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Fall 2021 Quantitative Psychology


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Quick piece of advice for your interviews because this just happened to me. Make sure you know how to explain concepts such as a p-value or the central limit theorem. Luckily, I rehearse those two definitions a lot on my own so I never come off as a fraud if I don't get them perfect lol, but I did not prepare for those type of potential questions. I could see this easily trip some people up if they don't have those definitions ingrained in their heart, and it seems like the type of question meant to see if you actually understand basic concepts. Just a forewarning to those who might need it.

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I figured I'd start a gathering place for us quant folk, so hello! I'm a current MA student doing research in quant and I have a list of 12 programs so far. Once I email potential advisors, I'm s

I've heard that quant is different from other areas of psych admissions in that we're not expected to have as solid of a foundation due to the lack of training pre-PhD (like you mentioned). I have bro

I can't answer the first one because I don't think I have enough background.   As for PIs, I reached out to all of them last week and only one said he'd rather meet later. I know some people

I am still waiting to hear back. I have applied for more of a psychometric testing focus. I am hoping my background increases my chances at getting into some of these programs. I have a masters in measurement and statistics and have done a decent amount of work for testing companies as well. From what I have gathered, for some of these programs, having background experience is HUGE. I talked with a potential PI a few months ago and he said it was quite rare for someone to have a decent amount of relevant experience when applying. I applied to UCLA, university of washington, ut austin, maryland college park, boston college, Minnesota, and Iowa. Hoping to hear back soon...

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14 hours ago, halo2masterq said:

I am still waiting to hear back. I have applied for more of a psychometric testing focus. I am hoping my background increases my chances at getting into some of these programs. I have a masters in measurement and statistics and have done a decent amount of work for testing companies as well. From what I have gathered, for some of these programs, having background experience is HUGE. I talked with a potential PI a few months ago and he said it was quite rare for someone to have a decent amount of relevant experience when applying. I applied to UCLA, university of washington, ut austin, maryland college park, boston college, Minnesota, and Iowa. Hoping to hear back soon...

I am also applying to psychometrics program (master and phd)! I have no idea how much research experience is required for this type of program, so I'm super nervous. I haven't received any interviews yet...

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On 1/8/2021 at 1:49 PM, Taro_Taro said:

I am also applying to psychometrics program (master and phd)! I have no idea how much research experience is required for this type of program, so I'm super nervous. I haven't received any interviews yet...

Me too! I didn't have any formal research experience when I applied, but I have headed a few of my own experiments with faculty members, as well as a bit of lab experience. I'm hoping that my focus on things like IRT will go along well when the apps are being reviewed. Still waiting to hear from all 7 schools I applied to. Hope we all get some good news soon. 😁

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1 hour ago, Quantbuddy said:

Me too! I didn't have any formal research experience when I applied, but I have headed a few of my own experiments with faculty members, as well as a bit of lab experience. I'm hoping that my focus on things like IRT will go along well when the apps are being reviewed. Still waiting to hear from all 7 schools I applied to. Hope we all get some good news soon. 😁

Good luck to you. This is an interesting field for sure in terms of applications. I will assume most will not expect someone to have knowledge of IRT before applying due to the low amount of programs and work experiences available. I also made sure to stress the background I have with IRT, CTT, testing company experience, etc. because I am hoping it comes off as extremely valuable (although not sure if that will be the case). I have a masters in measurement already and a year of work experience using IRT among other things as well such as test equating, scaling, linking, differential item functioning, etc. I haven't heard back from any places except for Iowa where i got denied from. I am a bit skeptical as to why, but I am guessing (or hoping) that my research focus on computer adaptive testing is not very compatible there and therefore I should not worry about other schools that match my research focus more.

 

Where did you apply?

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4 minutes ago, halo2masterq said:

Good luck to you. This is an interesting field for sure in terms of applications. I will assume most will not expect someone to have knowledge of IRT before applying due to the low amount of programs and work experiences available. I also made sure to stress the background I have with IRT, CTT, testing company experience, etc. because I am hoping it comes off as extremely valuable (although not sure if that will be the case). I have a masters in measurement already and a year of work experience using IRT among other things as well such as test equating, scaling, linking, differential item functioning, etc. I haven't heard back from any places except for Iowa where i got denied from. I am a bit skeptical as to why, but I am guessing (or hoping) that my research focus on computer adaptive testing is not very compatible there and therefore I should not worry about other schools that match my research focus more.

 

Where did you apply?

