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Everything posted by PsyDuck90

  1. So yeah, this school is better ranked and is fully funded, meaning no debt. If you have any interests in academia, which you hinted at in your original post, rankings do matter. It really comes down to if your family can make the logistics work, and if you are comfortable with the way that will look.
  2. I have a few thoughts. The first is that you want to ideally try to shoot for funded programs. Unfunded programs can put you in a lot of debt that can have lasting impacts on other life decisions, such as buying a home, raising a family, etc. The reality is that psychologists do not start off making enough to justify 6-figures worth of debt (look up average starting salaries for psychologists compared to medical doctors--$200k worth of debt is not as crippling in the latter). The funded PsyD programs are about the same competitiveness as balanced PhD (scientist-practitioner) programs. Clinical Science PhD programs, while still teaching clinical skills, typically put a greater emphasis on research than scientist-practioner or practitioner-scholar programs. When choosing doctoral programs to apply to, you want to look at a few things. 1. You want to look at their APA-accredited internship match rate (it should really be 100% or close to it consistently for the last few years). 2. You want to look at their licensure percentages. How many people who are eligible have gone on to get licensed? If it is a PsyD program, that number should also be hovering around 100% because the vast majority of people who go into these programs do so in order to get licensed and practice. 3. You want to look at the sizes of the incoming cohorts. Smaller cohorts allow for more individual attention from faculty. For instance, my PsyD program cohort has 8 of us. The small class sizes are great for having in depth discussions. Grad school is less lecture and more application/discussion than undergrad. Also, the director of clinical training knows each student and his/her/their interests. It is much easier to get the individualized attention you need to grow as a clinician when your faculty can give you detailed feedback regarding your work and your career trajectory. 4. You want to examine the faculty list. What kind of research are the people doing? Regardless of PsyD or PhD, you will need to do some research and write a dissertation (possibly more lax of a project for a PsyD than a PhD but not necessarily). You want to select programs that have faculty who study the things you want to study and who's lab you can join and who can serve as your dissertation chair. Some PsyD programs, like mine, follow a mentor model similar to PhDs where you enter the program matched with a specific faculty mentor due to research interests. One way to start developing a list of programs is to read articles of interest and see where those authors are teaching. 5. Look at what kinds of practicum experiences the program has available, as well as if they have a clinic. If you have an idea of what kind of population you want to work with, it's a good idea to make sure you have the opportunity to gain that type of experience in that program. Two great resources to check out are Mitch's Guide to Grad School, which can be found here: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://mitch.web.unc.edu/files/2017/02/MitchGradSchoolAdvice.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjTz7TOyufpAhVJlHIEHRmWBpMQFjAAegQIBRAC&usg=AOvVaw3UbQzDdWDrXVeX0-L58VK9 and Norcross's "Insider's Guide to Clinical and Counseling Psychology" which you can find on Amazon or wherever you prefer to purchase books. In terms of beefing up your application, the best thing to do is research. It's awesome that you were able to present at your school's research symposium. Try to see if you can get more research products. See if you can submit a poster for a regional or national conference or help co-author a publication with a professor. The more research experience, the better. I honestly don't think getting your CNA license will really help your application. I doubt it will harm it, but there are probably very few faculty who would see it as a particular plus unless you can very clear show how this experience ties into your goal of being a psychologist. Crisis line counseling is a pretty good option depending on the service. Volunteering for a local domestic violence agency hotline or a suicide hotline looks better than something like 7cups where training consists of an online course. Lastly, you mention masters programs. If you are interested in getting a master's level license, such as an LPC, LCSW, or MFT, you want to make sure the program meets those requirements. There are master's programs in psychology (including clinical psychology) that do not lead to a master's level licensure, but are instead stepping stones to PhDs/PsyDs. Given your GPA, it doesn't look like you need to get a master's en route to a doctorate. Most of the time, people do so to make up for a low undergrad GPA or if they majored in something completely different. You're better off spending that time trying to get more research experience and further build those connections to get solid letters of recommendation, especially since most masters are unfunded. There are some that provide funding, and there have been threads here on them. William and Mary and Wake Forest are the 2 that jump to mind right away. However, if you think you are fine working as a master's level clinician, then that is a great way to go. The program is much shorter, so you're out in the workforce sooner. It all depends on what your specific goals are. Some require a PhD or PsyD, others don't. Mitch's guide explains all the different degrees pretty well. I'm sorry. This is probably way more information than you really asked for. However, it sounds like you are just starting to look into programs and options, and these are all things I wish I knew when I was an undergrad thinking about grad school. Feel free to ask any other questions!
