Jump to content
helpmeugh

Pissed off at this whole process (clinical psych PhD)

Recommended Posts

*Hi I'm just venting here but feel free to chime in about how much you have felt fucked over by this process*

I'm just very upset about how this whole process is going for me so far. I have three in-person interviews lined up but my coworkers who are exactly the same as me in almost every way have 5+. I really don't understand. I've done everything right and I feel like I should have more interviews. For context, I applied to 11 schools ranging from more "bottom tier" to top programs. I have one bottom tier interview, one mid-tier, and one top-tier lined up.

  • I worked in multiple labs during undergrad starting freshman year at an R1 university with a top 10 clinical psych department
  • Conducted an honors thesis with a very up-and-coming professor who loves me and wrote a stellar LOR (so she said)
  • Am now at a post-bacc research assistant at an Ivy League med school/hospital
  • Have extensive clinical training through my work and past internships/volunteer positions
  • Have one first-author pub and another first-author under review
  • Have one second-author pub and 3 others under review
  • Have one third author pub under review
  • Had great LOR's from my PI at my job and another PI who I helped coordinate her study for
  • 3.75 overall UG GPA, 4.0 psych GPA
  • 2 first-author posters at two national conferences
  • multiple co-authored posters/symposiums for national/international conferences
  • GRE: V: 167-170    M: 156-158    W: 4.5-5.0
  • Had my personal statement looked over my my UG PI who said it was great and I had very clear research interests. 
  • *I am bragging a lot on here but I promise you I didn't brag this much in my app materials if anyone was wondering

I just don't understand what I did wrong and why others got so many more interviews. I feel like you can do everything in your power to be an excellent candidate and still get screwed while others who did not work as hard get a shit ton of interviews? (not saying that everyone who got more interviews than me didn't work hard but I literally spent every weekend doing research this past year and a half) 

Edited by helpmeugh
added GRE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dang! Great stats. What were your gres just out of curiosity? Yes this does seem like a somewhat arbitrary process sometimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yeah I forgot those! (I don't want to be too exact with my stats because they can be used to identify me)

V: 167-170

M: 156-158

W: 4.5-5.0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, andhowdoesthatmakeyoufeel said:

How was your research match with the schools you applied to? 

100% with three of them, one I have an interview with and one I'm still waiting to hear back from about being on the shortlist, one was a straight rejection from the lowest-ranked program out of the three

probably ~85%-90% with 4 of them, one I have an in-person with, 2 I got rejected from, still waiting for the other one

and like 75-80% with 4 of them, have an interview with one, waiting to hear from one, assumed rejection from the other 2 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have very similar stats, plus a Master's degree in experimental psychology, near perfect research interest matches, and I haven't gotten a single interview. I understand it's frustrating but at least you have interviews, and you only need one to say yes to get into a program. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious...what sort of 'ranking' system are you using? 

When one of my top choices rejected me I was really upset, because I felt like I did literally everything I could, and am not even sure how I'd beef up my application for another round. Now I feel very zen about it. It's totally, and completely out of our control at this point. 

Edited by tomatotomahto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All is well my dude. You have 3 interviews to clinical psychology programs; the most competitive graduate degree in the country.

There will always be someone with more interviews, more publications, and a higher salary. This field is filled with rejection at every step of your career. Schools will reject you, internships will toss your application in the trash, and reviewers will tear your manuscripts to shreds.

It sounds like you worked hard to get where you are. But there are others who worked just as hard who have weaker applications because their PI wasn't a productive scholar or who couldn't afford to volunteer for 20 hours a week.

You've made it pretty far. There are thousands of qualified people who would kill to be in your shoes. I urge you to be grateful and enjoy the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, tomatotomahto said:

Just curious...what sort of 'ranking' system are you using? 

When my first choice rejected me I was really upset, because I felt like I did literally everything I could, and am not even sure how I'd beef up my application for another round. Now I feel very zen about it. It's totally, and completely out of our control at this point. 

I'm using a combination of things I've heard from faculty members, US New World Report (I know very flawed but that was to get a very rough estimate [e.g., I consider any of the top 50 top-mid tier]). 

