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Hi everyone, I noticed the forum and various threads sometimes get overwhelmed with folks asking if they are a competitive applicant, how to improve their application, etc. I think it would be beneficial to have all of these types of questions in one major thread - not just for organization, but to allow others to read replies that may be relevant to their own situation without needing to sift through potentially irrelevant information in other threads. 

Just a disclaimer - many folks on here are in the process of applying or have recently been accepted. I truly believe we all have useful and valuable information to contribute to the conversation, but if you are particularly worried about your chances, discussing applications with a mentor is your best option. Student Doctor Network also has a wider range of folks compared to TGC, from current PhD students to tenured faculty or researchers that frequently respond to their "Chance Me" thread. 

Hope this is useful! 

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This is a great idea! I would love some advice, since there's still enough time before apps are due to shore up some weak points. I'll be applying for Clinical PhD programs this fall.

I received a degree in Engineering with honors from Dartmouth College in 2015 (GPA 3.48). I did research for 4 years in 3 different labs, mostly focusing on mathematical modelling of qualitative systems. My senior thesis was looking at whether voting methods can simulate group deliberation and how people interpreted their opinions changing throughout. I have one paper with first authorship, one with third, and one paper presentation at an international conference. I am fluent in R, Matlab, and statistics, with a strong background in math. I have strong GRE scores (166V/168M/4.0W) and will have strong LORs from professors I researched for in college (although all ecology/engineering professors).

I've had some pretty diverse work experiences - editorial intern and freelance writer for Backpacker Magazine, analytical intern at the CIA, and 2 years working at Bridgewater Associates (gotta love that finance life) doing macroeconomic research and then running recruiting and talent strategy for a department. After all this moving around, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and pursue the interest I've had in psychology since high school. I applied for fall 2019 and didn't get any interviews, which I think was in part due to my complete lack of research direction.

Since my first application cycle, I've been working as a field guide at a wilderness therapy company with my POI, male juvenile delinquents. I have more than 200 hours per month of direct care, most as the most senior present staff member, ensuring that our clients' basic needs are met and that they stay physically, mentally, and emotionally safe. I have worked at length with our therapists to design and run therapeutic groups for our clients and to ensure that each week meets their therapeutic goals. I have begun helping improve some analytics within our office, and have talked with colleagues about getting involved in broader wilderness therapy efficacy research. I have also been studying for the Psych GRE, which I'll take this fall. I think conservatively I will score in the 75th percentile, based on my prep work and generally being good at standardized tests.

I'd love to hear whether y'all think I'm a competitive applicant and what my weak points are. I'm mostly concerned about my lack of experience in academic psychology. I took a few online masters level courses and did well, but know these aren't as well regarded as on-campus courses. I have done significant reading through my job and to study for the GRE, but there isn't a great way of proving this beyond a high score on the Psych GRE. Would this make up for my lack of academic psych background when combined with my current job? I think I have some interesting experiences to add coming from a more quantitative background and with research/publication experience, but know I need to get my foot in the door before these are relevant.

I have a list of 17 schools that I'll narrow down once I learn what professors are accepting students, with a broad geographic and competitiveness (from what I can tell) range, although I'm applying to only funded programs. Happy to give the full list if that would be helpful. I've also considered applying to funded masters programs if I haven't gotten interviews to bolster my application for the future.

Thanks! Let me know if I can provide any other info that would be helpful!

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@EmpatheticMastermind, I think the biggest hurdle is explaining the jump and fleshing out a clear thought process in your SOP of how you got to this point and where you want to go. It sounds like this will be a key component, since you have a non-traditional application. Your stats and R knowledge are definitely a plus. However, depending on the PI, your experience at the wilderness therapy company may actually be a negative, as this is not considered an evidence-based treatment and more of a fringe kind of thing. Some may find this experience valuable, but I've come across academics who view these kinds of things in maybe not the most light, akin to slapping the "therapy" label onto camping activities. If you get questions about this in the interview, I would just have a strong, cogent answer prepared in the back of your mind. Another thing that may be beneficial is to try to get some more traditional psych research experience under your belt (which I understand is more challenging during the pandemic). Also, most programs have some pre-reqs, like abnormal psych, research methods, etc. that incoming students should have. If you have not taken these, getting a start on those at a local community college or online can be a good idea as well. 

