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iamsotired

First Cycle Results: What to do next? Please help.

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I'm 100% certain my abysmally low Quant GRE score became the Achilles' heel in my applications this first cycle for Clinical. I admit, I am not a great self-learner and therefore working with Magoosh, where the Quant questions are unstructured and not very helpful in terms of representative difficulty, threw me off.  I applied to 6 schools, and one of the POIs e-mailed me to say he fought the department to keep me due to my high GPA, strong research track, and publication record, but the department wouldn't let it go. He encouraged me to re-take the GRE and apply under him next time. Initially rejection hurt a lot, but I talked to the graduate students in my research lab and they all mentioned that they didn't get in their first cycle and re-took the GRE, got clinical experience, or just worked. However, the only interview I got was for a school that did not require the GRE and I had a very strong feeling about this place initially.  

I did apply to a Msc. in Public Health because I've noticed that this is a very common Masters among many individuals who took a gap year before applying again to Med. school and Clinical Psychology.  My parents literally asked me, "why would you apply for the most worthless degree possible?" when I initially told them that I wanted to pursue Clinical psychology. They've been horrible towards me ever since in my 2nd year of undergrad I told them that I wasn't doing Med school. I feel lost and confused, and being a first generation college student has been part of the reason why. My entire life has revolved around following a schedule, and I graduate in May and I no longer will have that schedule. It's scaring me a lot. Being a student and researcher has always brought me joy because I can see my hard work paying off. 

If I don't get in, I plan on doing the following:
-Re-take the GRE, as I found a tutor specifically for the math. I plan on dedicating enough time this round. 
-Working with a research lab at another University (I've been working with a Ph.D student for their dissertation there as I was recruited as a methodology consultant).
-Continue to work on research. 
-Teach myself R. 

Additionally, I was wondering if doing a post-bacc will be useful? I know they're usually made for individuals who have no psychology background, or a low GPA, but are there any complete research based ones? I think Berkley has one? 

Also, I want to thank you all for being emotionally honest about your experiences during the application process. It makes me feel as if I'm not alone. 

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Your plan sounds good as is. You don't need to do a formal post-bacc or MA. You already have a research connection and a plan to improve your GRE, so as long as you follow through, you should be on a good path. Also, part of graduate school is being able to be a self-learner and self-motivate yourself to accomplish tasks. Therefore, honing those skills would also help you once you get into grad school.  

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2 minutes ago, PsyDGrad90 said:

Your plan sounds good as is. You don't need to do a formal post-bacc or MA. You already have a research connection and a plan to improve your GRE, so as long as you follow through, you should be on a good path. Also, part of graduate school is being able to be a self-learner and self-motivate yourself to accomplish tasks. Therefore, honing those skills would also help you once you get into grad school.  

The only volunteer/clinical experience I've had was through my 2 practicums, is this sufficient? Again, I don't know how much weight is given clinical experience. I'm just aware that research matters a lot. 

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It sounds like you already know what you need to do! You're clearly very close since you've gotten great feedback from the people you've applied to. Beyond boosting the GRE, it seems to me like a year or two more of research experience will put you in a great spot! I applied last year as a senior in undergrad and got rejected everywhere, but one more year of working as an RA and I have been getting much better feedback this year. I wouldn't worry too much about "clinical experience", as long as you can illustrate that you can communicate effectively with human beings, you should be fine :)

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15 minutes ago, iamsotired said:

The only volunteer/clinical experience I've had was through my 2 practicums, is this sufficient? Again, I don't know how much weight is given clinical experience. I'm just aware that research matters a lot. 

As @buckeyepsych said, I wouldn't worry too much about getting more clinical experience. The main thing is really research. Try to  get conference posters/presentations and publications if possible. That will mean more than potential clinical experiences. More clinical won't hurt, but more research will have a greater impact. 

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13 minutes ago, buckeyepsych said:

It sounds like you already know what you need to do! You're clearly very close since you've gotten great feedback from the people you've applied to. Beyond boosting the GRE, it seems to me like a year or two more of research experience will put you in a great spot! I applied last year as a senior in undergrad and got rejected everywhere, but one more year of working as an RA and I have been getting much better feedback this year. I wouldn't worry too much about "clinical experience", as long as you can illustrate that you can communicate effectively with human beings, you should be fine :)

Thank you so much for replying! It's going to be approximately 8 months until the new application cycle begins and this will also be the first summer where I'm not taking any courses. How did you keep occupied? 

Also, I'm thinking of applying for marketing jobs which have a research focus. I'm realizing that I very much enjoy applied psychology due to the research aspect of it, given my background as a consultant and analyst. 

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Just now, PsyDGrad90 said:

As @buckeyepsych said, I wouldn't worry too much about getting more clinical experience. The main thing is really research. Try to  get conference posters/presentations and publications if possible. That will mean more than potential clinical experiences. More clinical won't hurt, but more research will have a greater impact. 

I have 2 manuscripts which are currently in pre-print right now and one poster presentation in May. I really do think I should continue to foster in on my research. 

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1 minute ago, iamsotired said:

Thank you so much for replying! It's going to be approximately 8 months until the new application cycle begins and this will also be the first summer where I'm not taking any courses. How did you keep occupied? 

Also, I'm thinking of applying for marketing jobs which have a research focus. I'm realizing that I very much enjoy applied psychology due to the research aspect of it, given my background as a consultant and analyst. 

I was lucky enough to get an RA position at my undergrad institution so I didn't have any down time between graduation and starting my full-time position. It definitely felt weird to not having anything to do school-wise outside of the hours of 9-5, but it's a good weird :) Find whatever job gives you the best balance of boosting your CV and giving you the quality of life (financially and enjoyment-wise) that you want for this year and get started! Then find a hobby until application season restarts. I tried knitting - it wasn't successful. 

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1 minute ago, buckeyepsych said:

I was lucky enough to get an RA position at my undergrad institution so I didn't have any down time between graduation and starting my full-time position. It definitely felt weird to not having anything to do school-wise outside of the hours of 9-5, but it's a good weird :) Find whatever job gives you the best balance of boosting your CV and giving you the quality of life (financially and enjoyment-wise) that you want for this year and get started! Then find a hobby until application season restarts. I tried knitting - it wasn't successful. 

This is really reassuring thank you! The lab I'm a coordinator/manager for is dissolving due to the PI leaving, so hopefully I can find another lab in my undergrad insit. to take me in during the summer. 

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