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PianoPsych

Fall 2020 Social/Personality Psychology PhD

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Hi everyone!

 

I thought it would be great to make a thread for us- most other fields already have one 😃 

What areas are you interested in? What schools are you applying to (POIs)? What are you worried/excited about? Let's support each other!

Feel free to also post your stats!

 

A little about me:

I'm applying for the first time after my 4-year (3 years undergrad- 1 year postgrad) degree finishes this year, as an international student from Oceania.

My interests are quite broad but they include personality, cognitive neuroscience, close relationships, self-esteem and self-compassion, clinical psych.. 

Currently, I only have one school in mind: University of Minnesota (POI: CD), which is a very good fit for me as they do personality neuroscience and close relationships research. I'm open to applying for more schools depending on research fit.

 

What about you?

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So happy this was finally posted! I've been lurking forever haha.

I'm a current (rising?) undergrad senior at a top 10 university double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. I'm interested broadly in the role of individual differences in emotion, self-esteem, and social cognition. Also interested in social/personality neuroscience.

Still haven't narrowed down my list of schools yet (and by the way things are going, might still add more to the list), but currently, I'm looking at UC Berkeley, Columbia, UO, NEU, Ohio State, UT Austin, UC Davis, UNC, UMN, Penn State, Wash U, Stanford, NYU, and U Denver. 

Looking forward to spending this journey with you all :)

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Finally a thread for us😁!

My main goal is getting into UMN PIB program and study with Professor Colin DeYoung or Professor David Funder at UCR. My interests vary a little... from social perception, to signal processing analysis related to the Big Five domains and, more recently, I've been interested in theories that attempt to explain the mechanisms underlying personality traits. I'm also interested in the person-situation debate.

 

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5 hours ago, Fabretti said:

Finally a thread for us😁!

My main goal is getting into UMN PIB program and study with Professor Colin DeYoung or Professor David Funder at UCR. My interests vary a little... from social perception, to signal processing analysis related to the Big Five domains and, more recently, I've been interested in theories that attempt to explain the mechanisms underlying personality traits. I'm also interested in the person-situation debate.

 

I would recommend broadening your 'search' for PI's unless you have very strong reasons to expect that they will pick you out of the pool because you know them or soemthing

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11 hours ago, Psygeek said:

I would recommend broadening your 'search' for PI's unless you have very strong reasons to expect that they will pick you out of the pool because you know them or soemthing

Thank you for your advice... yeah, I've been considering other POIs, but many of them are in a very advanced stage of their career, almost retiring and not picking up students anymore. But this is a good piece of advice, I'm so focused on UMN that I might not get in and miss other opportunities. 😁

Edited by Fabretti
Wrong spelling.

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18 hours ago, Psygeek said:

I would recommend broadening your 'search' for PI's unless you have very strong reasons to expect that they will pick you out of the pool because you know them or soemthing

I'm in the same boat as Fabretti- in addition to the research at UMN being exciting, I feel like I'd be able to spend time improving my applications (esp. reading papers by relevant faculty) if I only apply to 1-3 schools. Would be great to hear your thoughts about this 😃

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One of the things to keep in mind is that a program/prof may look amazing now in your mind (or basically the image you are creating of it), but upon visiting/meeting this person may disappoint. This could also work out the other way (so a program/prof you may not have been incredibly excited turns out to be a great interpersonal fit + you love the program). I have people in my cohort that happened to, so they ended up being happy that they applied to some places that they felt they may have been a less good fit initially. One girl applied to about 12 programs and said her whole order basically changed after having done visits and meeting people. Keep in mind that programs vary in culture, requirements, location, expectations, etc. Some programs are very collaborative, some are not. Sometimes you'll get a secondary advisor, sometimes you don't, etc. Also think about what you need with regard to those things (some people thrive best in very communal type of departments, some are fine more independently). 

Furthermore, also keep in mind people's interests are changing - so double-check this with people they're interested in. I wanted to apply to some people, but their line of work was moving in another direction, but they recommended me other names. Similarly, I was not 100% sure about my advisor initially but turns out his line of work has moved so much in my direction (but not yet publications) that he ended up being the best fit (although it didn't seem initially so on paper). I also initially wasn't that much into that program because of the location, but it ended up all being great. 

Also, keep in mind that the majority of people apply to study one topic, but end up doing something related/different often. Very few people end up doing what they initially planned to study (what I do is highly related to my initial topic, but it has also moved a bit). So, I wouldn't be too firm on sticking to one person/one topic, but do keep to a general theme of things (e.g., I'm into macro-level influences, so I've applied to people who have a line of research on that - but not specifically only one macro-level variable or framework). 

