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About topsailpsych

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

  • Location
    MO, USA
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Clincal/Counseling Psychology

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  1. I was rejected from 15 programs that cycle and after receiving the rejection, emailed the POI with whom I had had communication prior to applying to see if I could receive any feedback. I eventually heard back from 3 POIs, 2 of which were from the schools which received the score report.
  2. I took the Psych GRE and scored in the 30th percentile. I was not a psych major and it had been over a decade since I took the intro psych course in undergrad by the time I took the test, so I bought several study guides and spent months studying. The vast majority of my test was names and dates and while I had studied what each person did, I paid little attention to what year things happened in (lots of questions about X person did Y thing which influenced Z person to do their thing, in what years did each person make their breakthrough discovery). I had taken a dozen practice tests and had gotten in the 90-95th percentile on all of them, so I felt super confident going into the test and was shocked and devastated when I got my scores. So 3 schools I applied to first round had the terrible scores on record because they were the free score reports that I had to commit to before taking the test. Two of those schools told me they did not consider the test scores with my application because they only consider the Psych GRE if it helps your application, but I did get rejected from both of those schools - so maybe not having it hurt me or maybe it was just the quality of my application that year (the third school never returned my emails asking for feedback on my application, so I have no idea what they did or did not consider). If you can afford the time and money to study more and take it again, there's no harm in doing so, but there are lots of other things that will help your application more than re-taking the Psych GRE so if you feel weak in those areas it may be a better use of your time and resources to focus your efforts on adding additional trainings/certifications to your CV, investing in a relationship with a potential LOR writer, finishing a manuscript and submitting for publication, etc.
  3. I thought applying and interviewing would be the hard part, but preparing to move, looking for housing in a city I visited once for 4 hours, attempting to wrap up my life in one place, finishing a large research study that has me traveling a good bit has been overwhelming, and dealing with a family health crisis has definitely been harder. What did you find (or are you finding, if you're making the transition as well) that helped to keep you from getting too burned out during the transition phase? I want to start my PhD program excited, fresh, and ready to dive in, but right now I'm worried I'm going to arrive to the first day of classes exhausted and hanging on by threads.
  4. I had two professors write a letter together and co-sign, because I had only taken one short class with each professor so neither felt they knew me well enough to write a letter independently, but together the felt that could comprehensively address my performance as a student. I was accepted into 4 programs with that as one of my letters, so I don't think it's a problem.
  5. This was feedback I received from three different people in academia whom I have developed relationships with over the last few years - all at different universities, and none knew one another - 2 in clinical and 1 in counseling. I did not seek advice from any of these people during my initial application cycle but went to them afterward to seek further advice on how to improve my application. All three explicitly stated that they have experienced this at each of the universities they have worked at and in talking to colleagues it seems to be common that it is harder to get into a clinical program with a counseling background. Because of this advice, I focused more on counseling psych programs and had far more success.
  6. This sounds very much like me last year. I'm an older applicant, married, and was in my last year of my master's program in Counseling Psych when I applied last year, I only received 1 interview and ultimately was waitlisted and then rejected from that school. It was my 4th time applying for PhD programs (long story I'd be glad to explain if it's important), I had done everything that had been suggested to me to do to be the best possible candidate and it was soul crushing to not get in. My biggest two weaknesses of my application were that my research experience had never led to publication (we had a manuscript in progress for one research team, but it was only a lit review), and that I was applying to clinical programs with a master's in counseling which is an uphill battle due to some (real and perceived) differences in training models and emphasis of the training. I applied for and was accepted into a year-long research training program in Europe, the Junior Researcher Programme, which has offered me opportunities to present my personal research and the work of my research team at conferences around Europe, allowed me to network with research colleagues from around the world (and is leading to some cool collaboration efforts on new projects in development), will lead to a journal publication (agreement between the journal and the program that they will guarantee publication as long as our manuscript meets their requirements) and that training has been the one thing every POI asked about in interviews. The application period for the Junior Researcher Programme is open for a few more days. If applying for that is something that is interesting to you, send me a PM and I can send you the website link so you can check out more info. There are lots of things you can try to do over the next year to improve your application, but ultimately every application cycle is different and there's a definitely element of luck involved, as you never know if a certain professor will have funding, what departmental politics are going on, and if your POI has a specific need to fill in their lab (are they looking for a person of a particular demographic, with a particular background, etc.), and that can all change year to year. So if you decide to apply again next year, hopefully luck will be more on your side - at least you will already have the GRE out of the way and you can focus your time and effort on other areas of your application (I found that to be incredibly comforting this cycle). Good luck!
