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From clinical to I/O?


cherubie
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For the past 3 years, my goal was to apply to a clinical psychology program, and thus undertook volunteering/work opportunities geared towards this field. However, recently, I've also been considering a career in I/O as well. It doesn't seem like there is as much graduate school admissions info. out there for I/O programs than there are clinical programs, so if anyone could help me out, that would be great!

First, some numbers/background:

GPA:

  • Overall: 3.54 (pre-med in college) from a "big name" school
  • Last 2 years: 3.7
  • Cognitive Science major, psychology minor

    GRE: 1500 on the unrevised exam, 800Q, 700V, 5.0 writing
    Research experience:
    in addition to brief stints as an undergrad, I've been working as a full-time research assistant in a cognitive neuroscience lab for 2 years, handling everything from subject recruitment to helping write papers, managing undergrads, training people, and a lot of data handling as well as statistics. I have my name on 2 publications & 2 conferences so far, none are first/second authors. I also expect to be a second author on some papers by next year.

    In addition to this, I have also worked at 2 other labs in college (neurosciences & beh. modification), 1 publication not from my current lab (again, not first author or anything major), and hotline volunteering.

    Now here's my question: My research has NOTHING to do with I/O. It's mostly physiology, a little social psychology (questionnaires), and genetics. However, because I'm the only RA for a relatively big lab, as mentioned earlier, I handle a lot of things, not just data-entry. I also am primarily in charge of taking in undergraduate students, interviewing them, training, and then managing them. This is the main part of my experience that I believe relates to I/O.

    So my concerns are as follows:

    • My research experience isn't in an I/O field
    • I have no business background

    I'm interested in being able to practice (consulting) and some teaching/research after I obtain my degree. Thus, I don't want to go into a program that focuses on just research, with little chance for internships.

    Are my experiences going to work against me in applications?

    Thank you everyone in advance for your help!

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I can't speak about your clinical to I/O change over, but if you want information about I/O programs, there is an abundance of information on SIOP's website (Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology.)

http://www.siop.org/gtp/Default.aspx

I would definitely start looking there. I don't think you really have to have a business background per se - but your research interests should be narrowed down, and fit like a glove with the person you hope to work with at a certain school. Having research is a definite bonus, even if it's not in the area of I/O. When I applied to social/personality programs, the fact that I'm doing a Master's thesis (even if it's in an area unrelated to the program I applied to) was a huge plus. If you can talk about your research and demonstrate you know experimental stuff, etc - you will be OK. They can always teach you the specifics of I/O, but the desire to research and what have you, comes from within!

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I can't speak about your clinical to I/O change over, but if you want information about I/O programs, there is an abundance of information on SIOP's website (Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology.)

http://www.siop.org/gtp/Default.aspx

I would definitely start looking there. I don't think you really have to have a business background per se - but your research interests should be narrowed down, and fit like a glove with the person you hope to work with at a certain school. Having research is a definite bonus, even if it's not in the area of I/O. When I applied to social/personality programs, the fact that I'm doing a Master's thesis (even if it's in an area unrelated to the program I applied to) was a huge plus. If you can talk about your research and demonstrate you know experimental stuff, etc - you will be OK. They can always teach you the specifics of I/O, but the desire to research and what have you, comes from within!

Do you mind if I ask what your master's was in?

I think my concern is not necessarily the crossing over from clinical to I/O, but just whether my research experience (which is not I/O related) will be a detriment to my application. However, based on what you said, I shouldn't have much to worry about. If any research experience is valuable, than I think I'll be okay...I hope.

Thanks for the SIOP site, I've definitely been looking at that quite a bit as well.

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I didn't apply to I/O programs, but your GRE/GPA/research background alone will probably make you a highly competitive applicant in my opinion. I think as long as you have a focused SOP, you will be fine. Perhaps choose your LOR writers wisely and tell them ahead of time to write on your behalf about how even though you don't have I/O experience, you have the skills necessary to adapt and succeed in that area.

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Do you mind if I ask what your master's was in?

I think my concern is not necessarily the crossing over from clinical to I/O, but just whether my research experience (which is not I/O related) will be a detriment to my application. However, based on what you said, I shouldn't have much to worry about. If any research experience is valuable, than I think I'll be okay...I hope.

Thanks for the SIOP site, I've definitely been looking at that quite a bit as well.

no it will not. Most programs realize not everyone has the opportunity to get involved in I/O research. You will be fine. Most people I knew didn't have much background in direct I/O research.

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