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Fall 2019 Psychology PhD Applicants!

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On 9/22/2018 at 10:53 AM, Psygeek said:

I only sent applications to places I really wanted to go. Don't see myself working on a topic or with someone I don't feel a fit with. I applied to 6 places - 2 ended up having issues with my transcript (meh). Did do one safety school abroad that accepted me. Ended up being accepted to my nr 1 choice because of my fit with the PI (who is apparently very picky with accepting students so I've heard now I've been here). Was nerve-wracking, but worth it. Love my advisor!

Hey Psygeek,

What was the safety school abroad that you applied to? 

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1 hour ago, Fi19 said:

Hi All!!

So great to have found this post! How many programs are on your final lists? I have 13 (clinical and counseling phds) on my list. I'm worried if I should have more? The fact that there's no such thing as "safety schools" make me panic😭

Schools on my list:

  • Clinical: University of Southern California; Southern Methodist University; Miami University; Purdue University; University of Hawaii at Manoa; University of California, Los Angelas
  • Counseling: University of Maryland, College Park; New York University; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University at Albany/State University of New York; Iowa State University; Purdue University; University of Utah

Good luck everyone!!!

I also have 13 schools on my list. I think I would apply to more if it wasn't costing an upwards of almost 2000 dollars for applications. I do think 13 is more than enough and I am excited for the schools I have selected. I even had to stop myself from adding more to the list once I hit 13. I am going to go back next month and look through all the professors to make sure I am actually interested in all the schools and be objective about it and see if I need to cut any schools out. 

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On 9/22/2018 at 12:48 PM, sassyyetclassy said:

Just curious since I have to do this for some of my schools and wanted to know if others had to do it for their programs as well:

Do y'all have to write a statement of purpose/letter of intent in addition to a personal statement/diversity statement?

I think I am fine in terms of the statement of purpose and what direction I want to take it, but I am unclear what direction I should go in terms of my personal statement/diversity statement without sounding repetitive.

I read in other blog posts that the personal statement is supposed to be more about the life experiences that inform your field of study, so should I focus exclusively on that if I am already writing about my research experience and professional experience in my statement of purpose/letter of intent?

     I have had to write just a few diversity statements in addition to an SOP. My SOP highlights experience, education, interests blah blah blah. My diversity statement describes the characteristics that make me "unique" and a positive contribution to the program and vocation. 

Yes to life experiences, personal characteristics, hardships, in the personal/diversity statement. 

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53 minutes ago, Le Chat said:

     I have had to write just a few diversity statements in addition to an SOP. My SOP highlights experience, education, interests blah blah blah. My diversity statement describes the characteristics that make me "unique" and a positive contribution to the program and vocation. 

Yes to life experiences, personal characteristics, hardships, in the personal/diversity statement. 

That makes sense, thank you so much!

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10 hours ago, liznlex said:

I have fewer than that and its stressing me out lol! I am applying to 6 counseling psych phds and 4 masters programs. I know, realistically, with my undergrad gpa and limited research experience, I am most likely going to have to do a masters first --- but wanted to try my shot at doctorates as well! It seems like most people are applying to 10-15 schools, so I think your 13 is pretty standard! 

Thanks! I’ll probably stick to my 13 and start writing my essays. I’m applying to masters as well. Hashtag the anxiety is real lol. Best of luck!!!

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10 hours ago, aokanlawon said:

I also have 13 schools on my list. I think I would apply to more if it wasn't costing an upwards of almost 2000 dollars for applications. I do think 13 is more than enough and I am excited for the schools I have selected. I even had to stop myself from adding more to the list once I hit 13. I am going to go back next month and look through all the professors to make sure I am actually interested in all the schools and be objective about it and see if I need to cut any schools out. 

Haha. We’re the complete opposite. I do worry about the insane costs. But I’m seriously anxious about ending up not getting into any programs. I took two gap years off and hope to get back to school next year. Guess there’s no way of knowing for sure what’s gonna happen. Good luck!!!!!

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Hi, everyone!

It's been great to read through this thread and see everyone's profiles (and comparing it against my own lol). Figured it was about time I posted here myself, though.

I'm applying to social psych programs. My research interests are at the intersection of inequality, judgement and decision making, and wellbeing. I'm not too picky about location, as long as there's a match in interests and I get good funding. I'm still on the look out for profs, but these are the schools I'm looking at for now:

Miami University in Ohio, UC Berkeley, Georgetown, Rutgers - Newark, University of Virginia, and University of Toronto. 

