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Profile Eval for Ph.D. in Psychology


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Hello everyone, 

I have just started the process of looking at grad school and there's so much info it's overwhelming. So I would really appreciate if you can give me some insights if my profile is competitive enough. I am applying to developmental psychology programs with close connection with education.

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honors from a liberal arts college

GPA: 3.60 (cum laude)

Major: Psychology, Minors: Education, Sociology and French, TEFL certificate

Relevant courses: Statistics and Research Design in Psychology (in which I was a TA twice), Capstone classes in Cognitive Neuroscience (B+) and Cultural Psychology (A), International and Comparative Education (A), Psychology for the Public Good (A+)

GRE: retaking this summer but I expect V:160/Q:162/W: 5.0


- Psychology Advisor: with whom I've taken 2 classes with (A & A+) and conducted 3 research with. Should be really good

- Sociology Advisor: has known me for 4 years. Glowing LOR

- Supervisor: knew me for 3 years. Very good LOR about my professional exp

Honors project: establishing reliability and validity of a well-known theory about the relationship between parental rejection and adolescents' psychological wellbeing in another language


- First author of research about Guatemalan adolescents

- Corresponding author of research about Vietnamese adolescents

- 2 year experience as Research Assistant

- 3 year working as a counsellor at an enrichment program for elementary school children

- 1 year experience as TA for stats class

- Admissions intern for a university

- 1 year working as a liaison between school administrations and international students

Study abroad: 1 semester in France and 1 summer in Korea

Languages: Vietnamese, English, French, Korean, Japanese

Reach School: Stanford GSE, Teachers College at Columbia

Fit School: Penn State, McGill University

Safe school: UConn, UPittsburgh

My absolute dream school is Stanford GSE (DAPS), so if anybody got any insight into admitted students profiles, I'd really appreciate it!!!

Edited by khnhle2
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Hey there.  Your application is VERY competitive, on paper. Great job :) 

My only advise would be to remember that research match is the single most important factor in getting accepted. It doesn't matter how awesome your CV is, if you are not a great research match with the PI, you are very likely not going to get invited to interview, or get an acceptance. So make sure you are doing the networking now to establish relationships at the universities you want to apply to, and you do an amazing job writing personal statements that reflect how well your research interests matches up with the PI you apply to work with. It's all about research fit, and who you have established relationships with.

Good luck!

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Ha! Stalking is a good word for it, isn't it?

For me, I emailed my PI after reading through her more recent papers and asked her questions about her results and methods - full disclosure, I was also completing my honors thesis, and her papers were among my sources for my lit review, so I was pretty deep into the topic :) For other PIs that I did not end up going with, I read up, and had a handful of intelligent questions about their work, future directions, etc. All but one of the PIs I reached out to was very quick to respond, and more than willing to discuss their work. After I had established a conversation about their work, AND after I had confirmed at the university's website that they were anticipating taking on a student for the Fall (where possible, not every school does this), I shared that I would be applying, what some of my ideas for future studies were, and asked if they would like to see my current CV for review. In general, the profs were all very honest and upfront. 

My main takeaway would be, do the work to get familiar with their projects, and open with talking about their research. Make it clear that you are very interested in what makes them passionate. That way when you get around to asking about taking you on as a student, they are familiar with you, and you have established some rapport, you're not just another random email in their over crowded inbox!

Oh! and don't wait til Fall to email. If you wait, your email could very likely get lost among the other hundred potential grad students AND all the other regular correspondence they get. I emailed potential PIs starting late Spring/early Summer (so, like, right now!), and it really did give me a leg up at application and interview time.

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