I am applying straight out of undergrad, but I have done work with IRT, CTT, and DIF this semester. These are my own ideas and experiments that I have had the opportunity to get a faculty member's help with. Im even currently designing a scale for technology endorsement. It's difficult because I am an undergrad; so likewise I made it a point to stress my knowledge on multivariate and Bayesian stats. But with no formal research or publications, I just gotta hope for the best. I applied to UCLA, UCMerced, UBC, York University (cause Dr. Chalmers is there!) Notre Dame, UVA, and CSUN. Hopefully something gets resolved in this upcoming week. 🤞

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23 minutes ago, Quantbuddy said:

I am applying straight out of undergrad, but I have done work with IRT, CTT, and DIF this semester. These are my own ideas and experiments that I have had the opportunity to get a faculty member's help with. Im even currently designing a scale for technology endorsement. It's difficult because I am an undergrad; so likewise I made it a point to stress my knowledge on multivariate and Bayesian stats. But with no formal research or publications, I just gotta hope for the best. I applied to UCLA, UCMerced, UBC, York University (cause Dr. Chalmers is there!) Notre Dame, UVA, and CSUN. Hopefully something gets resolved in this upcoming week. 🤞

Hope the best for you. I applied to UCLA, University of washington, UMD, UMN, UTA, an BC. For UCLA, it seems like there is quite a large variation in potential research areas. I am not expecting to get in there since the PI i listed seems to have only done a little work in my area and my statement of purpose heavily implies that is my main focus ( computer adaptive testing). Which PI did you indicate to work with? The initials of mine were SR.

I am hoping to just get interviews. I know if i can get in front of someone and talk about certain psychometric topics in more detail than they hopefully expected, then ill be golden. Seems like you have great experience, especially for an undergraduate.

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12 hours ago, Quantbuddy said:

I made it a point to stress my knowledge on multivariate and Bayesian stats. 

Just out of curiosity, how did you get the opportunities to learn these while in undergrad? Were they topics you just self-taught? That is the best I could do with Bayesian stats as my school doesn't offer undergraduate courses for either of those two, which seems to be the common case.

11 hours ago, halo2masterq said:

For UCLA, it seems like there is quite a large variation in potential research areas. I am not expecting to get in there since the PI i listed seems to have only done a little work in my area and my statement of purpose heavily implies that is my main focus ( computer adaptive testing). Which PI did you indicate to work with? The initials of mine were SR.

I had an informal interview with the PIs I wrote about in my SoP. My focus of interest was on longitudinal design and missing data analysis, however. So the PIs I met with were probably not the ones you want to work with. So, at least for me, I am probably not much of a direct competition. It is a bit unfortunate as student budgets are a bit more stretched this year due to the pandemic circumstances. I would not worry though. Looking back at previous years notices when they got interviews, most schools, like UCLA, don't say much until mid January. 

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11 hours ago, halo2masterq said:

Hope the best for you. I applied to UCLA, University of washington, UMD, UMN, UTA, an BC. For UCLA, it seems like there is quite a large variation in potential research areas. I am not expecting to get in there since the PI i listed seems to have only done a little work in my area and my statement of purpose heavily implies that is my main focus ( computer adaptive testing). Which PI did you indicate to work with? The initials of mine were SR.

I am hoping to just get interviews. I know if i can get in front of someone and talk about certain psychometric topics in more detail than they hopefully expected, then ill be golden. Seems like you have great experience, especially for an undergraduate.

I also indicated S.R. I actually wrote about him in my statement because his work on IRT and multilevel modelling is what got me interested in the field. I feel the same way about getting an interview; if I can get one, Im very confident in displaying the broad array of concepts that I have in the field. 

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8 minutes ago, wolmoth said:
12 hours ago, Quantbuddy said:

 

Just out of curiosity, how did you get the opportunities to learn these while in undergrad? Were they topics you just self-taught? That is the best I could do with Bayesian stats as my school doesn't offer undergraduate courses for either of those two, which seems to be the common case.

Yeah, no classes on that, and hardly any of my professors know about these concepts. I became interested in the validity of likert scales one day, and from that, I learned there is a lot to testing and psychometric properties. So I read a bunch and just taught myself what I know. 

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6 hours ago, wolmoth said:

Just out of curiosity, how did you get the opportunities to learn these while in undergrad? Were they topics you just self-taught? That is the best I could do with Bayesian stats as my school doesn't offer undergraduate courses for either of those two, which seems to be the common case.

I had an informal interview with the PIs I wrote about in my SoP. My focus of interest was on longitudinal design and missing data analysis, however. So the PIs I met with were probably not the ones you want to work with. So, at least for me, I am probably not much of a direct competition. It is a bit unfortunate as student budgets are a bit more stretched this year due to the pandemic circumstances. I would not worry though. Looking back at previous years notices when they got interviews, most schools, like UCLA, don't say much until mid January. 

Getting experience as an undergrad is quite difficult and i think most admission committees realize that. I spoke with a potential PI a few months ago and he said it was quite rare for an applicant to have a good amount of experience when applying. You can also tell committees are aware of this because there are a decent chunk of programs that require a masters degree before applying, most likely in hopes to attract those with some background.

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5 hours ago, Quantbuddy said:

Yeah, no classes on that, and hardly any of my professors know about these concepts. I became interested in the validity of likert scales one day, and from that, I learned there is a lot to testing and psychometric properties. So I read a bunch and just taught myself what I know. 

