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Dr. Stuck

Questions about job prospects, clinical psychology, and GRE's.

3 posts in this topic

Hi guys!

 

I apologize in advance for the long post, I am just seeking some answers to questions that I really want to know :) 

 

So I am an undergrad psychology student in Canada with a GPA of 3.9/4.0 and aspirations of obtaining a doctorate degree. I have known since i was young that my ultimate goal would be to get my PhD, but I really do not know what i should do. Something that really interests me is a career in clinical child psychology! However, I hear that it is insanely tough to get into a PhD program for this. My grades are good, but after hearing some people discuss how hard it is to get in, I just seem to have no confidence in my ability to achieve this goal. I do not have any research experience yet, but i am finishing my last two years of my UG degree at the university in my home town (University of New Brunswick) and this school has a MA/PhD program in clinical psych so I imagine I should be able to hopefully get some experience in the lab over the next two years? 

Something else that has always interested me a lot is sociology. I have to decide whether to go down the clinical psych route or do an honours in sociology and become a professor. I am told that after obtaining a PhD in sociology, it is next to impossible to get a job as a tenure track professor given the lack of opportunities now. Is this true? Would clinical psych be a "safer" route to go, financially speaking? 

Something else I am wondering about is the GRE's. With a lot of hard work and studying, is this a test that one can improve a fair amount on? I have some learning disabilities that make standardized testing somewhat difficult for me (but certainly not impossible), so perhaps I could even qualify for certain accommodations on the test if need be/ if they are offered? 

 

Anyways, this post of sort of all over the place :lol: But if anyone has any answers they could offer, I would greatly appreciate it :) 

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Posted (edited)

 

12 hours ago, Dr. Stuck said:

 

So I am an undergrad psychology student in Canada with a GPA of 3.9/4.0 and aspirations of obtaining a doctorate degree. I have known since i was young that my ultimate goal would be to get my PhD, but I really do not know what i should do. Something that really interests me is a career in clinical child psychology! However, I hear that it is insanely tough to get into a PhD program for this. My grades are good, but after hearing some people discuss how hard it is to get in, I just seem to have no confidence in my ability to achieve this goal. I do not have any research experience yet, but i am finishing my last two years of my UG degree at the university in my home town (University of New Brunswick) and this school has a MA/PhD program in clinical psych so I imagine I should be able to hopefully get some experience in the lab over the next two years? 

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.

12 hours ago, Dr. Stuck said:

 

Something else that has always interested me a lot is sociology. I have to decide whether to go down the clinical psych route or do an honours in sociology and become a professor. I am told that after obtaining a PhD in sociology, it is next to impossible to get a job as a tenure track professor given the lack of opportunities now. Is this true? Would clinical psych be a "safer" route to go, financially speaking? 

 

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.

12 hours ago, Dr. Stuck said:

Something else I am wondering about is the GRE's. With a lot of hard work and studying, is this a test that one can improve a fair amount on? I have some learning disabilities that make standardized testing somewhat difficult for me (but certainly not impossible), so perhaps I could even qualify for certain accommodations on the test if need be/ if they are offered? 
 

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.

Edited by Oshawott

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Posted (edited)

On 18/06/2017 at 4:36 PM, Dr. Stuck said:

Something else I am wondering about is the GRE's. With a lot of hard work and studying, is this a test that one can improve a fair amount on? I have some learning disabilities that make standardized testing somewhat difficult for me (but certainly not impossible), so perhaps I could even qualify for certain accommodations on the test if need be/ if they are offered? 

 

Anyways, this post of sort of all over the place :lol: But if anyone has any answers they could offer, I would greatly appreciate it :) 

 

The GRE math isn't tough at all, it's easier than the SAT

Also, you seem to be using a completely different username although ur the same person who has been messaging me...

Edited by elemosynarical

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