Distinction in Psychology

Distinction in Psychology is an honor that a small number of majors each year receive for having performed exceptionally well in the major. Applicants should demonstrate excellence significantly beyond the minimum requirements of the major (i.e., coursework). In early Spring each year, qualified students will be invited to submit a portfolio as evidence for distinction. The portfolio should document the applicant’s personal initiative, independence, and creativity and should highlight their own development and performance as a student of psychology in a narrative of the student’s engagement in significant academic activities and related experiences (e.g., research or internship experiences, etc.).


In January, the Psychology Department will invite senior psychology majors who have strongly distinguished themselves through their coursework to apply for distinction. This invitation will be sent to all seniors who have a minimum Psychology GPA of 3.70 by the end of the Fall term and have completed at least 8 courses in the psychology major, including at least one course from each of the natural science and social science aspects of psychology.

Eligible students who would like to be considered for Distinction will be asked to submit an electronic Distinction Portfolio to Darla Frandrup, (frandrup@stolaf.edu) Psychology AAA, by April 1, 2022. The Distinction Portfolio should include the following three documents:

(1)  Degree Audit

(2)  Curriculum Vitae, which includes their psychology-related experiences and achievements

(3) Candidate Statement

(4) The name of a psychology faculty member with whom they have spoken about their plans for the portfolio

After reviewing the Distinction Portfolios, the Psychology Faculty will deliberate. Students will be notified about the awarding of Distinction in April.


(1)  Degree Audit

Degree audits will be kept confidential and viewed only by departmental faculty and staff to determine whether the academic requirements (i.e., minimum GPA and courses from both the natural science and social science aspects of psychology) of Distinction have been met.

(2)  Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Students’ CVs should summarize their scholarly and professional experiences, accomplishments, and honors. Unlike a standard resume (which is very brief), CVs should be more detailed, including information about students’ education, honors/awards, research experiences, teaching, clinical, and internship/volunteer experiences, conference and symposia presentations, publications, and membership in professional organizations. See the following links for guidance on constructing a strong CV:

APS: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/members/apssc/undergraduate_update/undergraduate-update-summer-2013/how-to-write-a-strong-cv

Psi Chi: http://www.psichi.org/?092EyeWin05dLandrum#.WaCFC3qvh5Y

APA:  http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2015/01/curriculum-vitae.aspx

Students’ CVs, in combination with their Candidate Statements (see #3 below), will be used to assess the extent and depth of involvement to date in psychology.


This statement is an opportunity for students to reflect on their own path in psychology — past, present, and/or future. It should highlight and integrate meaningful psychology-related experiences and achievements referenced in their CV but should not simply reiterate them in prose form. The statement should demonstrate intellectual engagement with psychology and be thoughtful and reflective. The statement should also include evidence of or plans for dissemination of their research, internship experiences, or other significant academic activities and professional experiences (such as a poster given at a conference, ((e.g., Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Honors Day Symposium)) presentation, performance, paper, or other artifact). Examples of such meaningful experiences include projects conducted for Independent Research (IR), Directed Undergraduate Research (DUR), Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR), Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI), psychological research conducted at another institution, community projects, and Psychology Internships. The statement should be approximately 2-3 double-spaced pages (no more than 750 words).