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@PsyDuck90 thanks so much for the advice! It's frustrating that wilderness therapy is still not accepted in the academic community, given the recent research showing similar efficacy to other inpatient programs and it getting its own insurance code. I'm not surprised, though, and appreciate you explaining this. I should be able to get some psych research through the company and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, but will also try to get in touch with some local profs, since this might not be looked upon fondly. The research through OBH is generally conducted and published by Psych PhDs, so at least it has academic validity. And I agree that my SOP is going to be huge. I'm going to start writing it this summer so I have plenty of time to edit and ask for feedback from friends and mentors.

In terms of taking pre-reqs, I had been previously advised that online classes weren't looked on favorably. Is this still the case given corona? I should be able to fill in my missing academic background with community college classes, I just didn't expect these to be respected on an application.

Also, since I didn't mention it above, I'd like to focus my research on the impact of early childhood trauma and associated mental health issues on juvenile delinquency, especially violent crime among males.

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2 minutes ago, EmpatheticMastermind said:

@PsyDuck90 thanks so much for the advice! It's frustrating that wilderness therapy is still not accepted in the academic community, given the recent research showing similar efficacy to other inpatient programs and it getting its own insurance code. I'm not surprised, though, and appreciate you explaining this. I should be able to get some psych research through the company and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, but will also try to get in touch with some local profs, since this might not be looked upon fondly. The research through OBH is generally conducted and published by Psych PhDs, so at least it has academic validity. And I agree that my SOP is going to be huge. I'm going to start writing it this summer so I have plenty of time to edit and ask for feedback from friends and mentors.

In terms of taking pre-reqs, I had been previously advised that online classes weren't looked on favorably. Is this still the case given corona? I should be able to fill in my missing academic background with community college classes, I just didn't expect these to be respected on an application.

Also, since I didn't mention it above, I'd like to focus my research on the impact of early childhood trauma and associated mental health issues on juvenile delinquency, especially violent crime among males.

I would maybe stay away from places like the University of Phoenix or whatnot, but plenty of state schools offer online classes. Honestly, the pre-reqs are just a box to check. They want to make sure you've heard of the DSM before taking a class on the fine-grained details of psychopathology. They are just there to provide the basic, foundational knowledge you need to be able to understand the coursework you will take in grad school. They are also often a university requirement as much as a departmental requirement in that even if the individual professor may not care, the dean's office may say "nope, they're missing this requirement for admission." I know for my program, the program faculty make their admissions decisions, but then they have to submit everything to the Dean's office for final approval. More often then not, it's just a rubber stamp type of process, but the university has the opportunity to say no to any candidate based on the admissions criteria that are outlined online. 

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  • 2 months later...

Okay this is a duplicate, just trying to place it on the right thread... My question is kind of tri-fold. 1.) What are my chances, as is (based on info below except lets pretend I raise my GRE scores because the score I have is sans studying) and 2.) Is it beneficial/worthy it/advisable to put the tremendous added stress of trying to submit a research paper to an open-access journal in the next few weeks... [see below]......... 3.) another option is instead of trying to publish another paper, I could see how I do on the Psyche GRE and study for it......

Thank you to any and all who read!

 

How important is it to have a publication (accepted manuscript, published, etc.) on your CV prior to applying to a Clinical or Counseling PhD program. I've heard tons of conflicting information, and obviously there's no exact science to and we're basically all just speculating and going off of the luck of the draw... Clearly it's ideal to have a paper published, but how truly important is it.... I've worked in a schizophrenia research lab for the past year, and from that Lab, I was on a paper but my name is far down the list among 20 authors. The journal it was published in was the Journal of Psychiatry and Brain Science, which is a high-impact journal. Other than that, I do not have any papers or posters published. I am half-thinking about fixing up one of my papers from school and submitting it to an open-access journal (even though for open access journals you have to pay $2000-$4000 to be published!) just so that I have something else to put on my CV. Don't get me wrong, I love writing (why else would I want to go for a PhD) but I am currently working two jobs, trying to study for the GRE, manage all of these applications and learn about programs and POI's..... I am already busy and beyond stressed out. Wondering if spending a ton of time and effort trying to get a paper out in the next few weeks is worth it (it would be a literature review). You'll see below that my GRE scores need work... Lets say hypothetically I bring those scores up to 165 V 160 Q.... 

