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Oshawott

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Oshawott last won the day on June 30

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About Oshawott

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  1. GPA-wise, you're set. Canadian schools only really look at the last two years. Good quant score, and good math skills is better for you in the long run. You definitely need research experience–not only to show you can "do" research but because you need people to write your letters of recommendations. I'd say volunteer for a whole year before even applying. I know some people who did a research-based Master's, but in Canada, those are all tied to the PhD program. My advisor told me that they essentially assess applicants to admit into the Master's based on whether they think they'll move onto the PhD. There are some American schools that offer terminal Master's programs, but I don't think they're worth it if they're not funded.
  2. @elemosynarical Hey Oshawott, how good does an "Individual Project" PSY405 look on a resume? Different schools call them different things. If you're listing your position in your CV, calling yourself an "Independent Project Student" is fine. Alternatively, if you produced a manuscript (which most projects would as part of the credit) you can have it as a line under research contributions in your CV the same way people would have unpublished dissertations: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of dissertation/thesis (Unpublished Undergraduate Independent Project). Academic Institution, City, State [OR] Country. [link to project page]* *I would suggest seeing how open your supervisors are to pre-registering things on the OSF/making materials open access. I know a person at my current institution has their undergrads pre-register projects, and the benefits of this is that you can link to the project page on your unpublished research. I would only do this if your supervisor is okay with this because some people are not up for pre-registration/open-access. You can also submit to the CPA convention to get a more "credible" CV line. I say "credible" in that later in your grad career, you probably won't bother listing your unpublished undergrad projects in your CV, while you'll still want to list posters from major conferences. How does the Individual Project (Course code is PSY405/406) compare to the honours thesis? As far as I can tell, the honours thesis (PSY400) has a class component so its more structured in terms of when things need to be handed in. Students also have to take a theories course (I think its PSY401?) but I don't think anyone who I knew in the programs thought it was helpful. Does the Individual Project prepare psychology students well for grad school? Will grad school admissions committee look favourably upon a student who does an individual project PSY405/406 at UofT? Like the honours thesis, it depends on what you do. I've seen undergrad theses from smaller Canadian universities, and they weren't up to the level of rigor and immersion that some of the independent projects at UofT (again, because the school has the resources for it). The reason people say an honours thesis is "better" is because of general heuristics–people assume its more involved. In my independent projects, I've been involved in ethics applications, experiment programming, running participants, and analysis. Some professors let students create their own PSY405/406 projects rather than starting on an existing one, which basically puts it on the level of an honours thesis in terms of immersion. Don't get stuck on the labels. Talk about what you did in your letters of interest. I'm fairly certain the vast majority of people I interviewed with didn't realize I hadn't done a conventional honours thesis, since I recall explaining UofT's ridiculous thesis system.** **As a side note, I'd just avoid doing that and if they asked what you did your thesis on just say "oh for my senior project I did [insert description]" in case it gives the wrong impression. Given that it's a 400-level course code you're taking in your final year, calling it a "senior project" isn't lying. My second question-> With regards to the PSY405 individual project, I know I have to fill out a proposal form and submit it to the undergrad coordinator. With respect to filling out the project proposal form, am I supposed to come up with my own novel hypothesis and research ideas BEFORE I meet with my potential supervisor? Or is it better if I and my supervisor BOTH go through and write out the proposal form TOGETHER while discussing ideas with each other? It has been forever since I've done this, but I'd talk to the supervisor first and outline your interests in working with them. From that, depending on who they are and their needs, they'll either sign you up for an existing project, or be open to you developing your own project. I would ask them sooner than later as well as PI's start getting their projects in line for the following year around this time. Additionally, a PSY405/406 isn't a guarantee. You should ideally have been volunteering with people you were interested in already; there are always more volunteer spots than there are independent project spots in labs, and the limited spots goes to those who have been there first. Since PSY405/406 can be full or half year projects, you could volunteer in a lab that has a high project turnover for the first semester and do a project in the second semester.
  3. I had asked my American supervisor about this after my interviews, because when I interviewed in the U.S., I noticed a lot of people seemed to have post-bac RA experience. His assessment of the situation was that a good number of schools didn't really offer any sort of substantive research experience outside of a thesis. Assuming the OP is in Toronto, at least 2 of the 3 universities there have strong research programs and one of those schools have a ridiculous research culture. With that said, Canadian grad schools don't necessarily need post-bac experience (though doing a thesis for one year won't necessarily cut it), and aside from lab manager positions, there aren't any common post-bac options in Canada (unless you just continue to volunteer for a year but at that point you won't necessarily be getting more hours/responsibility), and the vast majority of post-bac options in the United States are out of reach because of visa/immigration restrictions. I've seen Canadians do it, but they'd have to be better than any of the American applicants for PI's to even bother with the hassle. @lucien if you can juggle research experience early on, do it. The earlier you do it, the earlier you can start asking to be given more substantive tasks (i.e., beyond running participants) or at least be able to get positions at labs with more involved RA's. Also the benefit of doing it this early, all the big Canadian programs (and some American ones) only looks at your last two years so you learn to adjust doing school work with research responsibilities during years where your GPA will count little for your applications. That isn't to say you shouldn't aim high for grades in your early years because that affects your ability to get into some programs but it's to put into context if your grades aren't "as high" as another person who didn't volunteer.
