the role of the school psychologist in special education and in regular education programs?
- What is the difference between the roles of school psychologist and school counselor?
- How does the school psychologist relate to and communicate with children?
- How does the school psychologist relate to and communicate with professional colleagues?
Arranging a shadowing experience
As a prospective graduate student, it is your responsibility to
make the initial contact with a school psychologist. Schools have
different regulations regarding visitors, and you will need to find
out what they are for any school you visit. At the very least, you
will need to demonstrate that you understand the privacy and
confidentiality afforded students and all professional interactions
that occur within a school setting.
Strategies for finding shadowing opportunities
- Contact the schools you attended to ask if you might return to
shadow the school psychologist.
- Network with friends and family to learn if they know any school psychologists.
- Ask faculty from your university if they have any working
relationships or partnerships with schools.
- If you volunteer or have a college placement in a school-based
program, introduce yourself to the school psychologist.
Your shadowing experience and applying to Tufts
Upon completion of your shadowing experience, we would like you to
respond to the following question on your application to Tufts:
In 500 words or less, please tell us what you learned from the
experience of shadowing a school psychologist.