Exploring Psychology as a High School Student

Many students have turned towards psychology as their interest for undergraduate studies, and you may be one of them, but what does this entail? How will you be able to pursue your interest in high school, whether it's to explore the subject to see if you like it or just to learn more about it?

In school

Taking AP Psychology and AP Statistics, which is required in the psychology major, are good classes to take to not only show colleges that you are interested in the psychology field but also to see if you will enjoy studying psychology in your future. There are other classes related to psychology or human behavior that may be available in your schools such as forensic psychology and sociology, as well as science classes such as biology and chemistry.


Extracurricular activities are an amazing way to show colleges that you are pursuing your interest in psychology other than just taking classes in school. Here are some creative and fun ways to pursue your passion in psychology:

  • Start your own blog! Write a blog every week or so about a different topic in psychology or about something specific you are interested in! Here are a few ways to get this started:

  • Watch a movie, play, tv show, or read a book and use your knowledge to psychoanalyze the characters. You can turn this into a research paper!

  • Conduct your own research trial and write up a research paper about your findings and how it relates to psychology! If you are part of a club that publishes articles on either their own website or to newspapers or want to get your paper published, you can!

  • Reading articles or other research papers is a good way to further your knowledge!

  • Starting a podcast, whether it's on your own or with a friend or two, is a really fun way to talk about psychology whether it's discussing interesting topics such as serial killers and why they do what they do or talking about a new finding.

  • Email professors from different colleges and ask for research opportunities that you can help contribute to. Some are welcoming and do give you the opportunity to participate and you get your name in the credits of the essay!

  • Attend webinars where people in the psychology field can talk about their experiences in their job or college. Depending on where and how you attend, you may get credit for it. For example, local clubs give an hour to count towards your total volunteering time, which can be submitted to colleges as an extracurricular.

  • Join or create a psychology club


TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students - students write a three-part essay following the prompt and up to four students will receive $250 scholarships for their winning essays. Unfortunately, the deadline for this year has passed, but this is annual, so have this on your list for next year! For more information on this competition, click this link: https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/student-competition

Minds Underground Psychology Essay Competition

More information: https://www.mindsunderground.com/psychology-competition

For more competitions: https://www.mindsunderground.com/psychology-competition


Wake Forest Summer Program

Where: Wake Forest University

Who can apply: 9th-12th graders

How long: Overnight, Sunday-Friday in the Summer (no finalized dates)

Tuition: $2,500

More information at https://immersion.summer.wfu.edu/opportunities/institutes/psychology-institute/

For more programs:

Keep in mind that due to covid, a lot of these will be online and there is a relatively expensive tuition fee!




Whether you are passionate about psychology and want to get more familiar with the content or someone who wants to explore the field to see if you enjoy it, there are many opportunities for you to do so, from taking classes in school to competing in competitions!