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Applying to multiple subfields


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Hi everyone!

My partner is applying to PhD programs next Fall in Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and School Psychology as her research interests are focused on children and the classroom, peer interactions, etc.

With that being said, she does struggle with the GRE. For those that have just went through the PhD process and have taken the GRE or are familiar with applying to the subfields below, how competitive do the GREs need to be for these programs? Also, out of the 3 programs, can you rank the subfields from most to least competitive (in regards to general program selectivity)? She plans to apply to ~20 schools (about 6-7  in each area). Any information (subjective or objective) is helpful at this point as we look to prepare. Thank you!

Edited by Quant-Methodz
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Hi I am not familiar with these field, but I believe a degree towards licensure like school psychology might be the most competitive, followed by others. I've had experience applying to multiple fields.. and my piece of advice is to network. Learn the different nature of research in each of those field through the people, both faculty and students. Set up call appointments and pitch ideas about research area. That will give a better sense of which area would be most suitable. Then your partner can pick up the GRE question from there. Usually some programs publish their rate of acceptance, but not all. Education sometimes will go to a totally different department. Sorry I cannot answer the GRE part, but you might be able to weight the competitiveness once you reach out to the schools and people. Best of luck!!

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5 hours ago, Quant-Methodz said:

Hi everyone!

My partner is applying to PhD programs next Fall in Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and School Psychology as her research interests are focused on children and the classroom, peer interactions, etc.

With that being said, she does struggle with the GRE. For those that have just went through the PhD process and have taken the GRE or are familiar with applying to the subfields below, how competitive do the GREs need to be for these programs? Also, out of the 3 programs, can you rank the subfields from most to least competitive (in regards to general program selectivity)? She plans to apply to ~20 schools (about 6-7  in each area). Any information (subjective or objective) is helpful at this point as we look to prepare. Thank you!

Does your partner want to work with kids or conduct research on subjects involving kids? 

School Psychology is the only applied field that you mentioned and would be beneficial if your partner wants to conduct field-based research working with students. Depending on the program you could also dip into more developmental or educational psych topics (depending on program philosophies or faculty research interests). 

Educational Psychology is almost exclusively research oriented and leads to careers working in educational research. Think working for ETS or Pearson. You could also work as a faculty member but the field is very technology and learning science oriented and would not align well with peer-to-peer interaction research.

I do not have as much experience with Developmental Psychology but from what I have heard it is just as research oriented as Educational Psychology. Due to the vast differences in what you could do with the different subfield degrees I would highly suggest that your partner apply to either School Psychology (by itself) or a combination of educational and developmental psychology programs. 

Here are some graphs from a report APA did in 2016 regarding admission statistics broken down by subfield. Applications have only gone up in the last 5 years so the percent of applicants admitted will likely be less next year. 

Best of luck to your partner!

Doctoral Applications by Broad Subfield

Doctoral Acceptances by Broad Subfield

Doctoral Acceptance Rates by Broad Subfield

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18 hours ago, JakiraJakira said:

Does your partner want to work with kids or conduct research on subjects involving kids? 

School Psychology is the only applied field that you mentioned and would be beneficial if your partner wants to conduct field-based research working with students. Depending on the program you could also dip into more developmental or educational psych topics (depending on program philosophies or faculty research interests). 

Educational Psychology is almost exclusively research oriented and leads to careers working in educational research. Think working for ETS or Pearson. You could also work as a faculty member but the field is very technology and learning science oriented and would not align well with peer-to-peer interaction research.

I do not have as much experience with Developmental Psychology but from what I have heard it is just as research oriented as Educational Psychology. Due to the vast differences in what you could do with the different subfield degrees I would highly suggest that your partner apply to either School Psychology (by itself) or a combination of educational and developmental psychology programs. 

Here are some graphs from a report APA did in 2016 regarding admission statistics broken down by subfield. Applications have only gone up in the last 5 years so the percent of applicants admitted will likely be less next year. 

Best of luck to your partner!

Doctoral Applications by Broad Subfield

Doctoral Acceptances by Broad Subfield

Doctoral Acceptance Rates by Broad Subfield

This was so helpful, thank you! Very much what I'm looking for.

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