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Backup Plans


Amir23
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7 minutes ago, Amir23 said:

Hi all. I was wondering what your backup plans were if you don't get in? I think mine is to get an undergrad degree in psychology and to hopefully do research with a PI I want to work with. Is that an ok plan? Thanks in advance!

I really wouldn't waste the time to get a second bachelor's in psych. Volunteering in a research lab or snagging a paid research coordinator position are better ideas. If you are really intent on going back to school, a masters in psych will look better than. 2nd bachelor's. As long as you have the pre-reqs a specific BA/BS in psych isn't going to improve your chances over getting more research experience. 

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3 minutes ago, Amir23 said:

Hi all. I was wondering what your backup plans were if you don't get in? I think mine is to get an undergrad degree in psychology and to hopefully do research with a PI I want to work with. Is that an ok plan? Thanks in advance!

I'm tempted to apply for my Master's, but with an abundance of research universities nearby I am staying put for now. I've been applying for RA jobs and volunteer positions. I actively review the Job/Volunteer opportunities page for the Psychology Department of my alma mater. This morning I emailed a grad student in a lab I have been rejected by twice, once for a volunteer position and once for a paid position. We are meeting next week to discuss helping the lab in a capacity greater than the RA position I applied for! I'm looking at resources for students at my undergrad university and others to see what positions are available. I'm also not limiting myself to what is nearby since most schools/labs have adapted for remote work. You're interested in someone across the country? Go for it!

I would recommend reaching out to multiple PIs and labs, and contact MORE people than you really intend on working with. The chances of snagging an open position might be difficult to find. I can't say that obtaining a degree in psychology in addition to whatever you already have would help, but I don't see how it would hurt. I think it depends on your grades, GRE scores, and research experience. Plenty of people enter grad school with undergrad experience in different subjects. 

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15 minutes ago, PsychBear92 said:

 I'm also not limiting myself to what is nearby since most schools/labs have adapted for remote work. You're interested in someone across the country? Go for it!

I would recommend reaching out to multiple PIs and labs, and contact MORE people than you really intend on working with.

Just to confirm, have you tried cold-emailing distant labs for RA jobs? I find it almost tempting, but I'm also afraid of making a fool of myself. PI: "Why is this rando contacting me?"

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2 minutes ago, EileanDonan said:

Just to confirm, have you tried cold-emailing distant labs for RA jobs? I find it almost tempting, but I'm also afraid of making a fool of myself. PI: "Why is this rando contacting me?"

I haven't yet tried cold-emailing distance labs, but have done lots of cold-calling to local labs. I even cold-emailed some of my teachers at community college asking if they need help with their research methods class. In general, they were friendly and appreciate the email. The worst things that has happened is people won't respond or I get a quick "there are no opportunities available right now." It's also common that I get emailed by the lab coordinator and not the PI, so even if you come off as a weirdo, they probably won't remember it that way, if at all.

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For those looking for post bac RA & research coordinator positions, I used these sites to job hunt:

https://gupsychology.wordpress.com/

https://psychologyjobsinternships.wordpress.com/

https://undergrad.psychology.fas.harvard.edu/post-graduate-research-jobs

http://clinicalpsychgradschool.org/pbacc.php

https://psych.wustl.edu/news/psychology-research-opportunities-undergraduates-post-bacs

https://main.hercjobs.org/jobseekers/index.cfm

I think ultimately I wound up finding my RA job on Indeed, so that's also a good place to look. I cold emailed some people with no success (I don't think it's weird to do that!) and searched career portals of hospital systems & universities I was interested in.

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I know it's common knowledge, but for all the current RAs getting into school this year their positions will be open probably sometime around May. I would look hard during that time at the different schools you want to work in (this is of course assuming you're willing/able to move).

In my lab if we get in (fingers crossed) we will have 3 full-time RA positions for a couple R01 studies - so keep an eye out now for which labs you may want to work in!

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Has anyone heard whether there's a downside to not sticking it out in your current lab for closer to two years? Or if you get a new position in late spring or summer, would POI's be put off if you've only been in your current position for ~6 months?

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I'd probably try to get a job with some commercial lab that does animal testing (there are some in the area) mainly because I have a lot of experience with rat research. Other than that, I'd probably try to get certified in SAS or something and try to code somewhere, which would probably be harder as my experience is more limited. 

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Hi all! If you're looking for an RA or coordinator position, Boston Children's is hiring

"The Faja and Nelson Labs within the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience (LCN) at Boston Children’s Hospital are seeking a Research Assistant for an NIH-funded project examining the measurement of biomarkers for use in clinical trials with children on the autism spectrum.  Please apply for the position online (https://www.childrenshospital.org/career-opportunities). Click ‘Search Jobs’ and enter 57261BR."

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  • 2 weeks later...
14 hours ago, plex091 said:

Could I get some feedback on the UC Berkley Extension post-bac? What are the general thoughts on both the institution, and a post-bac in general? Thanks!