I have a master's in Applied Psychology (Clinical specialization) and worked for a year as an Assistant Prof teaching Counselling Psych grad students (in my country, if you have a Master's degree and pass a national eligibility exam, you can teach higher ed). I also guided six students with their master's thesis during this time. I really wanted to get some professional research experience, though, so I quit my job after a year and am currently working as an RA on a funded project at a prestigious university. I've interned at an internationally renowned lab with a great prof in US. I also did a bunch of independent research projects during my undergrad and post grad years, and my master's thesis is on a really unique topic and great fit with my research interests. I took the GRE a while back and scored 156 (Q), 161 (V), and 4.5 (Writing). 

So I'm not worried about my LORs and my grades. I am, however, worried about my research experience and lack of publications. I'm working on getting stuff published right now, and hope to have maybe 2 by the time I apply, but considering the competition, I don't think that's enough. I'm also worried about the perception of my degree, since its from an intl one. 

So, any suggestions on how to improve my application? Also, please pm if you have any prof/uni recs that you think might match with my research interests! Thanks, and all the best to everyone applying!

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Hi folks, just checking in. I've submitted most of my apps at this point, except for WJC and U Hartford (the latter of which needs to calm down with all the essays it requires). Took the GRE a week and a half ago and scores just came in - 168V, 160Q, 5.5 AW. I'm not super happy about the Q score, but it is what it is. Hopefully the nice V will make up for it.

Now we sit and wait patiently for the LOR writers to get their act together xD

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@FM2 I think everyone worries about not having enough publications, presentations, etc. I have even posted about it here, but I have tried to keep my insecurities at bay because the only way we will make it through is convincing ourselves that we are good enough to get accepted.

Overall, you seem to have a great application, and I don't think that faculty will judge you more harshly because of an international degree. I have worked with many people who did their undergrad outside of the US. However, I am not sure of your immigration status, but some programs do have a limited number of slots for international students for funding reasons. For instance, one of my research supervisors was international when she was applying to graduate school and ended up turning down a top acceptance because they were unable to offer her assured funding throughout the program. She did end up going to another great program, so it isn't hopeless. It is just something to keep in mind and to ask questions about when you are interviewing. 

Good luck! 

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I've applied to 12 programs each of the last 3 years, reapplying to certain places (Programs and PIs I really like: Tennessee, Kansas, Ole Miss) but changing the others. This will mark year 4, and to say I am frustrated is putting it mildly. I've continued to be active in research labs where I got my master's, but none of these have led to publishable articles (It is a very small, terminal master's program at a very small midwest university.) However, many of these projects have resulted in posters and oral presentations. I've also conducted mock interviews with the faculty at 2 different universities to improve my interviewing, as I received 7 interviews last year (but zero offers). I have 13 poster/oral presentations (3 more pending this fall), an unpublished empirical master's thesis, and 1 manuscript about to be submitted for publication (although the faculty advisor thinks it is likely to be rejected.)

My metrics are quite good:

B.S. Mathematics (2005) 3.53 GPA

B.A. Psychology (2015) 4.0

M.A. Psychology, clinical emphasis (2018) 4.0 GPA

GRE 163 Quant, 162 Verbal, 5.5 writing

This year I am applying to: Kansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Kent State, Toledo, Missouri-Columbia, St. Louis University, Alabama-Birmingham, and Southern Miss (Counseling). Research interests in the areas of depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation, specifically in adolescent and young adult populations. Additional interests in technology, mobile devices, and gaming as potential vehicles for intervention. My career goal is to be a university professor.

A Ph. D. is a lifelong goal, but I'm seriously wondering if it is time to accept that I am not meant to get into a clinical program. Is the only way to improve my application through getting 3-4 publications? I'm not convinced that is doable in my current environment, and so I am looking for other alternatives.I'm grateful for any feedback.

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I sent off all my GRE score reports, my recommenders have been told to expect emails, and my personal statement has been finalized for my first school and just needs to be personalized for my other schools. I'm slowly but surely getting these applications done. Next thing I have to do is actually scan in the transcript that has been sitting on my desk for the last couple of days...

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18 hours ago, Romedy said:

I've applied to 12 programs each of the last 3 years, reapplying to certain places (Programs and PIs I really like: Tennessee, Kansas, Ole Miss) but changing the others. This will mark year 4, and to say I am frustrated is putting it mildly. I've continued to be active in research labs where I got my master's, but none of these have led to publishable articles (It is a very small, terminal master's program at a very small midwest university.) However, many of these projects have resulted in posters and oral presentations. I've also conducted mock interviews with the faculty at 2 different universities to improve my interviewing, as I received 7 interviews last year (but zero offers). I have 13 poster/oral presentations (3 more pending this fall), an unpublished empirical master's thesis, and 1 manuscript about to be submitted for publication (although the faculty advisor thinks it is likely to be rejected.)