My research interests are schizophrenia (particularly newly emerging medications with, non-D2 receptor chemical mechanisms), and, separately, positive psychology interventions and the science of positive emotions. I am also interested in biomarkers of social anxiety disorder vs. paranoia in schizophrenia. It would be easiest to write the Literature Review for the open access journal on "positive psychology" since I already have good baseline of background research done on it that I could potentially make a paper with (in the 2-3 week timeframe that I would have if I started writing now). But at the same time, then it makes my research interest less clear. Is it positive psychology, or schizophrenia? On the other hand, is anything published a good thing, even if it makes your research interest seem less focused?

 

 This will be my first year applying because I just finished a Masters in Clinical Psychology in May 2020. I have also heard that due to budget cuts there will be fewer spots. That is definitely nerve-wracking, but also just something we all have to accept... If I don't get in this round, I definitely intend to apply again. 

Undergrad: I didn't major in Psyche as an undergrad (I studies Literary Arts [writing] and Modern Culture & Media [digital writing])—but also attended college from age 16-age 20 so I simply had no idea what I wanted to do as a career.... Once I decided on psychology 2 years post-undergrad, I applied and enrolled in a Masters degree program in Clinical Psychology.

M.A.: I took all the prerequisites for PhD programs during my Masters program

GPA: and finished my M.A. with a 3.9 GPA.

Research Experience: I have 2 years of research experience: 2018-2019, asthma education intervention research (I took the position because I didn't have a lot of options but needed the research experience); 2019-present: The past year I have been working in schizophrenia research... From that Lab, I was on a paper but my name is far down the list among 20 authors. The journal it was published in was the Journal of Psychiatry and Brain Science, which is a high-impact journal. However, I don't have any other publications other than that and I don't have any poster presentations.

Volunteer hours: I have 120 hours of volunteer experience in a psychiatric ER and hospital setting.

Letter of Recommendation: My letters of recommendation will come from the PI at the schizophrenia lab, another administrator, associated with the lab, and 1 or 2 professors.

GRE: I took the GRE completely blindly last weekend (meaning Zero studying or looking into the structure of the test, I just wanted to get a baseline)— and I got 155 V, 149 Q, 4.5 AW. I plan on bringing those scores up quite a bit in the next 3 months and am going to take the GRE 4 more times.

Random other writing: In addition I'm almost done writing a book (it's structured more like a glossary)— of 700+ terms from the fields of "psychology and spirituality". Several sections in it function like a Lit Review. While it does contain strong writing samples, it won't be published in a peer-reviewed journal article obviously.

I would feel a lot better if I had a few more papers out, but would my application be considered competitive in spite of this? I'm so stressed out about it that part of me wants to skip this cycle so I can actually enjoy writing papers in the meantime, while waiting for the next cycle. But then I feel like I mind as well try to apply this year regardless.

Edited by EyelandPychePhD
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  • 2 weeks later...

Pasting here as I made a separate topic about this before finding this thread (sorry!)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am a graduated BS in Psychology who is having trouble distinguishing what schools are actually attainable. I am planning to apply in the Fall of 2021 to clinical psychology PhD programs. I have asked the graduate students in my current lab this question, but this is such a nice way to get thoughts from other grad students who have successfully done the thing. 