  3. To clarify, is the fully funded program higher ranked as well? Personally, I would go with that program. Less debt is always a good way to go. With kids, I'm assuming that money can be put to much better use. However, I guess it depends on how feasible it is for you to relocate or be away from your family.
  4. I am in an unrelated field, so keep that in mind. However, 2 questions strike me as I read this. 1. Can you get the type of career you want with either degree? Can you use the infectious disease knowledge from UNMC to do biodefense research? 2. Can you feasibly afford paying back $200k+ in student loans post graduation? What are average starting salaries in your field? I would err on the side of caution and go by the lower estimates you find. You want the degree to enhance your life, but is it worth it if it saddles you with so much debt you will not be able to buy a house, afford to provide for a family, travel, or anything else that you may want to do in your life? Because, don't forget to take compound interest into account because that $200k will be way more later.
  5. Hi there! Welcome to GradCafe. There is a GRE subforum under "Applications" where people typically post these kinds of things.
  6. This is not the case for the majority of US based clinical psychology PhD programs, which is what OP was asking about.
  7. I would more than likely chalk it up to pandemic combined with it being the end of semester/summer break. Honestly, there have been times I've emailed my advisor and she doesn't get back to me, so I send a follow up and she had missed my previous email. I would consider that before them ignoring you because it's too late to join.
  8. Another option, if you happen to have any friends or family that are still in school, you can ask them to pull some of these articles. I did that to, which was helpful. Sometimes public libraries have access to some databases. Also, check with your school's alumni office. Sometimes you can still get access, but you have to go through a separate process than matriculated students.
  9. This is definitely a possibility. Schools have lost a lot of funding, so there may be fewer spots due to less money for stipends. There will also probably be more people applying since the unemployment rate has skyrocketed and not everyone is going to be able to go back to work. When this happen, people often turn back to school. I'm sure most of these people won't have their sights set on a psych PhD, but it's possible that at least a small portion may do so.
  10. If they do, they aren't going to make that determination anytime soon. Application cycles for undergrad and for PhDs are different. Since apps aren't due until December usually, there's still plenty of time for testing centers to open up.
  11. I would maybe stay away from places like the University of Phoenix or whatnot, but plenty of state schools offer online classes. Honestly, the pre-reqs are just a box to check. They want to make sure you've heard of the DSM before taking a class on the fine-grained details of psychopathology. They are just there to provide the basic, foundational knowledge you need to be able to understand the coursework you will take in grad school. They are also often a university requirement as much as a departmental requirement in that even if the individual professor may not care, the dean's office may say "nope, they're missing this requirement for admission." I know for my program, the program faculty make their admissions decisions, but then they have to submit everything to the Dean's office for final approval. More often then not, it's just a rubber stamp type of process, but the university has the opportunity to say no to any candidate based on the admissions criteria that are outlined online.
  12. If you peruse this forum, the masters at TC has a bit of a reputation for being a major cash cow for the department. While many have said they are happy with the education they received, the cost is huge and not necessarily commensurate. Research and advisor research fit are arguably the two most important factors in getting into clinical psych PhD programs. If you have a low undergrad GPA or come from a non-psych background, getting a masters can be helpful. Otherwise, many people often opt for full-time paid research coordinator gigs. I say this as someone who did an MA and wish I knew about this option then. If you are set on the masters, I would choose the cheapest one (exuberant MA debt isn't worth it) with faculty who match your research interests and definitely make sure there is a thesis option that you do. I would also spend that time trying to present posters at conferences and maybe even submit a publication.