 

I ended up applying to 7 programs (only people I really wanted to work with), got in at 2. My initial list contained 10 programs, but I dropped some due to finances/not having funding for internationl students/location. Some people applied to far more and got 1 acceptance. Some people are indeed lucky and apply to 1 - 3 and get in. But it's just a very risky strategy... I was recommended to apply to about 8 - 10 programs given my credentials (I also have a MSc. and a lot of research experience).

 

12 hours ago, Fabretti said:

Thank you for your advice... yeah, I've been considering other POIs, but many of them are in a very advanced stage of their career, almost retiring and not picking up students anymore. But this is a good piece of advice, I'm so focused on UMN that I might not get in and miss other opportunities. 😁

Ask them if they can recommend people. Professors will understand you're not going to apply to one place (and would probably advise applying to one place anyway). If you're interested are indeed broad - then apply to multiple. Personality is a big field, whether it is people studying cultural differences, to whether there are 5 or 6 factors, origins, personality behavioral traces, etc. Evolutionary psychologists also are starting to enter the realm of personality and start trying to explain it.

Try to make a list of other people and read up upon their work - see if it interests you as well as you think it could KEEP interesting you. 

1 hour ago, PianoPsych said:

I'm in the same boat as Fabretti- in addition to the research at UMN being exciting, I feel like I'd be able to spend time improving my applications (esp. reading papers by relevant faculty) if I only apply to 1-3 schools. Would be great to hear your thoughts about this 😃

I don't think you're expected to have read all papers by faculty at all. They're generally interested in why you want to work with them and you're interested, but rarely will they ever quiz you on their papers (a lot of profs will rather maybe ask some questions about the field and what you want to do, but not specifically their papers in detail). 

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4 hours ago, Psygeek said:

One of the things to keep in mind is that a program/prof may look amazing now in your mind (or basically the image you are creating of it), but upon visiting/meeting this person may disappoint. This could also work out the other way (so a program/prof you may not have been incredibly excited turns out to be a great interpersonal fit + you love the program). I have people in my cohort that happened to, so they ended up being happy that they applied to some places that they felt they may have been a less good fit initially. One girl applied to about 12 programs and said her whole order basically changed after having done visits and meeting people. Keep in mind that programs vary in culture, requirements, location, expectations, etc. Some programs are very collaborative, some are not. Sometimes you'll get a secondary advisor, sometimes you don't, etc. Also think about what you need with regard to those things (some people thrive best in very communal type of departments, some are fine more independently). 

Furthermore, also keep in mind people's interests are changing - so double-check this with people they're interested in. I wanted to apply to some people, but their line of work was moving in another direction, but they recommended me other names. Similarly, I was not 100% sure about my advisor initially but turns out his line of work has moved so much in my direction (but not yet publications) that he ended up being the best fit (although it didn't seem initially so on paper). I also initially wasn't that much into that program because of the location, but it ended up all being great. 

Also, keep in mind that the majority of people apply to study one topic, but end up doing something related/different often. Very few people end up doing what they initially planned to study (what I do is highly related to my initial topic, but it has also moved a bit). So, I wouldn't be too firm on sticking to one person/one topic, but do keep to a general theme of things (e.g., I'm into macro-level influences, so I've applied to people who have a line of research on that - but not specifically only one macro-level variable or framework). 

 

I ended up applying to 7 programs (only people I really wanted to work with), got in at 2. My initial list contained 10 programs, but I dropped some due to finances/not having funding for internationl students/location. Some people applied to far more and got 1 acceptance. Some people are indeed lucky and apply to 1 - 3 and get in. But it's just a very risky strategy... I was recommended to apply to about 8 - 10 programs given my credentials (I also have a MSc. and a lot of research experience).

 

Ask them if they can recommend people. Professors will understand you're not going to apply to one place (and would probably advise applying to one place anyway). If you're interested are indeed broad - then apply to multiple. Personality is a big field, whether it is people studying cultural differences, to whether there are 5 or 6 factors, origins, personality behavioral traces, etc. Evolutionary psychologists also are starting to enter the realm of personality and start trying to explain it.

Try to make a list of other people and read up upon their work - see if it interests you as well as you think it could KEEP interesting you. 

I don't think you're expected to have read all papers by faculty at all. They're generally interested in why you want to work with them and you're interested, but rarely will they ever quiz you on their papers (a lot of profs will rather maybe ask some questions about the field and what you want to do, but not specifically their papers in detail). 

I am grateful for you taking the time to type out your experiences. First off, glad to hear that your program is going great. I am definitely relying largely on my 'image of the program/prof' in my decisions. I will most likely be expanding my search and leaving my decisions to the visits 😁

Re: visits, I know it's quite early to ask this, but I am aware different programs have 'visiting weekends'; given my location, I can probably only afford one short-ish trip to the U.S during which I complete all of my visits- do you or others you know if, in general, these individualised visits are possible?  