About me: 

I attended a well-known R1 university in the midwest where I aided in research as an undergraduate RA for 3 years in 2 different labs (one running clinical trials in endocrinology, and later on I was in a developmental cognitive neuroscience lab - the latter sparked my interest in clinical psych). My senior year, I completed a project that allowed for me to travel to a large international conference for a poster presentation. I presented this again later in the year at our school's undergraduate forum and placed 3rd out of several hundred undergraduates. Separately, I received an award for this project. I now work as an RA at a fairly prestigious school in Chicago. I am currently listed as 5th author on a paper that is in submission, and I've already taken the lead on a small pilot project that I expect to turn into a poster at the very least, and with some work, a paper in which I could be first author. I have secured at least 2 very solid letters of recommendation and have a few people in mind for who could be a third. I have strong leadership roles from undergrad and a two others that I've recently taken up in my community.

Academically, I had a rough first 2 years of school. I came in thinking I knew what I wanted to do, and quickly realized I did not. While everyone around me seemed to love and fit perfectly into what they were studying, it became that much harder to focus on schoolwork and find my passion. I haven't yet decided how I will be framing this in my personal statement's but I am aware of the things to avoid (i.e., mental health difficulties and other clichés). Once I started studying psychology and joined the neuro lab I was in, things turned around completely. Though, as a result of the more-than-rocky start, my cumulative gpa is a 3.15, and major (psych) gpa is 3.66. In my last 60 credits (2 years) my overall gpa is a 3.76 and psych gpa in that same time frame is a 3.88.

My gpa is by far my biggest hinderance (at least in my eyes), and I don't yet have a GRE score but I am quite confident I can meet both math and verbal requirements for ~95% of schools. I am currently enrolled in a post-bacc certificate program at the school I work for in an attempt to show that I am continuing to educate myself and succeed academically. I've received an A in my first class and have 3 to go. 

 

What do you think? Is there more I could be doing? I know how competitive things can be. This is what I want to do and I know if I have to apply a few times, I will. I just don't have a firm grasp of what things might be like when I take a swing at some of the schools I really would like to do research at. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this, it's beyond appreciated!

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Hi all,

I earned my Bachelors of Music (2014) and Master's of Science in Higher Ed Administration (2017). I previously worked in Residence Life for 2 years and I now work in Student Conduct (1+years). I've been lucky to gain some clinical experience providing triage for mental health crises for my University. Additionally, I have been working as a Case Manager for students who potentially violated the Code of Conduct, adjudicating their cases and having reflective conversations. My Master's program did include a Capstone research project. I did mine on Fraternity & Sorority perceptions as it relates to Alcohol Consumption & Hazing which resulted in a presentation and 20 Page research paper based on my findings. 

Through my experiences, I have become more and more interested in the field of psychology and mental health. Specifically I am interested in research surrounding Gender, Sexuality, LGBT Mental Health, romantic relationships, and sexual behavior (I know that's broad). As a result, I am interested in furthering my education and applying for PhD programs in Counseling Psychology  I do believe that my work experiences and research experiences would lend me well to a PhD program. However, I am also nervous that I do not have the adequate experiences needed to be accepted into a Counseling Psychology PhD program. I know many program websites state a Bachelors Degree in Psych is not required, however I still wonder if I would meet the threshold and/or if those with Bachelors Degrees/Lab experience given preference. 

Is there more I could be doing? Am I lacking anything? As someone who it seems may be coming from a more non-traditional pathway, I am feeling somewhat lost on how to best more forward. 

I did see that there are Conversion programs (programs specifically for individuals wanting to switch fields) in the UK. I have found one specifically for Psychology Mental Health. It is 1 Year and I would receive a Masters. I am wondering if that would be worth doing or if PhD programs in the US would consider that to be a viable experience in lieu of a Bachelors of Psych and/or relevant lab research experience. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, jmm0548 said:

Hi all,

I earned my Bachelors of Music (2014) and Master's of Science in Higher Ed Administration (2017). I previously worked in Residence Life for 2 years and I now work in Student Conduct (1+years). I've been lucky to gain some clinical experience providing triage for mental health crises for my University. Additionally, I have been working as a Case Manager for students who potentially violated the Code of Conduct, adjudicating their cases and having reflective conversations. My Master's program did include a Capstone research project. I did mine on Fraternity & Sorority perceptions as it relates to Alcohol Consumption & Hazing which resulted in a presentation and 20 Page research paper based on my findings. 

