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Best ECs to get into an I/O program


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Hi everyone! 

I was a non-psych major at NYU for two years, before transferring to Clark U. in Worcester for Psychology and Management (I transferred because of mental health reasons, and Clark was the far more intimate, friendly campus space I needed at the time). My GPA at NYU was a 3.6 -> its a 3.91 at Clark. My GRE score is 158V and 158Q though I plan to retake it this summer. My main concern is that I lost two years that I could have been doing psych-related extracurriculars and have no research experience. After transferring, I was unable to forge relationships with my professors or do a lot of in-person quality research partly because of COVID, partly I was very lost and unprepared for how to succeed in the field. I have one professor that I've done volunteer work with, namely literature searches, but he's going on sabbatical next year so he is not available for a letter of rec. I have little research and lab experience.

I am taking a year off before applying to graduate school and I think this is the perfect opportunity to bolster that aspect of my application. I was wondering what ECs I could take up in a year or two that would better my chances for grad school. I wrote I/O program in the heading, but have also considered a PsyD in Clinical Psychology or a masters/PhD in neuropsychology. I'm worried my lack of lab/research and professional experience and non-existent relationships with professors will bar me from most ECs. 

The gist: What ECs could I do/get accepted into within a year or two that will help my chances of getting into an I/O, clinical or neuropsychological program without much undergraduate lab or research experience? 

Thank you :)

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Can you get a job or volunteer position as an RA or lab manager in a psychology lab, that would allow you to participate in some research and get some experience presenting?  Without some significant research experiences, anything clinical or neuropsych is going to be a difficult stretch to get into. 

Your best bet beyond a job in the lab would be to apply to a Masters program that requires a thesis; this would provide you with the research experiences you need prior to applying to a PhD or PsyD program. Many smaller psych masters programs are much less demanding of research experience, they know you are going there to get the experience you need.  Many I/O Masters programs could be within reach for you now or in a year. Clinical Masters would be much harder, but still achievable with the right PI. 

Also, I/O and neuropsych are very different, so use this time to decide which you want to do and how you want to focus. Any research is better than none, of course, but if you want to go a clinical or neuro/cog route, you are going to need that kind of research experience to be considered.

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