  4. I know a few RA's at my undergrad institution (in Toronto, so maybe that's where you are) who got positions in their first year, with one of them being hired as a work-study student over upper year students. Of course, they had very good resumes coming in with a lot of extracurriculars in high school (or were more mature students) so the lab managers were more willing to give them a chance because the primary concern they had was whether a first-year student would be able to handle adjusting to a university workload while working/volunteering for the lab. If you don't have amazing extracurriculars but want to help out, I think another thing that would help is to read the publications of the professors you want to work with, and in your application, reference these publications in your reasons why you want to work with them specifically. Most profs have their publications posted on their websites as PDF's so it shouldn't be that bad, and if you limit yourself to reading things within the next 5 years it should be more accessible (older articles had this tendency to...use obfuscating language). You should look at the professor's websites and see their instructions for applying for RA's, and set your sight towards volunteering rather than getting a paid position in your first year, since the first-year work-study student I knew was just exceptional in their credentials. Your best bet for a position is a social psychology lab as a lot of the research involves human subjects; the work itself is simple, but requires a lot of people working on them simply to run participants. I would recommend applying this early as it puts you in a good position to get paid positions if they become available, or to be accepted for independent projects for credit (which are honestly GPA boosters for the most part as long as you do work).
  5. @elemosynarical, which college in the Faculty of Arts and Science are you in? As far as I'm aware, all the colleges also have an independent study course. For instance, St. Michael's College has SMC 481Y1 which is a full-year independent study course whose only limitations are that no other types of courses are available (which you can make an easy case for given the restrictions of the PSY405/406 courses) and that either the faculty member or the student is affiliated with the college. If you're not in SMC, there should be something equivalent in the other colleges. Depending on your clinical interests, you could also do an independent research project within the department with people whose interests align with yours despite not being Clinical Psychologists. With regards to this concern: to make things more complicated, there are hundreds and HUNDREDS of psych students at UofT, only 2-3% of them have the chance to do a thesis, because it's restricted to research specialists, only around 15-20 students are in the research specialist program, and I'm not in it That is an unfortunate situation that a lot of people find themselves in; other equivalently large universities manage to accommodate more thesis students (but have noticed that these students take advantage of independent projects less). That aside, looking into independent research projects can mitigate this. Depending on who you work with, you may actually do more meaningful work as an independent project student than other professor's thesis students (and thesis students from other schools). At the end of the day, you still graduate with a 4-year Honours Bachelor's degree. If you can talk confidently about your research experience in your LOI's, they won't even notice you didn't do a thesis (I've had a POI ask me to talk about my thesis during an interview when I didn't do one and I had more research experience than some people who did a 4th year thesis in my grad cohort). And regarding volunteering: if I were to be part of a clinical lab at a hospital or at another university, it would HAVE to be volunteering, and volunteering doesn't look as good as a research course or a work-study opportunity I actually learned more from one of my volunteer RA gigs than my actual independent projects. With that said, volunteering opens doors. These profs aren't going to hire a random undergrad when they've had reliable volunteers nor will they necessarily take on new project students when they have volunteers who want to do one as well. My initial volunteer experience resulted in two different independent projects (one in the same lab, and another in another lab) and helped me secure another RA position (the one that taught me way more things) because faculty and grad students talk to each other. If you're a good student who works hard, other faculty members and grad students you've never worked with will be more willing to work with you if they can go across the hall and ask their colleague "Oh is so and so a good student? Should I hire them? Okay." EDIT: So I looked at your post history and I want to address this comment: What I'm suggesting isn't "kissing ass". I literally just worked hard and (inadvertently) built a reputation for being reliable...so when I asked about an independent project or volunteering with other people, things just snowballed and I was given more responsibilities because I could show that I can do the work.
