Hey everyone! Welcome back 🙂

One factor that added value to my journey thus far is my participation in developmental activities. I was fortunate to have advisors who introduced me to these opportunities and I wanted to raise awareness for those who didn’t know such programs exist!

These programs can help to be a more competitive applicant, develop your own skills, or even to determine whether graduate school is the right decision for you. And, guess what? They are funded!

Below is the list of developmental programs/forums that I had direct experience with, heard of from others, or researched on Google. I tried my best to include a variety of majors but you will have to do your own due diligence to see if these programs meet your needs. I am also an advocate for diversity so I tried to narrow my search for that criteria as well. Ultimately, I hope this sparked some ideas and motivated you in your own journey.

Please note that I was not paid to promote these programs and that my experiences are personal/subjective. I will be adding to this list as I go since there are so many opportunities out there! Please feel free to share to help raise awareness for those who might find this valuable as well and hashtag #LivingThePhDream !

Programs I’ve Attended:

DocNet is a forum I participated in at the University of California, Berkeley. I believe they hold the forum at different locations as well. They provided a short overview of what it means to get a PhD and how to prepare your applications. I found this valuable because they brought in recruiters from different programs to share information and answer questions. I was able to directly ask programs about whether or not my GRE score needed improvement or what they were looking for in a candidate, etc.

UNCC Organizational Science Summer Institute (Undergrad/Diversity/Majors related to Organizations: Business & I-O Psychology)
This is the second most valuable program I attended. It was held in North Carolina for about one week in the summer. I was in awe that the program not only paid for your trip but also covered morning GRE courses and materials! If you don’t already know, these courses can be costly, especially if you need more attention! Every morning an instructor came in and walked us through some lessons. OSSI also had several workshops including: how to write academic papers, how to write your statement of purpose, what it is like to be in applied research, etc. We were also assigned to a mentor who helped us develop and present a research project! That helped me get some jitters out before presenting to a larger conference. I think networking with the doctoral students and the faculty is just as important too. I had amazing, sharp, kind mentors in addition to a great cohort who made my time at UNCC feel even more enjoyable.

The PhD Project (Diversity/Business)
This program, by far, has been the most valuable program I was fortunate enough to attend. I say that it is the most valuable because this program wasn’t solely about the few days I spent there but it was also about providing a life-long support group from the beginning to the end of the program. I like to think of it as my PhD “Family” or my ride or die hah! Whenever I met a PhD project member at other conferences or schools, we instantly shared resources and advice. That, my friends, is so invaluable, especially when you plan on entering such a challenging graduate program. The first meeting is held in Chicago once a year in November and serves as a informative conference. At the conference they talk about the differences between getting your Masters or your PhD to help you think through which one, if any, best suits your needs. They also provide workshops on preparing your statement of purpose/personal statement in addition to GMAT prep workshops and resources. So many recruiters come to provide information on their graduate school program too! For more information, check out the link. I did have to pay $200 out of pocket HOWEVER it is returned to you once you are accepted into a program. Quite frankly, it was a well-spent $200 anyhow.

The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education (Diversity)
This was the first forum I attended and it was (at the time) being held at Sonoma State University. Here, I was able to gather material for different graduate school programs and ask recruiters questions regarding the requirements. To be honest, I was still in the very beginning of my journey so this was helpful in my focus to discover what programs are out there and retrieve information on them. **UPDATE: I was informed that in 2015, if you filled out the forum survey, you were rewarded a Princeton Review GRE coupon worth $500 for classes!

Shorter Programs/ Info Sessions:

IDDEAS (Undergrad/Diversity/Business)


Discover UChicago (Diversity/Variety of Majors)

The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education (Diversity)


Big Ten Summer Research Opportunities Program (Undergrad/Diversity/Multiple universities/Majors Vary)

CA Summer Research Opportunities (Undergrad/Majors Vary)

Chicago Summer Business Scholars Program (Undergrad/Business)

Columbia Summer Research Internship (Undergrad or Masters/Business)

Harvard Summer Venture in Management Program (Undergrad/Diversity/Management)

Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (Undergrad/Diversity/Sciences & Engineering, Humanities & Social Science)

MIT Summer Research Program (Undergrad/Diversity/Biology & Neuroscience)

NorthWestern Summer Research Opportunity Program (Undergrad/Diversity/social sciences & humanities, physical sciences, chemical & biological sciences, technology, math & engineering)

UCI Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (Diversity/Undergrad or Masters)

UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (Undergrad/ Several programs on this page mostly for a variety of science majors & some others)

UCSF Summer Research Program (Undergrad/Health Sciences)

UC Berkeley Amgen Scholars (Undergrad/Sciences & Biotechnology)

U-M Research Experience for Master’s Students (Masters/Priority to Diversity/Majors Vary)

UNCC Organizational Science Summer Institute (Undergrad/Diversity/Majors related to Organizations: Business & I-O Psychology)

Yale Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (Undergrad/Diversity/Majors Vary)


NYU Pre-Doctoral Program (Undergrad or Bachelors/Diversity/Majors Vary)

CA Pre-Doctoral Program (Undergrad or Masters/Majors Vary)

Stanford Pre-Doctoral Program (Bachelors/Diversity/Majors Vary)

On-Going/Communities Programs:

McNair Scholars (Undergrad/Diversity)

The PhD Project (Undergrad or Bachelors/Diversity/Business)


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