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Questions to ask PsyD faculty about their research


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I am applying to mostly PsyD programs and have some times scheduled to meet with faculty of PsyD programs to discuss their research. What are some questions that you have found super helpful or engaging in your conversations with potential PIs-- especially before the interview day? I'd also like to receive any input from those in PhD programs.



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Read some of their most recent publications. Ask about the current projects they're working on. Are there any grants in the pipeline? Be prepared to discuss your research interests and how they may mesh well with the work currently being done in the lab. Also, since they're PsyD, you can maybe ask about how much time students typically spend in the lab. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

There's not a clear cut answer on whether you *need* to contact a prof before applying and do pre-application networking. But it is a fairly common practice among applicants. 

But whether it actually helps.. I think it varies widely depending on the professor. I received two PsyD (small cohort, mentor match model) acceptances - one of the profs I didn't contact at all before applying (it was a late addition to my application list). The other, I emailed and they responded and told me that the program's policy is to not have pre-application communication in an attempt to level the playing field. 

But, I'm sure the opposite is true for some people! I know of profs who have responded to emails by setting up phone calls or video calls, by connecting the applicant with their students, or by not responding at all. Professors get a lot of emails during application season, so if you decide to email, make sure you have a question or reason for emailing them. Ask a brief question about the future direction of their research or current projects, verify that they are accepting students (if it's not on the website), or ask if they would be willing to take a short call. There are a few stories of profs responding rudely to pre-application emails, but in my opinion, that helps you cross them off of your list. 

Harvard's clinical psych faculty have this interesting video series about application FAQs and touch on emailing/reaching out a bit in the 3rd video. I found it very helpful - the info is not just Harvard-specific: https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/pro-tip

TL;DR - emailing them seems unlikely to hurt if you do it right. It might not help with admissions. But it could.. the most likely benefit is getting information.


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