djn8824 Posted April 14, 2022 Share Posted April 14, 2022 (edited) Hey everyone, So, I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on this matter. I recently withdrew from an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program (solely practice-focused) after a few semesters in because I realized that I wish to have career opportunities and the privileges a clinical psychologist has in terms of assessments and scope of research knowledge. I want to focus on growing as a both researcher and clinician. Unfortunately, my program did not offer any research opportunities for counseling students, which eventually made me want to stop altogether. It was a costly mistake, but I'm happy that I left earlier than later (no thank you, debt)! I'm committed to spending the next few years to make myself a more competitive applicant for PhD Clinical/Counseling programs. I noticed there is a reputable Post-bacc program somewhat close to where I live that emphasizes taking advanced research method courses and guaranteeing to connect students to at least 1 research lab. I am severely lacking research experience and did not take advantage of it in my undergrad because I always thought I wanted to do social work, counseling, etc. Now, here I am, 7 years out of undergrad with loads of professional social service experience but absolutely no research. I've tried to cold email/cold-call many PIs at nearby universities, research institutions, and hospitals and they are either at capacity or only accept current students or recent graduates. One from my alma mater was willing to accept me on a waitlist, but no guarantees. Seeing how extremely competitive it is to even get a research volunteer position, I'm going to apply to this Post-bacc program so I can get my foot in the door. The program is much more affordable than an MA in Experimental Psych, but I'm not completely ruling out the MA research route if it comes down to it. I am considering applying to both Post-bacc and MA programs for next fall admissions. What's the reputation of post-bacc programs? Are they as effective in ramping up a student's qualifications for PhD programs as, say, a research-focused MA degree? The one I'm looking at is at a well-known institution and it's affordable. A lot of the program alums got into various PhD programs all around the country and I spoke with the director and she reassured me that the program was designed for students like myself with similar background and grades. I'm also a bit worried about my undergrad GPA...I have a 3.4 for both cumulative and psych at a top school (really hard time in life during senior year). If I get into the post-bacc program, I'm gonna focus on retaking the two classes I got a C+ in to show I can perform well and take advanced research-focused classes. Assuming I do well, perform above average on the GRE, and gain hands-on research experience in 1-2 labs through this program for at least 2 years before applying, would you think I would be a decent enough candidate? The post-bacc program is about 1 year, but I'm considering working for an extra year after that in a lab to get more substantive experience (e.g., presenting at conferences, a publication if I'm lucky). I know it's impossible to chance people. I guess I'm looking more for what people think about the post bacc route vs. MA in a situation like mine. My grades aren't terrible, but not as competitive as it could be. If I don't need to dish out more loans for an MA program, I won't. The Post-bacc program is roughly half the cost of the MA (in-state tuition). Thanks a bunch for reading! It's an uphill battle, but I'm determined to make this work even if it takes longer. Edited April 14, 2022 by djn8824 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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