My metrics are quite good:

B.S. Mathematics (2005) 3.53 GPA

B.A. Psychology (2015) 4.0

M.A. Psychology, clinical emphasis (2018) 4.0 GPA

GRE 163 Quant, 162 Verbal, 5.5 writing

This year I am applying to: Kansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Kent State, Toledo, Missouri-Columbia, St. Louis University, Alabama-Birmingham, and Southern Miss (Counseling). Research interests in the areas of depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation, specifically in adolescent and young adult populations. Additional interests in technology, mobile devices, and gaming as potential vehicles for intervention. My career goal is to be a university professor.

A Ph. D. is a lifelong goal, but I'm seriously wondering if it is time to accept that I am not meant to get into a clinical program. Is the only way to improve my application through getting 3-4 publications? I'm not convinced that is doable in my current environment, and so I am looking for other alternatives.I'm grateful for any feedback.

I’m surprised to hear this will be your 4th time applying to PhD Clinical Psychology programs, given your background. I’m a third-year student in the UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) Medical-Clinical Psych PhD program myself, and many of our incoming students don’t have a first-author publication or oral presentation under their belt aside from a few posters — that’s the same case at similar PhD Clinical Psych programs where I know other colleagues. 

I assume you’ve done this, but my first suggestion would be to ask for feedback from the potential mentors at the institutions you interviewed at the last time you applied. Perhaps there’s a key factor or two beyond your objective grades/research productivity/GRE or interview style that’s been impeding your placement.  

My second advice is to see if your research mentor or other faculty in your Psychology Department has any connections to faculty at a PhD Clinical/Counseling Psych Program; and if that’s the case, see if they can introduce you to these individuals at these programs. I feel that a factor that often gets ignored about this application process is that it favors those with the right social connections within the field — professors seem more willing to take in a mentee if a colleague they know well can strongly vouch for the student. 

In any case, I sincerely wish you the best on the process!

Edited by JoePianist

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14 hours ago, JoePianist said:

I feel that a factor that often gets ignored about this application process is that it favors those with the right social connections within the field — professors seem more willing to take in a mentee if a colleague they know well can strongly vouch for the student. 

I wanted to second this sentiment. Being well connected in the field goes a long way. This is something that prospective graduate students have some control over. 

Something else that goes a long way and may not seem entirely fair is a strong letter of recommendation from a "famous" faculty within the discipline. Perhaps, it is a bit of academic nepotsim, but that seems to be the reality. From my experience --albeit not entirely comprehensive--this is more likely to ensure admissions to a top program than a mid-tier first-author publication. 

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6 hours ago, ResilientDreams said:

I have all the materials assembled for my first application...now all I have to do is submit it.

wow you work fast! I'm still waiting to skype my advisors wrt the schools I've short listed hahahahahahah 😭

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6 hours ago, loffire said:

wow you work fast! I'm still waiting to skype my advisors wrt the schools I've short listed hahahahahahah 😭

Happy to hear you got a skype chat! Rooting for you this year!

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Hello! I'm applying for Social Psych PhD programs but I'm not sure if I should go for a Masters instead...

I graduated in December but I haven't done much research since. I presented at two conferences in March but I've mostly been taking a break from research. I just wanted to list my overall qualifications to see how I would fare against competing PhD applicants. I graduated in December 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology. I was suma cume laude and graduated with honors at my university, UNCG. I have five semesters of lab experience and two independent research projects (both producing statistically significant results) including my honors thesis. I presented my research at three conferences and am a member of Psy Chi. My GPA is 3.9 and my GRE scores are Verbal: 156 and Quant: 154. I'm really feeling anxious while looking at prospective PhD programs. I feel that I may be under qualified, however I know that I would like to do research in stereotypes and prejudice and would really like to gain acceptance into an Applied Psychology program. I would like to go for a PhD because I feel doing a Masters program may be redundant. Please help!!! 

Here is my list of prospective schools:

1) Loyola 

2) NYU 

3) CUNY

4) Denver University 

5) Simon Fraser 

6) VCU 

Edited by hahowell

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1 hour ago, hahowell said:

Hello! I'm applying for Social Psych PhD programs but I'm not sure if I should go for a Masters instead...

I graduated in December but I haven't done much research since. I presented at two conferences in March but I've mostly been taking a break from research. I just wanted to list my overall qualifications to see how I would fare against competing PhD applicants. I graduated in December 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology. I was suma cume laude and graduated with honors at my university, UNCG. I have five semesters of lab experience and two independent research projects (both producing statistically significant results) including my honors thesis. I presented my research at three conferences and am a member of Psy Chi. My GPA is 3.9 and my GRE scores are Verbal: 156 and Quant: 154. I'm really feeling anxious while looking at prospective PhD programs. I feel that I may be under qualified, however I know that I would like to do research in stereotypes and prejudice and would really like to gain acceptance into an Applied Psychology program. I would like to go for a PhD because I feel doing a Masters program may be redundant. Please help!!! 