I feel like post-bacs in general are a bit useless. They tend to cost a lot of money and don't really leave you with anything tangible. If you want a formal education experience to boost competitiveness for PhD, I think a masters would be a better ROI (especially the funded masters programs, such as Wake Forest and others that have been discussed on this forum). Otherwise, trying to find a paid (or volunteer) research position would really be your best option for strengthening your application. 

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1 minute ago, PsyDuck90 said:

I feel like post-bacs in general are a bit useless. They tend to cost a lot of money and don't really leave you with anything tangible. If you want a formal education experience to boost competitiveness for PhD, I think a masters would be a better ROI (especially the funded masters programs, such as Wake Forest and others that have been discussed on this forum). Otherwise, trying to find a paid (or volunteer) research position would really be your best option for strengthening your application. 

Thanks! I currently work with children as a behavior technician, but I worry this isn't enough clinical experience. I'm also applying to PsyD programs. I'm not really into conducting that much research. 

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3 minutes ago, plex091 said:

Thanks! I currently work with children as a behavior technician, but I worry this isn't enough clinical experience. I'm also applying to PsyD programs. I'm not really into conducting that much research. 

That should be enough clinical experience. If anything, you can add a position working for a suicide or domestic violence hotline or something. Clinical opportunities for unlicensed folks are pretty limited and not at all like what you will be doing as an actual psychologist (because if you could do it without the training and licensure, no one would go to grad school for 5 years lol). 

 

Edited to add: I will say though, the PsyDs that offer funding and have smaller cohorts tend to value research experience as well. I'm in a university-based PsyD with funding and all of us came in with some pretty extensive research experience on top of clinical experience. 

Edited by PsyDuck90
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Just now, PsyDuck90 said:

That should be enough clinical experience. If anything, you can add a position working for a suicide or domestic violence hotline or something. Clinical opportunities for unlicensed folks are pretty limited and not at all like what you will be doing as an actual psychologist (because if you could do it without the training and licensure, no one would go to grad school for 5 years lol). 

Thank you for being so helpful! I am definitely trying, ever since COVID getting work on a hotline has been so difficult. I was accepted to work for RAINN, but then COVID happened, and they weren't able to hold virtual trainings. The hotlines in my area have so many people applying trying to get training is near impossible (I live in a large city in CA) But, I applied to The Trevor Project last Friday-fingers crossed! I really hope I get accepted, the work is so meaningful and includes the population I hope to work with in the future.

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On 2/6/2021 at 8:29 PM, plex091 said:

Could I get some feedback on the UC Berkley Extension post-bac? What are the general thoughts on both the institution, and a post-bac in general? Thanks!

Hello, I did my undergrad there and took classes alongside students of their post-bacc extension program. I have heard great things from the program itself. The psych department is fabulous and every professor I met was down-to-earth and genuinely wants you to succeed. I'm not sure how much stats you would need to take, but the required stats class for psych undergrads taught me all about using R and the professor who teaches it is AMAZING. The stats class after that is great for learning graduate level analyses (e.g., factor analysis, multilevel modeling). The great thing about the post-bac program is they assign you a mentor, but they only have a few clinical psych faculty so you might have limited options. 

The institution in general is fantastic. The campus is GORGEOUS! You can see the Golden Gate Bridge if you know where to look. If you decide to stay after the program, the close proximity of UCSF and Stanford creates a lot of opportunities to boost your CV.

My main issue with the school had more relation to the city itself (hope you like paying $2000+ for an apartment). This also means that homelessness and poverty is ubiquitous. Safety is also an issue, but just remain aware of your surroundings and avoid using your laptop in public spaces. 

You're welcome to DM for other questions!

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On 2/8/2021 at 2:44 PM, ndyum said:

Is it too early in the application process to accept an RA position for next year? I have gotten a couple grad school rejections and no interview offers at this point

If you have not received any offers by this point I would encourage you to look for/accept an RA position. It might still be possible you get interviews since some schools seem delayed with their interviews so if you currently have an offer I would say maybe wait one more week before officially accepting. If they have a deadline that you need to respond to their work offer by then you should seriously consider accepting (if that's a job you actually want). Unless you sign a contract binding you to their employment for the next year or so, you can still theoretically reject a job after a few months if you get an acceptance to a grad program. They can't force you stay there and work. 

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18 hours ago, alts98 said:

If you have not received any offers by this point I would encourage you to look for/accept an RA position. It might still be possible you get interviews since some schools seem delayed with their interviews so if you currently have an offer I would say maybe wait one more week before officially accepting. If they have a deadline that you need to respond to their work offer by then you should seriously consider accepting (if that's a job you actually want). Unless you sign a contract binding you to their employment for the next year or so, you can still theoretically reject a job after a few months if you get an acceptance to a grad program. They can't force you stay there and work. 

Thank you so much! This was very helpful to hear. Good luck to all of you looking into back up options, hopefully next round of applications will be better for us.

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