I'm new to this page, new to this forum, and coming back into the anxiety of applying to schools (it feels like junior year of high school in my mind!).😣
I'm planning to apply to programs in Clinical Psych (PhD), but I've got loads of questions. Perhaps other current/past applicants can help out?
I'll go in order of time:
Picking your programs/PIs: I'm not too far behind with all of the other components: I have my GRE, a CV that is complete, my GPA, three or four people who would be comfortable writing letters of rec for me and know that I will ask this year, and I'm working on obtaining my transcripts (the last one is a purely administrative step). I'm looking at many programs (mostly in Canada), but I want to know: what are the factors that help you decide? Is it the PI you hope to work with? Is it the topic? There are so many schools and so many topics, it's quite difficult to know which one is "the one".
The number of schools: I'm seeing people who apply to 15 or 20 schools.... personally, I am not sure to have the finances in order to do this (or the time). Is this absolutely necessary? When looking for a job out of my Master program, I was told that it's better to have 5 really well aimed applications than 10 that I wrote haphazardly. Is this applicable in this search process, in anyone's opinion?
On to the details of the application:
Concerning transcripts: I've read a few sites where they say that applications ask for unofficial transcripts and then ask for an official transcript upon admission. Can anyone confirm to me that this is/is not the case? I ask because my transcripts are scattered in different countries, and in some cases, I need to take the time to go fetch them personally if people want official transcripts. I need to plan ahead on this one!
For the CV: Is there anyone here who's been out of school for a while? I completed a two year master's, then worked three years after my master's. Now I'm hoping to get back into a PhD program, as I'm now 100% sure that I want to be involved in this field in terms of both research and clinical work. If this is your case, is the rule for the CV, "put absolutely everything"? My CV is about 5 pages if I do this. After spending some time in the job search field, I'm feeling self-conscious about this.
For the interviews: This step is far away, but bear with me... I live in Europe, and the programs of interest are in North America. The interview weekends are a big deal, but I don't know if I need to plan to clear all of my weekends and weeks in February, take days of vacation at work, put aside over 3000 dollars for plane tickets... To make matters more complicated, my significant other will be defending his PhD around that time (he can move his deadlines around but we're trying to figure out what works for us). He obviously wants me to be present. I only have one example of someone like me- a person who was in my lab and had his interviews by skype for Vanderbilt neuroscience. Can anyone help me out? Do I need to be present for in-person interview weekends as an applicant living on another continent? Will not being there in-person hurt me (if they've invited me to interview by skype, I suppose that means they're interested anyway)? For this one I think the opinion of those already in grad programs may be of value