Through my experiences, I have become more and more interested in the field of psychology and mental health. Specifically I am interested in research surrounding Gender, Sexuality, LGBT Mental Health, romantic relationships, and sexual behavior (I know that's broad). As a result, I am interested in furthering my education and applying for PhD programs in Counseling Psychology  I do believe that my work experiences and research experiences would lend me well to a PhD program. However, I am also nervous that I do not have the adequate experiences needed to be accepted into a Counseling Psychology PhD program. I know many program websites state a Bachelors Degree in Psych is not required, however I still wonder if I would meet the threshold and/or if those with Bachelors Degrees/Lab experience given preference. 

Is there more I could be doing? Am I lacking anything? As someone who it seems may be coming from a more non-traditional pathway, I am feeling somewhat lost on how to best more forward. 

I did see that there are Conversion programs (programs specifically for individuals wanting to switch fields) in the UK. I have found one specifically for Psychology Mental Health. It is 1 Year and I would receive a Masters. I am wondering if that would be worth doing or if PhD programs in the US would consider that to be a viable experience in lieu of a Bachelors of Psych and/or relevant lab research experience. 
 

 

I think your time would be better spent volunteering for a research lab relevant to your interests. Also, I would really try to spend some time narrowing down your interests because they are so broad. Your research fit with a POI is 1 of the most important factors in your application and you want your SOP to have a clear goal. It's ok to have multiple interests (and you can explore some of them in grad school), but you want to present 1 clear line of research in your materials. 

 

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Hey everyone, it would be hugely appreciated if I could get any feedback on my profile, as I’m not quite sure how I stack up. I’ll be applying for Social-Personality Psych. Thanks so much in advance!

I don’t have a formal psych background. I studied economics in undergrad, and am now in UC Irvine’s sociology PhD program (will exit early with an M.A.). My independent M.A. research project was social psychological and statistical (and I will submit paper for review soon), but my undergrad research experience, while interesting (e.g., prison ethnography), will need to be cleverly framed as social psych related. Through this M.A. process I’ve discovered that I’m absolutely fascinated by positive psych, social psych, and personality psych, and can’t imagine doing anything else. I feel confident that I have the necessary requisite psych knowledge (via lots of informal self-educating, one graduate course in the psychology of motivation (received an A+), as well as T.A.ing for social psych and intro to psych). But now that the Psych GRE subject test is cancelled, I have no way to “prove” this.
 

Any idea on how schools would interpret my profile? And any tips on what I can do to assess/improve my chances? I am optimistic that my recs will be strong (two from sociology and one from psych dept.). My grad GPA is 3.93 and GRE is 169 V / 158 Q / 4.5 AWA, which I’m quite happy with, but I worry that without a strong Psych GRE subject test score to lean on, schools will see me as unprepared for a Psych PhD. Aside from UCI, I’m only applying to schools that are a great research fit (UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UVA, Penn, U of British Col.), but I worry that I’m shooting too high. 

Edited by psych_applicant123
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15 minutes ago, psych_applicant123 said:

Hey everyone, it would be hugely appreciated if I could get any feedback on my profile, as I’m not quite sure how I stack up. I’ll be applying for Social-Personality Psych. Thanks so much in advance!

I don’t have a formal psych background. I studied economics in undergrad, and am now in UC Irvine’s sociology PhD program (will exit with a terminal M.A.). My independent M.A. research project was social psychological and statistical (and I will submit paper for review soon), but my undergrad research experience, while interesting (e.g., prison ethnography), will need to be cleverly framed as social psych related. Through this M.A. process I’ve discovered that I’m absolutely fascinated by positive psych, social psych, and personality psych, and can’t imagine doing anything else. I feel confident that I have the necessary requisite psych knowledge (via lots of informal self-educating, one graduate course in the psychology of motivation (received an A+), as well as T.A.ing for social psych and intro to psych). But now that the Psych GRE subject test is cancelled, I have no way to “prove” this.
 

