Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kf0909

Do I reapply now or wait it out?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

hello everyone!!

i recently graduated undergrad with a psych degree, 2 years research experience and for the next year will be working full time as an RA for the same lab I was with in undergrad. applied for Clinical PhD programs this past cycle with no luck but oh well . I am currently trying to decide several things and was wondering if anyone has input!! the graduate student i work with has been pushing me to retake the GRE and apply again this cycle.  my scores were 162 (91%) verbal, 156 quant (61%) and 5 (90%) AW.  I know my quant score could stand to go up quite a bit but a lot of personal things have come up this summer (in addition to working full time) that are preventing me from devoting a lot of time to studying. I am worried that not only will I not be able to improve it in time but that it might actually go down and I will have wasted time and money on it.  

the other option i have come up with is to take another year off and try to get a new lab manager position in a different lab. this would solve some other weaknesses in my application (3rd LOR was not stellar, all my research experience is in one lab) but that's if i even manage to find a position. i'm scared I'll get to that point and not be able to find another job and then actually be out of options.

not really sure if there is a question in there lol i'm just really unsure what to do.  am I being too paranoid and should I just say what the hell and try to apply this cycle? or do you think it's worth it to take another year off to improve my application? also is my quant score really that bad or do you think it can be balanced by strengthening my research experience?

(3.89 undergrad gpa, did a senior thesis + 1 conference and 2 coming up + 1 definite manuscript and 1 or 2 more possible but won't know until after these applications are due, 2 years clinical experience)

Edited by kf0909

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn’t say you need to retake the GRE - your scores are good enough to get you past that hurdle and your time would be better spent on other aspects of your application. I would, instead, focus on solidifying more poster/paper presentations and get that 1 definite manuscript submitted and push to get one of the two others as close to submission as possible before applications are due. 

Have you also considered doing some volunteer work in another lab to get a better LOR? That way you can keep the momentum going that you likely already have in your current position and harness that rather than starting over somewhere else (since it would take time for you to get on any papers/projects). Maybe even consider taking a day a week to get involved in another lab? Just a thought!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im in a similar position to you, and what I've come to realize is that clinical isn't a race; extra time won't really harm your application when your time is spent well. Again, depends on your goals and the schools you're applying to, but I think taking an extra year to get pubs and conferences done + full time research work will make you super competitive for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you describe what your last app cycle was like? How many places did you apply to, did you get interviews, wait listed or rejected, what's changed since your last cycle (ie, number of manuscripts..etc). 

I would say you sound pretty competitive right now, the GRE scores should be above most cut-off scores and I've seen people with lower GREs get accepted. Even if your manuscripts aren't close to being completed you can still talk about them during your interviews and use them to your advantage. 

I would say you likely need to evaluate these aspects of your application:

1. LOR - Make sure your letters are in good shape, this means making sure you are asking the right people and giving them plenty of time to write. If you can, try to diversity your letters as much as you can. For example, a research person, a clinical person and then a third to whomever can give the strongest review. 

2. Personal Statement - Make sure this is rock solid. Describe specifically what you're interested in research wise and WHY you are interested in that. Show passion for what it is you want to study. One thing that is good to add in, or at least you should ask yourself, is why a clinical PhD and not just research? Given that a clinical degree is a lot more work and generally longer, you should try to figure out why the clinical aspect helps your career goals and benefits your research. Also, ask as many people as you can to read and edit your statement. 

3. Research Interest and Faculty - Make sure your research interests are narrowed down enough, you don't need to know specifically exactly what, but it does need to be narrowed. A lot of programs do first year projects and by the end of your second year you likely will have to do a thesis, so programs want to make sure you can meet those deadlines. It will also help you find how faculty you will fit in nicely with. Which leads to picking faculty, make sure you find people that you fit in with research interests. Faculty research fit is crucial. 

 

If you feel ready to enter a program, I would say reevaluate your application materials and apply again, you should be pretty competitive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first time applying I was a senior in undergrad, having volunteered in the same lab for 3 years. Similar GRE, GPA, and pubs to you, couple of interviews, no offers. Like you, I accepted a full time RA position with the same lab I was in all throughout undergrad and reapplied immediately and this time it was successful. I attribute this partly to the fact that some professors just are not interested in taking someone directly from undergrad and partly to the fact that I had a clearer idea of what I wanted in a program the second time around and wrote much better personal statements. 

In all of my interviews, I don't think anyone (besides myself, when asked) brought up my one-lab-only experience as a weakness. With that said, I was in the really fortunate position that my undergrad lab and my personal research interests are very similar, so even though all of my experience came from that one place, it was directly relevant to what I want to do going forward. Perhaps if your current lab and your personal interests are less aligned, it might become more of an issue. 

If you feel prepared to put in the time and effort it takes to make a great application (LORs, personal statements, reaching out to POIs), then I would say go for it, based on my own similar experience. With that said, there is seriously no rush. If you need or, heaven forbid, want some time off to get more experience or just chill without being a student for a year or two, you will still be in a great position when you come back to reapply.  

Feel free to PM :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/9/2019 at 9:31 AM, ResNol said:

Can you describe what your last app cycle was like? How many places did you apply to, did you get interviews, wait listed or rejected, what's changed since your last cycle (ie, number of manuscripts..etc). 

Last cycle i applied to 12 schools I think, no interviews or anything.  The manuscript is something that has changed since last time, as I didn't know they were considering making me an author on this paper when I last applied (so obviously it isnt first author or way up there but still), and other than that just the fact that I have more experience from working full time.

On 7/9/2019 at 5:33 PM, buckeyepsych said:

In all of my interviews, I don't think anyone (besides myself, when asked) brought up my one-lab-only experience as a weakness. With that said, I was in the really fortunate position that my undergrad lab and my personal research interests are very similar, so even though all of my experience came from that one place, it was directly relevant to what I want to do going forward. Perhaps if your current lab and your personal interests are less aligned, it might become more of an issue. 

I am in a similar boat that my personal interests and lab are pretty aligned too, but even if others don't see this as a weakness I think it might be more of a personal thing that I'm scared to jump into grad school without experiences in different settings but might just be the fear talking lol

 

thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the input!  overall i have been leaning towards taking another year but I think I have to decide if i'm just being scared haha. All the info is super helpful!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.