What are my chances? Low GPA
I'm heading into my senior year of college and I'm planning on applying to graduate schools this fall. I had some issues during my freshman year and my first semester junior year and because of that my GPA is at 3.2. I'm taking summer courses (7 credits) this summer and will have ~30 credits more through my senior year. I'm completely capable of straight A's and I received them last semester despite having done so poorly the semester before, so I can probably raise my GPA to about 3.4 by graduation. I'm a psychology major so I know this GPA is pretty pathetic for my major, but I switched from animal science to psych my sophomore year, then from the neuroscience track within the psych major to just a regular B.S. in psych after that horrible semester junior year. My psych GPA is a 3.9. All my bad grades were before I entered the degree program I'm going to be graduating with.
Will graduate schools take this into consideration? I'm planning on applying for masters programs in marriage and family therapy. I'm taking the GRE at the end of August and will I'm optimistic that I can do well on it. I'm a very good writer so I know any essay type questions I answer for applications will impress. I'm enthusiastic about this area of study and I have yet to meet anyone that can't see that through my writing when this is the topic. My volunteer experience includes various units at St. Vincents Hospital (including a psychotherapy unit), CNA at a nursing home, and vet assistant at an animal clinic. My work experience consists of PCA work at a day care program for disabled persons (where I was also able to speak with and shadow a therapist a bit, great experience). I have an intermediate-level fluency in Japanese (not sure it matters but I figure being bi-lingual to any degree is seen as a plus).
But other than this, my application will be pretty bland; I've tried to get research experience but there was always GPA requirements I didn't have or a class pre-req I didn't have. I've tried applying (for many) but even when I had all the requirements and impressed the one who was interviewing me I would get turned down because my interest wasn't closely related enough to the research area, or during the past year I was going to be a senior and could only contribute 2-semesters before they would have to replace me. I did however TA for a Psych class one semester (and probably will this coming spring again) which I have been told acts something like research experience (I don't really understand how personally though).
Right now the schools I've definitely decided on applying on are UMass Boston, University of Maryland, Syracuse University, and Rochester University. I already have a lot of debt on my back so I'm really hoping I can get into UMass Boston (I'm from MA). What do you think my chances are if I do really good on the GRE? Anyone have any other school suggestions that have not-too-bad out-of-state costs? Thanks in advance for any advice and opinions, I really would like to know where people think I stand (aka I want honesty not encouragement).