Any idea on how schools would interpret my profile? And any tips on what I can do to assess/improve my chances? I am optimistic that my recs will be strong (two from sociology and one from psych dept.). My grad GPA is 3.93 and GRE is 169 V / 158 Q / 4.5 AWA, which I’m quite happy with, but I worry that without a strong Psych GRE subject test score to lean on, schools will see me as unprepared for a Psych PhD. Aside from UCI, I’m only applying to schools that are a great research fit (UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UVA, Penn, U of British Col.), but I worry that I’m shooting too high. 

I'm confused, you are in the UCI PhD program but are exiting with a masters...but can apply to continue with UCI to earn the PhD?

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25 minutes ago, justacigar said:

I'm confused, you are in the UCI PhD program but are exiting with a masters...but can apply to continue with UCI to earn the PhD?

Sorry if I wasn’t clear—I’m in UCI’s sociology PhD program right now. UCI’s psychology department is what I’ll be applying to; they have told me that I need to formally apply in order to join their department, rather than simply switching in. 
 

 

 

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1 hour ago, psych_applicant123 said:

Sorry if I wasn’t clear—I’m in UCI’s sociology PhD program right now. UCI’s psychology department is what I’ll be applying to; they have told me that I need to formally apply in order to join their department, rather than simply switching in. 
 

 

 

Got it! Thanks for clarifying. Re-reading it now I understand...I think I skimmed which made "social" and "sociology" the same in my brain 🙃

It's interesting that you are switching. Your stats are very good, and UCI is a highly respected university. I think the one detriment is that you aren't able to take the Psych GRE to demonstrate mastery of the discipline. Did you get your bachelors in sociology as well? 

Although they are two very different disciplines, I do think there is some overlap between sociology and psychology, especially social psychology. I'm interested to hear what other folks think!

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15 hours ago, justacigar said:

Got it! Thanks for clarifying. Re-reading it now I understand...I think I skimmed which made "social" and "sociology" the same in my brain 🙃

It's interesting that you are switching. Your stats are very good, and UCI is a highly respected university. I think the one detriment is that you aren't able to take the Psych GRE to demonstrate mastery of the discipline. Did you get your bachelors in sociology as well? 

Although they are two very different disciplines, I do think there is some overlap between sociology and psychology, especially social psychology. I'm interested to hear what other folks think!

Thanks for the feedback! My BA is in economics; I’ve been playing social science musical chairs lol. 

Would be great to hear what others think!

Edited by psych_applicant123
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Hi all,

I am in the process of applying for I/O grad programs to start Fall 2021. Originally, I was only considering master’s programs. However, corresponding with some people in I/O I think I should also at least consider PdD programs. My main question is: given my background, is it worth it applying for PhD programs this cycle? I am currently searching for Research Assistant roles and have had 2 interviews for one, but even if I did land an RA role, I would only be there for a few months before the applications are due (the Phd apps seem to mostly be due earlier than the master’s app’s). I don’t want to end up in a situation where I finish a master’s program and then go back for a PhD. I am already 3.5 years out of undergrad (2 years of work experience as a paralegal; the rest is in education – AmeriCorps Fellowship & tutor), and I don’t want to waste any more time. The master’s programs on my list at the moment are: Texas A&M, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Arlington, Akron, George Mason University, Minnesota State University – Mankato, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) (may take this one off because it is mainly applied) & Indiana University Indianapolis.

My undergrad major was economics. My GPA was 3.4/4.0, from one of the top 10 universities in the U.S. I have experience conducting statistical and data analysis. I completed an independent research project for my economics major using statistical programming in R and the creation of graphs using Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics datasets. Also, I completed field research on the impact of learning styles on educational outcomes in a school in my Urban Education class, during which I surveyed students and completed a final research paper on the topic. Would any of this count at all as “research experience”? I recognize that: 1. It was not for a psychology class and 2. It was not conducted in a lab.

During undergrad, I took Intro to Experimental Psych (covering research methods) & several statistics courses (statistical inference, probability, econometrics). I am currently taking a social psychology class and an organizational behavior class this semester at community colleges to prepare for graduate programs. I plan to take a psychology research methods class and one other psychology class next semester. I took the GRE this year and my scores are 163 Verbal, 163 Quant, 5.0 Analytic Writing. These scores put me in the range for some of the top programs but of course I understand that they are looking other aspects besides just test scores … How would you view my application overall, and what could I do to become more competitive? What do I need to touch on/ emphasize in my personal statement? I haven’t taken the psych subject test GRE, and now I won’t be able to for this cycle, since they aren’t offering subject tests this year due to Covid.