  7. I came in to each interview with a list of questions for each person that I was interviewing with. Most of the time, I tried to make my questions conversational, and would try to dovetail off of things we already mentioned in the interview, and sometimes if I had limited time and several important questions that I really wanted answered, I just went down through the list to make sure I fit them in. The questions were things that would be helpful in determining if the program is the right fit - mentorship/communication style questions for POI, collaboration opportunities and general program questions for other professors, practicum questions for training director, and lifestyle/working with POI questions for students. I asked a lot of the same questions for each program to be able to compare apples to apples between programs, but some questions were definitely program specific (one program had an APA site visit coming up in a couple of months and I wanted to ask about the history of APA accreditation and therefore likelihood of reaccreditation - found out they had been continuously accredited for 40 years so I felt good that reaccreditation was pretty likely). I was brutally honest about my areas for growth. One program specifically asked about my weakness in the clinical realm, and I said treatment planning because in my previous experience I had to create a set treatment plan by session 3 and I struggled to stick to it after session 5 or 6 because I couldn't figure out how to make them reasonably flexible to adjust to changing client needs. Programs that asked about general weaknesses, I mentioned not having any experience with qual or mixed methods research, and that I had no experience yet seeing a quant study through from start to finish (I always joined a team part way through the process and never got to see from beginning to end). Strengths typically depended upon the day and what came to mind based upon the prior conversation - one program that particularly valued advocacy I spoke about my experience working in government and how that knowledge would make me an excellent advocate, and another program I talked about my persistence because it's taken multiple cycles and many little steps to finally get accepted into a program. Being able to evaluate your areas for growth is a key skill to be successful in graduate school and in your career as a psychologist, so that question is a good way for programs to figure out if you can do that or not - it's not a perfunctory question.
  8. This should say, if you already have completed a practitioner focused graduate degree.....I got to typing too fast.
  9. In your last year of undergrad, I highly recommend finding a lab on your campus to volunteer with to get some experience with research, and a volunteer or paid work experience with a crisis center or local mental health facility to get some experience in a counseling/helping role. These experiences will help to give you a better idea of what you want in your professional life and provide good experience to put on your CV in applying for graduate programs. There are several graduate programs which can lead to a career in mental health, but they take different lengths of time, have vastly different costs, lead to careers doing slightly to vastly different tasks, and require some very different experiences as prerequisites. Several Master's programs can lead to licensure as an LPC - LMHC, MA/MEd/MS in Psychology/Counseling, and LMFT (you could also go the social work route, get an MSW and become an LCSW). These programs are generally 2-3 years and focus on the craft of counseling, with little emphasis in research. The cost for these programs varies wildly, and funding assistance varies greatly, but you'll be more likely to find assistantships and funding for a program at a large state university. You'll also want to check on license requirements for your state - my state aligns their licensing for LPCs with CACREP so going to a CACREP accredited institution helps to keep from jumping additional hoops for licensure. There are some opportunities for participation in research with a Master's degree, but your chances of being hired by a university or hospital to be a researcher or of receiving grants from major governmental entities are limited to nonexistant without someone with a PhD being a Co-I. So this might be a good route if you want to be a therapist and don't have interest in pursuing research. There are lots of jobs available at community clinics, hospitals/clinics, or in online therapy orgs for those with LPCs, and you can also open a private practice. If you want/need a doctoral level degree to pursue the career of your dreams, and want to learn to incorporate research into your clinical practice, but not perform research yourself, you might want to consider a Doctoral of Psychology, PsyD. These are typically 3-5 year programs, typically teach you well how to understand research articles and incorporate the information into your clinical practice, however it is quite rare to find fully or even partially funded PsyD programs so these are often quite expensive. Most of these programs don't require you to have a Master's and very few will waive any courses if you do come in with one, so it's not advisable to do a separate Master's degree first. You'd be eligible for a job as a clinician at lots of hospitals/clinics, community clinics, online therapy orgs or open a private practice. Typically you'll receive a little more in compensation with the PsyD than you would as an LPC, but not by a ton, and there are some places where they prefer those with doctorates so it's much easier to get a job (the VA health system being one - far more openings for PsyDs than LPCs, but they require APA accredited programs, so that limits your PsyD program choices by a lot). PsyDs are also sometimes hired as professors in LPC oriented programs or as clinical directors at PhD programs, but it is very rare to find a PsyD with a tenure track job at a top university since those jobs require research and a PsyD program doesn't train you to be a researcher. If you like research and want to learn to become an independent researcher, as well as receive training as a clinician, you'll want to look at APA accredited PhD programs (if you decide you only like the research and don't care about the clinical practice, you can look at non-APA accredited or research only PhD programs). You can pursue clinical or counseling PhD programs, but if you already have a practitioner focused PhD program, like the LMHC or a Master's in Counseling, you'll be better suited to pursue a counseling psych PhD program. Both clinical and counseling psych PhD programs are incredibly competitive, with clinical being the even more competitive between the two. These programs are frequently partially or fully funded and will train you to be both a researcher and a clinician, with each program varying regarding the balance between the two. Exactly what is covered in a "fully funded" program, varies between programs but generally that means you are working for the school part-time in some capacity - as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or general graduate assistant helping with program enhancement/development, and in exchange for that, your tuition is waived and you receive a stipend. The amount of this stipend is never luxurious, but it's typically enough that