For my own personal rankings, I used research fit, location, how the atmosphere seems based on their websites, and things I've heard about the programs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, SendMeAnEmailPlz said:

All is well my dude. You have 3 interviews to clinical psychology programs; the most competitive graduate degree in the country.

There will always be someone with more interviews, more publications, and a higher salary. This field is filled with rejection at every step of your career. Schools will reject you, internships will toss your application in the trash, and reviewers will tear your manuscripts to shreds.

It sounds like you worked hard to get where you are. But there are others who worked just as hard who have weaker applications because their PI wasn't a productive scholar or who couldn't afford to volunteer for 20 hours a week.

You've made it pretty far. There are thousands of qualified people who would kill to be in your shoes. I urge you to be grateful and enjoy the process.

I need to reread this every time I get stressed out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, SendMeAnEmailPlz said:

All is well my dude. You have 3 interviews to clinical psychology programs; the most competitive graduate degree in the country.

There will always be someone with more interviews, more publications, and a higher salary. This field is filled with rejection at every step of your career. Schools will reject you, internships will toss your application in the trash, and reviewers will tear your manuscripts to shreds.

It sounds like you worked hard to get where you are. But there are others who worked just as hard who have weaker applications because their PI wasn't a productive scholar or who couldn't afford to volunteer for 20 hours a week.

You've made it pretty far. There are thousands of qualified people who would kill to be in your shoes. I urge you to be grateful and enjoy the process.

I know I am very grateful for the ones I have it's just very difficult to be surrounded by people who have more than you on a daily basis. And as far as being able to "afford" to volunteer, I worked two part-time jobs throughout my college career to be able to volunteer at labs. 

Edited by helpmeugh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, PsycUndergrad said:

The clinical application process is absolutely demoralizing, but don’t forget that it’s amazing to have 3 interviews! Most applicants don’t get any, and 3/11 (so far!) is a sign that you’re a really strong applicant. 

Thank you ❤️ I am very grateful for the interviews I do have, but I just needed to vent on an anonymous forum because I really don't have anywhere else I can do so. Pathetic? yes. Helpful? probably not. Cathartic? absolutely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, helpmeugh said:

I know I am very grateful for the ones I have it's just very difficult to be surrounded by people who have more than you on a daily basis. And as far as being able to "afford" to volunteer, I worked two part-time jobs throughout my college career to be able to volunteer at labs. 

Just remember, more interviews does not necessarily mean more acceptances, or an acceptance at all. It's really fruitless to compare yourself to other applicants. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some professors aren't looking for perfection. For one, it doesn't exist. And if I were in their position I would be looking for someone who is not only competent academically but also someone who I could see myself working with closely for 6+ years. I'm not claiming this is you or that every professor views applicants this way, but a lot of times the students that have the "perfect" application (i.e. top scores; a plethora of experiences) are also highly neurotic which can be good and bad. As hard as it may be during this time, keep your expectations and anxiety in check. It is not super healthy to compare yourself to your peers during this time; you are not them and I'm assuming the professors/schools they applied to are not identical to yours so you can not expect identical results. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by having unreasonable expectations. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't really felt "fucked over" by the process as you stated because I understand how competitive it is. I worked extremely hard and like you, I have received some interview invites and some rejections as well. I just remember that there is so much we don't know going on behind the scenes and that God (or the universe or whoever) will make sure you're on the right path. After not receiving acceptance last year, I felt similar to you but I had to really take a step back and appreciate the process for what it is. There are do many factors like departmental politics, networks and nepotism, funding, etc. that play into this, it's really pointless to gripe over not being accepted or offered an interview. You never know what you're up against. No matter how hard I worked, I know I cannot adequately explain this in the confines of my application so I have to trust that those who did believe in me enough to offer an interview are the types of places I will flourish at.