My main concern revolves around my lack of research experience and my lack of psychology background (although credit hour wise, I am OK for a lot of the schools I have researched, given my additional psych coursework this semester). With my lack of formal lab research experience, is it worth applying to any of the top and/or good PhD programs?

Ideally, I would apply to PhD programs, wait and see what happens, and then based on that apply to master’s programs. With the decision deadlines I am not sure that will be possible, so my plan is to apply to both PhD and Master’s (sometimes at the same school… does that look bad? I have seen some schools let you do this).

 

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I would really like to know about my odds at these specific schools. Rutgers PsyD (still requires GRE), Palo Alto PsyD, Yeshiva PsyD (Requires GRE), University of Denver PsyD, University of Hartford PsyD, George Washington PsyD, Rosevelt PsyD (though I might drop it for a few reasons), Widener PsyD, LaSalle PsyD, Loyola PsyD, UMass PhD, and William James College PsyD (last choice). Few masters as a backup.

I am specifically asking about my odds of getting into these schools, as finances is an entirely other conversation I am actively having with my parents and am aware of. 

Senior Psych major at respected, but not ivy level university in Massachusetts.

GPA: 3.65, likely 3.7+ by end of this year, Dean's list most semesters but not all. 

GRE: V 162, Q 149, AW 5.5. Big concern is that some of the more prestigious schools on my list still require GRE, so idk if I should retake (would like some advice on that).

Research Experience: I have done some A+ research projects in my research courses, to begin with. I have spent 2 years in a psych lab at my school, but eventually got reprimanded/fired because of some miscommunications and some ADHD related stupid mistakes--- nothing nefarious but doesn't look good. I have had a research assistant position for my freshman year with a visiting professor, and I had an internship where I studied children and did literature reviews. Also was working on a project with a grad student but she straight up ghosted me and she graduated, but we had started doing searches for beginning a project. 

Clinical experiences: I am about to do my clinical practicum course at my school which is a grad level course. I was a TA for my university's childcare center for 2.5 years, lots of working with children. I have had an internship where I trained to help survivors of domestic abuse but it was all online because of covid. And for my practicum internship, I will be working at a suicide hotline.


LOR: Well I can't use my lab PI because of what happened at the lab, but there are two professors (one I've had about 4-5 classes with and we get along pretty well, the other I've had 2 with and he's teaching my clinical practicum and seems to quite like me. For the last one I might use whoever supervises my internship for the practicum because my prior internships have only been a summer long and I'm unsure how much that will lead to strong letters. If necessary I could ask my past internships but it might not be as strong.

My goal is obviously to get into some of the better and university-based programs, but I also put in some backups that I'm aware have issues.

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Why only PsyD programs? If you are primarily interested in a clinical career, that's great. Most people who do PhDs do clinical careers. This is the elephant in the room in every clinical program. Yes everyone has to do research, including a dissertation and maybe a thesis. But you need research training to be an effective clinician in your career.

It is a myth that PsyDs are better for clinically-oriented folks. They are worse across the board. Worse training, more debt, fewer career opportunities, stigmatized degree. There are loads of PhDs that will prepare you for the career you want. Of the programs you listed, Rutgers and UMass are worth applying to. None of the others are.

You have a fine application. If you can submit something as a poster or a manuscript before you apply that would be pretty good for you. The quant score is low and I would recommend retaking. That being said you can ask your letter writers to specifically talk about your GRE in their letter to offset it ("I am familiar with so and so's potential as a graduate student and their GRE is not reflective of that.") Hard to say what your exact chances are of getting in. Personal statement counts for a lot. I would try to find another research job though now as insurance.