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On 7/29/2019 at 7:22 PM, PianoPsych said:

I am grateful for you taking the time to type out your experiences. First off, glad to hear that your program is going great. I am definitely relying largely on my 'image of the program/prof' in my decisions. I will most likely be expanding my search and leaving my decisions to the visits 😁

Re: visits, I know it's quite early to ask this, but I am aware different programs have 'visiting weekends'; given my location, I can probably only afford one short-ish trip to the U.S during which I complete all of my visits- do you or others you know if, in general, these individualised visits are possible?  

You could try, they won't move the interview weekends for you, but some people may make time to meet up with you. I think you can only do it after you receive some sort of 'invite' though (i.e., you made it to the 'next round'). Although it's better to visit, I ended up doing everything over Skype. Don't think it harmed my chances in any way.

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On 7/29/2019 at 2:41 AM, Psygeek said:

One of the things to keep in mind is that a program/prof may look amazing now in your mind (or basically the image you are creating of it), but upon visiting/meeting this person may disappoint. This could also work out the other way (so a program/prof you may not have been incredibly excited turns out to be a great interpersonal fit + you love the program). I have people in my cohort that happened to, so they ended up being happy that they applied to some places that they felt they may have been a less good fit initially. One girl applied to about 12 programs and said her whole order basically changed after having done visits and meeting people. Keep in mind that programs vary in culture, requirements, location, expectations, etc. Some programs are very collaborative, some are not. Sometimes you'll get a secondary advisor, sometimes you don't, etc. Also think about what you need with regard to those things (some people thrive best in very communal type of departments, some are fine more independently). 

Furthermore, also keep in mind people's interests are changing - so double-check this with people they're interested in. I wanted to apply to some people, but their line of work was moving in another direction, but they recommended me other names. Similarly, I was not 100% sure about my advisor initially but turns out his line of work has moved so much in my direction (but not yet publications) that he ended up being the best fit (although it didn't seem initially so on paper). I also initially wasn't that much into that program because of the location, but it ended up all being great. 

Also, keep in mind that the majority of people apply to study one topic, but end up doing something related/different often. Very few people end up doing what they initially planned to study (what I do is highly related to my initial topic, but it has also moved a bit). So, I wouldn't be too firm on sticking to one person/one topic, but do keep to a general theme of things (e.g., I'm into macro-level influences, so I've applied to people who have a line of research on that - but not specifically only one macro-level variable or framework). 

 

I ended up applying to 7 programs (only people I really wanted to work with), got in at 2. My initial list contained 10 programs, but I dropped some due to finances/not having funding for internationl students/location. Some people applied to far more and got 1 acceptance. Some people are indeed lucky and apply to 1 - 3 and get in. But it's just a very risky strategy... I was recommended to apply to about 8 - 10 programs given my credentials (I also have a MSc. and a lot of research experience).

 

Ask them if they can recommend people. Professors will understand you're not going to apply to one place (and would probably advise applying to one place anyway). If you're interested are indeed broad - then apply to multiple. Personality is a big field, whether it is people studying cultural differences, to whether there are 5 or 6 factors, origins, personality behavioral traces, etc. Evolutionary psychologists also are starting to enter the realm of personality and start trying to explain it.

Try to make a list of other people and read up upon their work - see if it interests you as well as you think it could KEEP interesting you. 

I don't think you're expected to have read all papers by faculty at all. They're generally interested in why you want to work with them and you're interested, but rarely will they ever quiz you on their papers (a lot of profs will rather maybe ask some questions about the field and what you want to do, but not specifically their papers in detail). 

Thanks for your advice again. These are points I didn't think of and it is going to be very helpful. I had no clue on how many applications were safe "enough" 😐. I will have to ask for LORs very early for my professors to send like... 7 or 8 of them. Usually they leave it to the last minute.

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Hi all.

I see at least some of you are interested in social cognition and/or emotion. If you have any applied interest at all, you may want to look beyond social psych programs into Ed Psych or Learning Sciences programs. Lots of work in social cognition in that field.

Best of luck on your applications!

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Hi friends,

I've done some more searching and I think I've reached a good number of schools that I want to apply to. Thought I'd share these with you here!

Social-Personality programs:

- UMN PIB

- UC Berkeley

- UC Davis

- U Missouri

- U Michigan

Ed Psych:

- UT Austin

Clin Psych:

- U British Columbia (MA)

 

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Hey everyone! I am reapplying this year after being rejected from 6 places and then denied after being waitlisted at 2 other places. Last year was pretty disappointing but also very eye opening. I have spent the year gaining more experience and have been trying to reconsider where I should apply. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 12:34 AM, Psygeek said:

I would recommend broadening your 'search' for PI's unless you have very strong reasons to expect that they will pick you out of the pool because you know them or soemthing

...particularly in this case because David Funder is one of or the most preeminent personality psychologists today. He'll get a lot of applicants. Another search method would be to look up his coauthors or former students.