I will say- I am extremely annoyed at the unofficial rejection thing. I think it's incredibly negligent to not offer official rejections or application updates after completing this rigorous app process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course everyone is grateful for the opportunities they are given, but I don't think it's fair to tell everyone they can't be upset. I absolutely understand where you're all coming from and your words are kind---but everyone handles grief and frustration and disappointment differently, so let's give everyone the space to be upset if they need to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, andhowdoesthatmakeyoufeel said:

Of course everyone is grateful for the opportunities they are given, but I don't think it's fair to tell everyone they can't be upset. I absolutely understand where you're all coming from and your words are kind---but everyone handles grief and frustration and disappointment differently, so let's give everyone the space to be upset if they need to be.

This. Agreed completely 

Edited by AnxPsych

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So let’s say theoretically each program will only take 1 person for a particular POI & there’s one or 2 other applicants that received the invitations to many of your schools. In a few weeks those applicants will have some offers & decline all except one. Any chance of a late second chance from the POI’s that those applicants turn down? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your frustration is definitely valid! I'm currently trying not to get too bogged down by not having as many interviews as I hoped for (I currently have 3 interviews and 2 preliminary ones). At the end of the day, it really is about getting an offer from a place you would like to go to rather than the sheer number of invites/offers. This is my 3rd cycle applying and talking to a few faculty and grad students, I realized that luck can play a huge factor in this process. The admitting faculty are human too and going through so many qualified applications, sometimes they have to rely on their gut feeling/a degree of random chance when choosing between an already heavily filtered pool of applicants.

It can be frustrating because some of the factors that they may rely on are things that you may have no control over. I remember getting a bit frustrated and down reading that one of the criteria used to assess applicants for a major funding award in Canada is the course load taken in undergrad. The criteria makes total sense to me but I had worked a job since I was 14 years old since my family isn't that well off and because I had to work while in university, I wasn't able to take as many courses per semester as some other students. It may be unfair that because of this, I get dinged a few points on my applications but I feel like I was also able to gain a lot of insight and unique experiences that will hopefully shine in other parts of my application.. Don't give up! You all sound like amazing applicants. We will get where we need to be although the timeline may differ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, foood said:

Your frustration is definitely valid! I'm currently trying not to get too bogged down by not having as many interviews as I hoped for (I currently have 3 interviews and 2 preliminary ones). At the end of the day, it really is about getting an offer from a place you would like to go to rather than the sheer number of invites/offers. This is my 3rd cycle applying and talking to a few faculty and grad students, I realized that luck can play a huge factor in this process. The admitting faculty are human too and going through so many qualified applications, sometimes they have to rely on their gut feeling/a degree of random chance when choosing between an already heavily filtered pool of applicants.

It can be frustrating because some of the factors that they may rely on are things that you may have no control over. I remember getting a bit frustrated and down reading that one of the criteria used to assess applicants for a major funding award in Canada is the course load taken in undergrad. The criteria makes total sense to me but I had worked a job since I was 14 years old since my family isn't that well off and because I had to work while in university, I wasn't able to take as many courses per semester as some other students. It may be unfair that because of this, I get dinged a few points on my applications but I feel like I was also able to gain a lot of insight and unique experiences that will hopefully shine in other parts of my application.. Don't give up! You all sound like amazing applicants. We will get where we need to be although the timeline may differ

Out of curiosity, what were the # your interviews the past 2 cycles?

Edited by CatastrophizingNerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know there aren't any rolling admissions - but I'm curious - what date did everyone submit their applications relative to the due date?

I submitted my application relatively close to the deadline and I wonder if that is a factor to the crickets. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, CatastrophizingNerd said:

Out of curiosity, what were the # your interviews the past 2 cycles?

First cycle I got zero interview 🙃 (GRE quant score was super low) and 2nd cycle I got 5 formal interviews, 1 offer, and 1 wait-list (improved GRE quant lol). Ended up declining the offer in the 2nd cycle due to fit with the program. Fingers crossed that I won't have to do a 4th cycle 😞

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Dr.MOM said:

I know there aren't any rolling admissions - but I'm curious - what date did everyone submit their applications relative to the due date?

I submitted my application relatively close to the deadline and I wonder if that is a factor to the crickets. 

I can tell you that timing of application submission is not a factor.

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

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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