most grad students make it work. Typically you have to pay out of pocket for books and university fees (which I have seen range from a few hundred per semester to several thousand per semester), and insurance is becoming a more common thing to have to pay out of pocket for, but most universities have inexpensive student insurance you can purchase if you're too old to remain on your parents'. Having a PhD from an APA accredited program opens the doors wide open regarding careers in the mental health field - virtually anything imaginable is a possibility. For clinical jobs at hospitals there is rarely a pay difference between those with PhDs and those with PsyDs, but with a PhD you may have the opportunity to give lectures for Grand Rounds, help teach classes if it's a teaching hospital, be involved in research, or develop a hybrid career - working in several different places doing different things. I've known many professors who teach, have a research lab, and have a clinical practice on the side, or do advocacy work/education on the side, etc. The length of these programs varies depending upon whether you come in with a Master's degree or not, but 5-8 years is fairly standard. Whether or not the program will accept transfer credit/waive courses if you have previously completed a Master's degree varies widely so you have to look at the program website and some programs specify that they prefer candidates with a Master's degree or straight out of undergrad, so that's important to know in advance. Regarding the logistics of getting to grad school, that entirely depends upon your individual situation - if you're location bound and cannot move for some reason (maybe you're the primary caregiver for an ailing family member, you have a spouse who cannot move, or you have special medical needs and changing doctors could put you at risk), then how many schools you apply to may be quite small and you may have to apply several cycles in a row before you are accepted somewhere. Getting into a master's level program is much easier than a doctoral level program, and if you want a doc program with full funding you are virtually guaranteed to have to move. It's typically recommended to apply to at least 7 PhD programs if you are applying around the country. Last cycle I applied to 15, this cycle I applied to 14 (rejected from all last cycle, received 4 offers this cycle). If your family has the financial means and good will to help you move - awesome, if not, you get to figure it out. Occasionally some fully funded PhD programs will have small grants to help students move but those are rare. Unfortunately, graduate programs are expensive all the way around - applying is expensive, traveling for interviews is expensive, moving is expensive, paying for books/fees is expensive, going to conferences is expensive, traveling for internship interviews is expensive.......it's all expensive and that is prohibitive to a lot of people who don't come from means. Those costs, even in fully funded programs, are a significant consideration if you don't have a large saving account, family support, a spouse/partner who works and can support those costs, etc. I always recommend filling out FAFSA every year - it doesn't take very long, and there are sometimes scholarships, etc. that require you to fill it out. So I find it's worth the 30-ish minutes every year to update it just in case it helps to get you more money There are different rules for how things are considered for grad school vs undergrad, and I'm not fully certain about those, but I do know that at some point in grad school you will no longer be considered as a dependent of your parents. If you currently receive no support from your parents, there is a process to be considered independent during undergrad according to FAFSA, and you can talk to your school's financial aid office about how to go about that (it's been a long time since I did that and I don't remember what all I had to do). Good luck! You have a lot to consider, but luckily you have tons of potential avenues to pursue your goal of a career in mental health. You just have to decide which one is the best fit for you.
  10. I didn't get any particularly unusual questions - mostly why I was pursuing a PhD, what my goals were after the program, what my research interests are and why I thought they fit with that professor, my previous research experience, previous professional experience, and I got a couple of programs which asked why counseling psych vs clinical, and why I was attracted to their training model. One program had two practical application sections of the interview, so as a group we had to decide on an empirical study and design in about 30 mins then present it, and the other as a pair we had to watch a client video and develop a case conceptualization and a basic treatment plan proposal for the client. The things that I found most important were to be as honest and authentic as possible, even when the questions were hard and uncomfortable, and to have lots of questions for everyone I met - even if it was just a basic question about what they think makes the program unique or what they like best about teaching/researching - as this showed my interest in the program, it helped to keep conversation flowing rather than an awkward silence, and it helped me to get more information to understand if this place would really be the best fit for me. I found that the places I felt like I could be happiest were the places where we lost track of time in each interview and the conversations flowed most naturally because those places made me feel most welcome and most like I could ask for help/insight/advice/collaboration with anyone in the department, not just my primary advisor. Another common question I asked was about collaboration opportunities with multiple faculty members as I wanted a department that encouraged collaboration and where I could learn from a lot of different perspectives and styles because a doc program is one of the few opportunities I will ever have where I have multiple experts in research available to me all in one place to be able to observe and learn from.
  11. Hey everyone! I just accepted an offer of admission to the Counseling Psych PhD program at UTK and will be moving there in August. Since y'all have been there for a year now, do you have any suggestions for moving and adjusting to Knoxville?
  12. I just committed to a program today and released my other offers. I am simultaneously over the moon and absolutely terrified. I know I made the right decision for me, but there were so many amazing programs to choose from that I can't help but wonder "what if". So I'm trying to distract myself with packing and looking into housing options in my soon to be new home.
  13. Today I officially accepted my offer from the University of Tennessee Knoxville Counseling Psych PhD program. I'm so excited! Is anyone else moving to Knoxville soon too?
  14. Has anyone heard any more recent info from Georgia State since we received the strange email last week?
  15. Interesting. I've never heard of that before, but I've only looked at APA accredited programs, and they don't accredit any EdD programs at all. It sounds like you're interested in licensure. What sort of work are you interested in after you complete your degree and are you looking at programs in the US or Canada?
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