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clinicalp2020

Need advice - what are my chances of getting into Clinical Psych Program PhD program?

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Hi - 

I am reaching out for some advice. I'm planning to apply to clinical psychology PhD programs for the fall of 2020. I have a very competitive GPA, great letters of rec from mentors and years of both college and post grad research experience, but I am  lacking in terms of my GRE scores. Unfortunately, after a number of attempts on the GRE, I still score slightly below 50th percentile in both Verbal and Math. English is my second language. Despite the very poor scores, over the years, I published 4 first authors publications, along with co-authoring about 20 other papers. I have also designed and currently run an independent project. 

My struggles with the GRE is really bringing me down as I feel hopeless that professors won't even consider my successes and potential due to this one limitation. I'm wondering if any of you have any thoughts on what are my chances of getting into a funded clinical psych PhD program? I've had interviews in the past, usually with the help of networking, but I wonder if my applications were simply filtered out in the past due to such low scores. I'm very passionate about research and clinical assessments and cannot wait to pursue graduate studies, but my lack of ability to bring up my scores has been holding me back. 

Any advice or suggestions would be great! Thank you in advance!

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From my understanding, more and more schools (at least in Canada) are starting to place less of an emphasis on the GRE, although many still use it as an initial filtering tool. There are a few clinical programs that don't require the GRE in the US:

https://www.gradschools.com/get-informed/before-you-apply/graduate-school-testing/psychology-graduate-programs-no-gre-required
I don't think this is an exhaustive list but it's a good starting point to see if there are any researchers in these school's that would be a good fit for you. 

I have also heard of people getting into programs with low GRE scores, perhaps you can ask your reference letter writers to comment that your GRE scores are not an accurate reflection of your ability (some people just tend to perform worst on standardized/large timed tests due to anxiety and etc)

I hope this helps! Don't lose hope :), the fact that you have 4 first author publications will put you ahead many of us

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On 9/23/2019 at 6:53 PM, clinicalp2020 said:

Any advice or suggestions would be great! Thank you in advance!

Honestly, you’ll need to network with psychology researchers who know professors in doctoral clinical psychology programs. From there, you’ll want to build a relationship with a professor who may be willing to advocate for you with the admissions committee despite your GRE scores. Another way to directly network with clinical psychology professors is to attend research conferences where they will speak or present research — don’t be afraid to walk up to them after their talk, introduce yourself, and then discuss your interest in their work.

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On 9/27/2019 at 5:18 AM, JoePianist said:

Honestly, you’ll need to network with psychology researchers who know professors in doctoral clinical psychology programs. From there, you’ll want to build a relationship with a professor who may be willing to advocate for you with the admissions committee despite your GRE scores. Another way to directly network with clinical psychology professors is to attend research conferences where they will speak or present research — don’t be afraid to walk up to them after their talk, introduce yourself, and then discuss your interest in their work.

Excellent advice, for anyone concerned about their GRE scores. Networking works wonders. High GRE scores are not the golden ticket to graduate school, but low ones will certainly prevent excellent applicants (such as OP, myself) from getting their applications reviewed. I’ve heard from previous mentors that anything below 50% percentile gets you thrown in the “No” piles, especially out of hundreds of “equally competitive applicants” on paper. 

Let me just say I personally detest the GRE and have very strong negative opinions on it. I know it kept me from “getting interviews” my first application rounds. In my most recent round, my scores were mediocre at best, and I focused on all other stellar portions of my applications to get interviews (publications, research experience, LoRs, networking opportunities, etc).

Best of luck to you in this process, you sound like a very competitive applicant.

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