  13. @EmpatheticMastermind, I think the biggest hurdle is explaining the jump and fleshing out a clear thought process in your SOP of how you got to this point and where you want to go. It sounds like this will be a key component, since you have a non-traditional application. Your stats and R knowledge are definitely a plus. However, depending on the PI, your experience at the wilderness therapy company may actually be a negative, as this is not considered an evidence-based treatment and more of a fringe kind of thing. Some may find this experience valuable, but I've come across academics who view these kinds of things in maybe not the most light, akin to slapping the "therapy" label onto camping activities. If you get questions about this in the interview, I would just have a strong, cogent answer prepared in the back of your mind. Another thing that may be beneficial is to try to get some more traditional psych research experience under your belt (which I understand is more challenging during the pandemic). Also, most programs have some pre-reqs, like abnormal psych, research methods, etc. that incoming students should have. If you have not taken these, getting a start on those at a local community college or online can be a good idea as well.
  14. There will always be tough choices people have to make. You made the choice you felt was best for you in that moment. The important thing is to become comfortable and content with the choices we make. Clearly, you are an intelligent and accomplished individual given the fact you were presented with all these options to begin with. That was due to your intelligence, hard work, and talent. The part I bolded severely worries me. I strongly recommend you seek out counseling if you are not currently seeing a therapist. It is ok to feel low, but feelings like this can get progressively worse. Many clinicians are doing teletherapy during the COVID crisis, so you have plenty of options. The therapist will be able to help you develop skills to become more accepting of your decisions and cope with anxiety and concerns.
  15. Do you have any posters/publications. That is one of the biggest factors. Faculty like seeing research products. Clinical experience isn't as important because the opportunities open to undergrads is pretty limited anyway. However, I would really push for trying to submit posters to conferences and see if you can hop on any publications your faculty mentor may be working on. It is also not uncommon for people to take a year or 2 as a paid research assistant/coordinator prior to applying.
  16. While tricky, I don't think it's impossible. Initially, my 1st question is why the switch? Why do you want to be a clinician and what do you want your day to day to look like? If you strictly want to do therapy, then a masters in counseling or social work may be an easier and faster path to get you to where you want to be. Also, if you are dead set on a clinical psychology PhD the key is research research research. Is there a university nearby? See if you can volunteer as a research assistant in a psych faculty's lab. If you're in the NYC area, there are tons of schools such as all the CUNYs, NYU, Columbia, etc. If you happen to live in NJ, you have your pick of Rutgers, Montclair State, William Paterson, Seton Hall, etc. You can also try to find paid research assistant/research coordinator positions, but that may be trickier since you don't seem to have a research background. I would also recommend you take some basic psych courses at a community college. A. You'll need these as pre-reqs anyway, and B. You will have an easier time with research if you've at least taken an introductory research methods/statistics course for psychology/social science. You also want to think about what your particular area of interest is for research. Ideally, you want to gain experience doing that kind of research prior to applying with a few posters and maybe even a publication. When applying to Clinical Psych PhDs, the research match with a faculty member is a big component, as you typically enter with the expectation you work in that person's lab and they serve as your research mentor. You want to have a fleshed out idea of what kind of research you want to do in order to convey that fit. That is all I can think of for now, but please feel free to ask any follow up questions!
  17. While I'm not entirely familiar with that particular background check, I've gotten several in order to work/intern at various state and federal agencies, as well as entering grad school. They're more concerned with potential ethical concerns: legal action against you, criminal history, that sort of thing. In terms of work history, I would imagine that would fall more in line with checking your references and I don't think it would be seen as a big deal unless the dates are vastly different, at which point it may bring up confusion more than anything else.