You probably are worried your application isn't good enough. You are only a senior in undergrad and sounds like you had a bad experience with research. So you think you should include some iffy programs because if you don't get into your preferred program, hey at least you can have the career you want as long as you get in somewhere. Don't do this. You will face professional barriers the rest of your career. If you don't get in to a good program that's okay, just beef up your app and reapply. Don't go to a bad program.

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I've included one PhD, and I may include one or two more max. While I enjoy consuming research, I absolutely do not think I'm cut out for it career wise and the extra research expectations and commitments that come with PhD's. There's also the fact that I straight up do not think I'll be able to get into a PhD with my somewhat poor research background. There's no way i'll be able to get something published in time. I could possibly take a year off and do a research job, but the odds of me getting a research job specifically after my past experiences is a bit disheartening and not something I would really like to take an extra year focusing on. I know they mostly have clinical careers, but the getting in part and the expectations part are huge barriers to me. 

 

Are there no decent PsyD programs? Some of these, according to my research, seem to have decent internship match rates and licensure rates. Surely, they can't ALL be bad. Debt is a different question, but currently I'm talking about quality. I know for a fact that I won't be going to the most prestigious tippy top highest tier program, and I've accepted that. However, I want to go to a school that is at least decent, will get me where I need, and is legitimate, and is seen as a decent school.

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I was in your situation and only after a throughout research and talking to a lot of clinical students I concluded that good PsyD program = Balanced PhD program. I applied to a mix of PsyD and balanced PhD programs and ended up getting accepted by a fully funded PhD program (rejected by all the PsyD progs I applied to, ironically). Good PsyD programs are easier to get into with little research background (I had 0 pubs) and all PhD programs are extremely research oriented are myths. At the end of the day, it's all about fit. Out of all the PsyD programs you listed, I believe that Rutgers is top tier, Palo Alto, Yeshiva, U of Denver are okay but very expensive, don't know much about Hartford, GWU but the last few programs don't have excellent reputation from what I know. Aside from good outcome data, having a small cohort size is extremely important. I definitely recommend swapping most of the PsyD programs for funded, balanced PhD programs! :)

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I've got such little research background. Should I just be going for Rutgers (big reach), Palo Alto, UDenver, and Yeshiva? My GRE's are awful and I need to retake them and I'm super freaked about it because I'm horrible at math.

I do not want the highest research commitment. I'm fine with a dissertation, but I do not want pressure to publish or fight for research funding. If I can avoid any extra research components whatsoever, I absolutely will. Some of these PsyD programs get like 90% of their students matched at APA internships and 90% licensed.....isn't that decent????? I don't want to go if it's going to be bad for my career but I just don't get it. 

I  can change my list, but you gotta tell me what darn places will actually take someone like me, and is actually good. I feel like my application is really not good, and I obviously don't want to go somewhere shitty. I would be quite unhappy and unsatisfied taking a year or two off to intensely focus on research before even starting a program. Do I completely give up and drag my sorry ass to an unfortunate masters program? I would feel very much like a failure to myself and my family. I really think I could be a good clinician and research consumer at a doctoral level, but maybe I'm just playing myself. 

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If you haven't already, get the Insider's guide to clinical psych program. It has everything about all the programs (funding, theoretical orientation, practice/research oriented) and you can look at the acceptance rate of each to get a realistic idea of your chances. Other good, funded/partially funded PsyD programs I know are Baylors, Indiana State U and IUP. A quick search in Gradcafe should provide you more in-depth information like this post. Many balanced PhD programs give students the option to tailor their degree accordingly to their interest, it's not uncommon that people do only the minimal required research work to do more clinical hours or vice versa. IMO, you should focus more on exploring your interest and the fit between you and the programs as that's arguably the biggest factor of all (Personal statement+LORs).

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There are no magical programs with high acceptance rates and great training. The student to faculty ratio is just too high.

If you apply this year and don't get in, that's okay. Most people do not attend right out of undergrad. You aren't a bad applicant. It's just very competitive.

Master's programs aren't for bad applicants. They do great work just like people with doctorates. Don't get hung up on the doctor labels because that's what will steer you toward a PsyD.

You can't "do-over" the decision to go to PsyD. It has permanent effects on your career and finances. But you can do-over your application next year or the year after.

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