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As an undergrad with no publications, what do you guys think the chances are that I get into a program when applying this round? I have a poster and publication in the pipeline (not coming until next year, though), I'm working on an honor's thesis, and I've been part of 3 labs, so disregarding grades, does my research experience preclude me from competitive programs?

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15 hours ago, spider-man said:

As an undergrad with no publications, what do you guys think the chances are that I get into a program when applying this round? I have a poster and publication in the pipeline (not coming until next year, though), I'm working on an honor's thesis, and I've been part of 3 labs, so disregarding grades, does my research experience preclude me from competitive programs?

I have been told by potential advisors that posters and articles that have been submitted (even if they haven't been accepted or published yet) are still valuable and demonstrate important experience milestones. So I guess it depends on what you mean by "competitive programs". If you're applying to work with professors who are a great fit for the work you're interested in doing and you have the grades, test scores, LOR's, solid research statement, and pubs/posters in the pipeline, I don't see why you wouldn't have a shot. On the other hand if you're just going after 'top' programs, regardless of goodness of fit, then I don't think it's a matter of how many publications you have. 

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6 hours ago, PsychPhdBound said:

I have been told by potential advisors that posters and articles that have been submitted (even if they haven't been accepted or published yet) are still valuable and demonstrate important experience milestones. So I guess it depends on what you mean by "competitive programs". If you're applying to work with professors who are a great fit for the work you're interested in doing and you have the grades, test scores, LOR's, solid research statement, and pubs/posters in the pipeline, I don't see why you wouldn't have a shot. On the other hand if you're just going after 'top' programs, regardless of goodness of fit, then I don't think it's a matter of how many publications you have. 

They won't be submitted until after I apply, so I don't even have that going for me unfortunately.

I have a few professors with whom I have very similar interests with, and they happen to be at some of the better programs, so I know how competitive it'll be anyway. Thanks.

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Ok so I think I narrowed my list to:

NYU

UCSB

Amherst

Chapel Hill

U of Virginia 

U of T

 

I would love to exchange SOPs at some point with someone 🙂

Edited by HAC

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On 8/5/2019 at 3:30 AM, PianoPsych said:

Hi friends,

I've done some more searching and I think I've reached a good number of schools that I want to apply to. Thought I'd share these with you here!

Social-Personality programs:

- UMN PIB

- UC Berkeley

- UC Davis

- U Missouri

- U Michigan

Ed Psych:

- UT Austin

Clin Psych:

- U British Columbia (MA)

 

Are you Canadian?

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On 7/24/2019 at 5:12 PM, imemine said:

So happy this was finally posted! I've been lurking forever haha.

I'm a current (rising?) undergrad senior at a top 10 university double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. I'm interested broadly in the role of individual differences in emotion, self-esteem, and social cognition. Also interested in social/personality neuroscience.

Still haven't narrowed down my list of schools yet (and by the way things are going, might still add more to the list), but currently, I'm looking at UC Berkeley, Columbia, UO, NEU, Ohio State, UT Austin, UC Davis, UNC, UMN, Penn State, Wash U, Stanford, NYU, and U Denver. 

Looking forward to spending this journey with you all :)

Who are your POIs at UNC and NYU?

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53 minutes ago, HAC said:

Are you Canadian?

Nope- I'm in Oceania/Australasia. I've also taken out the Ed Psych/Clin Psych programs from my list, so no more UBC for me 😁

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4 hours ago, HAC said:

Who are your POIs at UNC and NYU?

NYU actually isn't on my list anymore, but I can PM you the initials for UNC!

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On 8/25/2019 at 12:44 PM, HAC said:

Hey everyone! I am reapplying this year after being rejected from 6 places and then denied after being waitlisted at 2 other places. Last year was pretty disappointing but also very eye opening. I have spent the year gaining more experience and have been trying to reconsider where I should apply. 

Wow... that's sad. It's a lot of schools. Did you have a "safe choice"? I have applied to three different programs in Canada and got rejected for all of them as well, so I'm focusing on getting good grades and hopefully a paper published in a good international journal.

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On 8/30/2019 at 12:33 PM, PianoPsych said:

Nope- I'm in Oceania/Australasia. I've also taken out the Ed Psych/Clin Psych programs from my list, so no more UBC for me 😁

So I am also not “technically” Canadian (long story) but my POI was unable to fund me because of it and ultimately was unable to admit me. This year I was advised to seek out my own funding if I aim to reapply and be admitted in Canada.

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