  18. Check out this thread, as your story sounds incredibly similar.
  19. Definitely emphasis on the "currently." For anyone considering these options, I would urge you to consider a few things. The issue with these loan forgiveness program (with NIH being one of the more competitive ones) is that a. They can have very particular language that can easily exclude people (just look at the rates for public-service loan forgiveness programs) and b. There is no guarantee if these will exist once someone gets out of school. There are several great options when available, but they come with a caveat that is important for anyone considering taking out loans to be aware of: you may not get them so do not bank on them when deciding if/how much debt to incur for graduate school. This is more of a general public service announcement for anyone reading than a direct reply to Modulus or even OP lol.
  20. Therapy isn't a quick fix in 2 sessions. Typically, evidence-based treatments are around 8-10 sessions. It also typically requires a lot of work outside of the therapy room as well in the way of different homework assignments. Additionally, finding the right clinician is important. If you don't feel comfortable with the provider, it may be harder to open up.
  21. You investing time and energy into someone does not always mean they will return the favor. It seems like you did a very nice thing in making an effort to ease the transition for your housemate. However, that doesn't mean people will always reciprocate (or even that they have to). I would absolutely talk to the roommate about the household chores because that is a typical agreement between housemates. However, she does not owe you anything above holding up her end of the living arrangement. I understand that's frustrating and may be hard to hear. But at the end of the day, no one owes you a friendship just because you were nice to them. Ideally, we hope the energy we put in is what we get out of people. But it is not a quid pro quo situation. It must be frustrating feeling so isolated. However, at the end of the day, making you feel less so is not the responsibility of your roommate. No one is required to look after your well being aside from yourself. It's a tough lesson, but it's one everyone needs to learn at some point. Based off of this and some of your other posts, I would recommend seeking counseling if you aren't already. This may be helpful in getting you to better understand what you need and how to seek out those needs. Maybe also branching out (hard during the time of COVID), but joining clubs or sports or whatever that are related to your not academic interests. Chances are that even in a small town there are things going on if there is a university nearby. Also, try to connect with people your own age. You said there is a 10 year age gap between the two of you. While things may differ, the average 20 year old may not want to hang out with the average 30 year old (not sure if these are your ages, I'm just estimating). A decade is a big gap and a lot of people transition to different points in their lives within those 10 years.
  22. I get how frustrating a sink full of dirty dishes is. Heck, I hate when my husband does it lol. However, I personally don't think these rise to the level of asking a roommate to leave. And you will come across plenty of people who may leave their dishes in the sink, even if you are best friends. The only way to guarantee things are exactly as you like is if you live alone. I have had toxic roommates. I once had a roommate who I started out friends with. She spent the year we lived together verbally harassing me, barging into my room to yell at me about whatever her purported issue was with me. She left her dead hamster in my freezer. Berated me on a daily basis to where I never used any of the common spaces. Even though I was there first, I left when the lease was up. I couldn't stand living in that environment because it was 100% toxic. However, I also knew I could not tell someone to leave the apartment they have equal right to, so I moved into a basement studio I could afford alone. Roommate situations are not always going to be perfect (probably more often imperfect than perfect), but asking someone to leave because they like to hang out with their friends and sometimes leave dishes in the sink seems a little extra to me. I get the frustration, but telling someone to leave the house they have been paying to live in doesn't seem like an appropriate level of action to me based on the facts you've provided.
  23. Honestly, a roommate situation is a business transaction, not an automatic friendship. As long as she has been respectful and has not broken any lease condition, I don't think it's necessarily fair to ask her to move out of what has become her home just because she isn't your bestie. When you say, "she does something that we have agreed on not to do" can you give some examples? Is it like...she ordered pizza when you said you didn't want it or is it something worse? Also, are you the homeowner or are you both renters?
  24. I would look at the cost of living for wherever it is and take out the bare minimum. The less debt you graduate with, the better. The issue comes into play when you factor in the interest. $10k at the start keeps accruing interest and that interest gets capitalized, so you accrue interest on your interest. I'm not sure what interest rates are for federal loans right now, so it's hard to give a more solid answer. I personally think, the less debt the better. If you need to take some loans out to cover your basic living expenses, that's ok. But I would try to avoid taking out more than I need. It also may be in your better interest to take out smaller amounts over the 5 years than 1 lump sum of $10k because that equals less interest.
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