the life of an applicant and of how these may strengthen or hinder an
authentic vocational discernment.
Psychological assessment by professional clinicians provides criti-
cal information that otherwise might not be obtained in the course of
admissions interviews. Sometimes the psychological report is able to
articulate important areas that need to be more fully screened, or it may
identify features that warrant serious concern or further discernment by
those making the final decisions about admission of the candidate. The
process can also provide the applicant with knowledge of his own areas
of strength and potential growth as well as some of the actual limits
of his own freedom to hear clearly God’s call. A thorough assessment
can provide significant information for the applicant about his level of
intellectual functioning, the presence of acute mental distress, and the
characteristic ways he relates to himself and to others.
Psychological assessment serves in a supportive role to provide
greater clarity about an applicant, so that those responsible for the
admissions process have a fuller understanding of the applicant besides
the many other components of the application process.
Finally, psychological assessment can serve as confirmatory evidence
in support of conclusions based on the entire admissions process, espe-
cially if there is a divergence of views during the screening process.
Suggested Components of a Psychological
Assessment and Report for Admissions
Psychological assessment seeks to understand the intellectual, emo-
tional, and psychological functioning of the applicant through the
use of psychometric measures; it is the mental equivalent of a
To assist those responsible for judging the suitability of the applicant
for seminary formation, according to numbers 47 and 53-56 of the PPF,
the following components of a psychological evaluation and written
report would be especially instructive:
1. Clinical interview (a structured interview of the applicant that
is focused specifically on his mental health history)
3 PPF, no. 47.