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Strong academics, little research experience...

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Okay, so I am in the process of researching programs and getting my applications together. I am planning on applying for a PhD in Social Work or Sociology (depending on the program or the fit) and I have NO IDEA whether I am competitive or not. I did really well academically in my undergrad and in my master's program (I have an MSW), but I have little research experience to speak of. I am wondering if someone can give me an idea of what kinds of programs I need to look at, and whether the Ivy league is completely out of reach for me.

My stats:

Cumulative Undergrad GPA: 3.8 at a mid-sized state school

Major and Minor Undergrad GPA: 4.0

Graduated Magna Cum Laude and with University Honors. I completed an honors thesis my senior year and presented it at the university honors conference. This was an independent research project, but was not related to my major at all.

I have 4 research and statistics classes under my belt (got As in all of them), one of which included designing and implementing a research project (I have a feeling this doesn't count as real research experience, but it's all I have).

I was very involved in undergrad so I was also the Undergraduate Student Government Secretary and the senator for the Arts and Sciences college (not sure if this matters for anything).

Graduate GPA: 3.8 at a top 10 program in my field

GRE Scores Quant: 155, Verbal: 162, Writing: 4.5 (I'm planning on retaking over the summer to try to get my quant over 160, and I'd like to get my writing score up).

Since graduating with my MSW I have been in direct clinical practice working with individuals with substance use disorders. In my current job I was responsible for creating a school-based substance abuse program and am now implementing that program. My research interests include adolescents, adolescent health, sexual behavior, and substance abuse. I know I will have strong recommendations (two former professors and my undergrad honors thesis advisor, who was a dean at my school) and I can write a good SOP. Can anyone give me an idea of how much my lack of real research experience will hurt me? Be brutal.

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It will hurt you, particularly depending on what you want to study. There's also probably not much you can do about it unless you plan to try to get a job as a RA.

Here's my real question: why do you care about the Ivy League schools? Your priority should be on finding schools which are a good fit for your research interests, not choosing schools based on their membership in an athletic conference.

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