  6. If you can keep up that GPA, then you should be fine on that front with regards to looking competitive (GPA-wise) for Clinical Psychology programs. I generally found my grades getting better as I progressed through university, so don't get too anxious about that; just keep up with what you're doing. With regards to research, you will need research experience and ideally a thesis. Start volunteering with professors whose research matches your interest in your third year. You will need at least two letters of recommendations. I started volunteering in my third year, took small seminar classes and could get a few good LOR's so a similar approach should work for most people. Ideally, if you end up volunteering for the same profs you took classes with, they'd be able to give you a well-rounded LOR even if they're not your thesis supervisor. 1) Tenure-track positions everywhere are scarce. I'm not sure if it's "any worse" in sociology than various areas of Psychology, but it's not an exaggeration. 2) Clinical Psychology is a "safer route" in that it allows you to do both research as an academic and practice as a clinician. 3) Financially speaking, you shouldn't be paying for your PhD (and not your Master's since you're in Canada) so neither one should accrue you any more debt. With that said, the return of investment is probably better as a Clinical Psychologist. I'm fairly certain the GRE's has accommodations for these types of issues. If you qualify, take them. With that said, the questions are formulaic–even the verbal portion. You just have to be able to identify how to best approach the questions to answer them efficiently. I suggest using Magoosh. It's cheap and actually good. The ETS also has a software program that let's you do two practice tests that get graded. If you want more practice tests, the Kaplan GRE books comes with five online tests and iirc cost $20 - 40 (I wouldn't pay for tutoring due to the cost, but you're more familiar with your learning disabilities than I am). I'd set aside a few hours every week to study during the year in your third year (and take a few practice tests throughout to track your progress), and try to take the test early in the summer after. A month before your exam, just set aside more time to study and take practice tests. The reason I suggest doing this early is if you find that your score is below a safe cut-off range then you can take it again. As for the essay writing portion, the ETS website also has all the different writing prompts available online. There are two types of essays: Issue and Argument essays. There's hundreds of essay prompts, but some of them overlap (i.e., same topic but it is either phrased as an issue or argument essay). Like the quant and verbal, the written portion is also formulaic. It's been awhile since I had to write this so I don't remember the exact details, but stuff like Magoosh and the Kaplan prep book goes into detail. A general rule of thumb is that you should aim for longer than shorter. Depending on how your program is structured, this may or may not be that hard. I had to write a lot of essays in timed exams so I was used to the time constraint.
  7. If you're applying to Canadian grad schools, I'm pretty sure most of them converted my grades to their own scale anyway, so if both percent and letter grades appear on your transcript, you should be fine.
  8. Why doesn't your faculty mentor apply for grants from relevant agencies?
  9. Similar to @Jay's Brain, I hold a BSc in Psychology even though my coursework was predominantly social and cognitive, with little bio focus (to compare, a cognitive science degree at this school is consider a BA). My undergrad institute gives out an MA in psych despite being the top research institution in Canada for Psychology (and ranking top 20 globally last I checked). In my current grad institution, I am getting an MSc despite my research's focus being heavily social (though still research intensive) Honestly, for some schools it seems arbitrary and likely based on tradition. Don't get hung up on the labels of whether its called a "science" or "arts" degree given the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Look at the actual program and what it has to offer. and that's not even getting into the contentious issue of whether we can even call Psychology a science yet
  10. As an actual TA in a Psych department, I would like to add that quite literally no one cares about students' essays after the semester is over. If we do care, its because we think they'd be good RA's or project students. And @elemosynarical if a TA is in a bad mood 4 - 5 years later and is still in academia, they'd probably be channeling their inner Reviewer #2 rather than looking up an old essay.
  11. The tri-council agencies look for indicators of academic and research potential, so holding a previous award technically helps in that regard. With that said, I wouldn't really say there's much causal explanation between getting MA SSHRC and getting PhD SSHRC, so much as the fact that if you *had* good indicators of research potential entering your master's to the point that you got a CGS-M, you probably also have them going into your PhD.
  12. I finally got my letter so I'll update on the score for people waiting/wondering what the cut-offs might be: Award: SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship ($80,000 over 4 years) Score: 13.4 / 20 Committee 4: Education, linguistics, psychology, social work Also for people wondering: Deadline to accept is May 23 for people on the wait list wondering how long the wait might be.
  13. Especially since I'm fairly sure the schools get the results by email and I have to confirm everything by email....yet they won't let me activate the award because we have to "go by the book" and I haven't received the letter by snail mail yet.
  14. Considering the late mailing date and the disparity I'm starting to think that SSHRC may have paid extra to mail the letters by courier for out-of-province and international addresses while relying on Canada Post for in-province. Someone mentioned getting their letter in Montreal way before anyone mentioned Ontario.
  15. Now I'm really anxious because I've lost mail before in my apartment. I guess I can always email SSHRC to see what address it was forwarded to :'(