Good luck to you in your potential interviews. Not sure how competitive programs are this year but I talked with an old professor today and he stated in interviews many PIs want to see that you have background so that you can start research sooner rather than later. Many times in psychometric programs, someone is admitted with only a generic stats background and will have to take 1-2 years of classes in order to be able to conduct any research which is not attractive.

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23 hours ago, philoquant said:

Is anyone else wondering what's going on with UNC? I saw they sent out rejections, but did anyone get an interview invite?

Didn't apply there so I can't tell you. Perhaps they are being pickier due to budget cuts. Some programs told me they only had enough resources to let in, at most, two students. Perhaps, UNC wanted to play very picky this year and is only looking at like 5 people at most. But this is just speculation.

In other topic... did anyone else who did the Fordham interviews think it was really really short? Just 30 minutes for the only interview (unless the race is too close to call and they need another)? They hardly asked me anything it felt like. I assume they have there reasons to keep it short, but I feel it would be difficult for the admissions team to make a decision from this. 

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2 hours ago, wolmoth said:

 

In other topic... did anyone else who did the Fordham interviews think it was really really short? Just 30 minutes for the only interview (unless the race is too close to call and they need another)? They hardly asked me anything it felt like. I assume they have there reasons to keep it short, but I feel it would be difficult for the admissions team to make a decision from this. 

The Fordham interview did feel short. I agree that I don't know if I really said enough about myself in order to help make a decision. Did they tell you there was a possibility of another interview (you mentioned if it was too close to call, they'd need another)? 

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Good to see some updates here. I interviewed at Boston college the other day and mine was also quite short (30 mins) outside of a few questions. Seemed like more of a "we want you but just wanna make sure you aren't crazy". Who knows, maybe I am a bit crazy :) As far as size goes, it is difficult to tell how many people are applying. Boston college did give me some info though, they are taking 5/15 applicants. Not sure how that translates elsewhere.

I have an interview with university of Maryland in a few weeks and I have been accepted to university of Minnesota without an interview which was kind of weird. Still waiting to hear back from UCLA, UW, and UTA.

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1 hour ago, philoquant said:

The Fordham interview did feel short. I agree that I don't know if I really said enough about myself in order to help make a decision. Did they tell you there was a possibility of another interview (you mentioned if it was too close to call, they'd need another)? 

I asked the interviewer about the interview process, and he said this would be the only one they will do unless they have difficulty deciding and need to bring a couple of candidates in one more time to help them make the final cut. So unless that happens that will be the only time we have to meet face-to-face. He only asked like one question about me/my experience. Idk if that is good or bad. The rest I was just asking about the program. If you have more questions I would definitely email them as there was a lot even I couldn't ask that I wanted to.

Edited by wolmoth
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53 minutes ago, halo2masterq said:

Good to see some updates here. I interviewed at Boston college the other day and mine was also quite short (30 mins) outside of a few questions. Seemed like more of a "we want you but just wanna make sure you aren't crazy". Who knows, maybe I am a bit crazy :) As far as size goes, it is difficult to tell how many people are applying. Boston college did give me some info though, they are taking 5/15 applicants. Not sure how that translates elsewhere.

I have an interview with university of Maryland in a few weeks and I have been accepted to university of Minnesota without an interview which was kind of weird. Still waiting to hear back from UCLA, UW, and UTA.

Congrats on the Minnesota acceptance!

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7 minutes ago, wolmoth said:

I asked the interviewer about the interview process, and he said this would be the only one they will do unless they have difficulty deciding and need to bring a couple of candidates in one more time to help them make the final cut. So unless that happens that will be the only time we have to meet face-to-face. He only asked like one question about me/my experience. Idk if that is good or bad. The rest I was just asking about the program. If you have more questions I would definitely email them as there was a lot even I couldn't ask that I wanted to.

At the beginning of mine he asked 1 questions which was basically 4 questions in 1 and that was the only question about me.

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5 hours ago, wolmoth said:

Didn't apply there so I can't tell you. Perhaps they are being pickier due to budget cuts. Some programs told me they only had enough resources to let in, at most, two students. Perhaps, UNC wanted to play very picky this year and is only looking at like 5 people at most. But this is just speculation.

In other topic... did anyone else who did the Fordham interviews think it was really really short? Just 30 minutes for the only interview (unless the race is too close to call and they need another)? They hardly asked me anything it felt like. I assume they have there reasons to keep it short, but I feel it would be difficult for the admissions team to make a decision from this. 

 

2 hours ago, philoquant said:

The Fordham interview did feel short. I agree that I don't know if I really said enough about myself in order to help make a decision. Did they tell you there was a possibility of another interview (you mentioned if it was too close to call, they'd need another)? 

I've just finished the Fordham interview!! I prepared for it the whole morning but ended up not mentioning anything about my research experience. But POI described a lot of things the he's been doing and I got the chance to ask all of my questions. The interview was supposed to be 30 minutes but it actually took us 45 minutes to finish. 

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