Here is my list of prospective schools:

1) Loyola 

2) NYU 

3) CUNY

4) Denver University 

5) Simon Fraser 

6) VCU 

I think you've got quite a bit of research experience and you should upsell it in your sop and cv. Hopefully in your time doing research you were exposed to slightly varied topics, techniques and analyses. I would recommend retaking the GREs IF you have time. Regardless i think you should apply for PhD progs. CUNY and NYU tend to be competitive cos people like the allure of living in new york. you should mentally prepare yourself to apply again, but definitely apply to PhD  (and a few master's?) programs you think are of interest this yr

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@hahowell I do not consider myself qualified to make an assessment on whether you would be competitive for PhD programs.

However, I would like to suggest that if you think that you might not be competitive after talking to professors and the like, that you not do a masters. You are right that it is unnecessary, but beyond unnecessary it is very expensive. There are a lot of paid, bachelors-level research opportunities available in which you could make some money and gain invaluable experience all without having to do a masters. 

For example, you can look for lab manager postings, and the National Institutes of Health has a lot of research opportunities for people preparing for graduate school. You could even seek out these opportunities while you are applying for PhD programs and only take the offer if you were to not get accepted into a program. 

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Is anyone else getting increasingly listless and anxious as application deadlines creep closer? 

I keep questioning whether I am doing enough to improve my application in comparison to last year and have been waking up from nightmares lately about not receiving any acceptances, or worse not receiving interview invites to begin with.

I can’t tell if it’s imposter syndrome or what but it’s starting to make me reconsider whether or not I’m good enough for grad school and deserve to even fight for a spot 

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29 minutes ago, sassyyetclassy said:

Is anyone else getting increasingly listless and anxious as application deadlines creep closer? 

I keep questioning whether I am doing enough to improve my application in comparison to last year and have been waking up from nightmares lately about not receiving any acceptances, or worse not receiving interview invites to begin with.

I can’t tell if it’s imposter syndrome or what but it’s starting to make me reconsider whether or not I’m good enough for grad school and deserve to even fight for a spot 

I'm getting stressed about the deadlines but I think the key is to believe in yourself and your abilities (that sounds cheesy but hopefully it gets the point across). It's definitely not worth having nightmares over. We're all competent researchers and we'll end up where we're supposed to be. 

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On 10/6/2018 at 5:58 AM, sassyyetclassy said:

Is anyone else getting increasingly listless and anxious as application deadlines creep closer? 

I keep questioning whether I am doing enough to improve my application in comparison to last year and have been waking up from nightmares lately about not receiving any acceptances, or worse not receiving interview invites to begin with.

I can’t tell if it’s imposter syndrome or what but it’s starting to make me reconsider whether or not I’m good enough for grad school and deserve to even fight for a spot 

I am as well. I dont consciously feel it much, but i'm not getting good sleep. I guess part of it is knowing that from my prev application to now, my profile has not changed much (apart from a manuscript in my cv going from submitted to published and adding another manuscript to submitted). I've thought through the process a lot more this year and started way earlier (last year i started working on applications in november lol). Nonetheless don't let the imposter syndrome get the best of you! You're good enough! like many others have mentioned before, it's a crapshoot process; just gotta keep at it (coming from someone who has applied twice before already hahaha 😭)

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On 10/5/2018 at 10:47 AM, sendmeadvice said:

@hahowell I do not consider myself qualified to make an assessment on whether you would be competitive for PhD programs.

However, I would like to suggest that if you think that you might not be competitive after talking to professors and the like, that you not do a masters. You are right that it is unnecessary, but beyond unnecessary it is very expensive. There are a lot of paid, bachelors-level research opportunities available in which you could make some money and gain invaluable experience all without having to do a masters. 

For example, you can look for lab manager postings, and the National Institutes of Health has a lot of research opportunities for people preparing for graduate school. You could even seek out these opportunities while you are applying for PhD programs and only take the offer if you were to not get accepted into a program. 

Thanks for your advice! I think that it's a great idea to look for research positions instead of applying to masters programs. 

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I'm so glad that I found this forum! I'm applying Psy.D. programs (and MSW as a backup)- does anyone know if you can apply to doctoral programs as a second year after getting an MSW? Or is that just for a masters in counseling? 

Also, out of curiosity, is anyone applying to the GWU Psy.D. program? I was going to, but read that it's mainly psychoanalytically oriented. I'm just curious because their admissions essays are so unique (nice word for odd), I'd love to hear how people are handling those essays. 

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