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Applying to general psychology and school psychology programs; chances?


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Hello everyone,

My name's Katie and I am a junior psychology major at UNC Chapel Hill. I plan on applying to general psychology, school psychology and speech language pathology/communication science programs in order to become an applied behavior analyst (all are suitable degrees to obtain ABA certification).

Here are my stats:

- I attended an early college high school during which I completed an Associate in Arts

- current overall GPA: 2.7 (including UNC coursework and community college coursework completed during high school)

- I know what courses I am taking in my remaining three semesters and plan to raise my GPA to a 3.2

Here are the programs I am considering applying to:

1. M.A. in Psychology - East Carolina University

2. M.A. in Psychology - UNC Greensboro

3. M.S. in Psychology - NC State University

4. M.A. in Psychology - Wake Forest University

5. M.A. in School Psychology - East Carolina University

6. M.S.in School Psyhology - NC State University

7. M.S. in Speech/Language Pathology - UNC Chapel Hill

8. M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders - East Carolina University

9. M.A. in Speech/Language Pathology - UNC Greensboro

So, my questions for you guys:

1. Chances at any of the above schools?

2. Is research experience as vital for Master's programs as it is for Ph.D programs?

3. Is 9 programs is too many to apply to? Too few?

4. Will graduating from a "public Ivy" university nationally improve my chance with my somewhat low GPA?

If you need additional info, just ask!

Thanks! :)

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1. I'm not really sure, but yay NC schools! I did my undergrad at Wake.

2. Research experience certainly helps, but lack of it is not necessarily a dealbreaker like it usually is with PhD programs. You say you're a junior though, so you still have time to get involved in research, if you haven't already. This is also an excellent way to form relationships with professors who will write you letters of recommendation.

3. ~9 seems pretty standard. My undergrad adviser told me to apply to about 10 (though I was applying to PhD, and he suggested applying to a mix of Masters and PhD programs just in case)

4. Yes, adcoms take the rigor of your undergraduate school into account when looking at GPA. Keep in mind though that there will be other applicants from equally good or better schools with top GPAs. But a lower GPA isn't necessarily an application killer if your other credentials are good! I had a 3.1 cumulative..

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Okay, so to answer your questions.

1. No ideas about the specifics as I'm not familiar with Carolina Schools. In general, you sound like a candidate for graduate school. Not a strong or weak one, but just an average candidate. If the schools you're applying to are incredibly choosy, you'll need to bump up the application. Though I would suggest it anyways. Schools are currently flooded with fresh graduates every year, so you want to make yourself as unique and a perfect fit for their program as possible.

2. With a master's program (especially school or general) research will not be a major Achille's Heel. It can only help though. So I'd say go for it. Especially if you tailor the research topics to your own or your programs. But far more important, I'd suggest a summer job with kids.

3. No, nine is not "too many" unless you feel the programs are not worth it. Most profs will suggest 9-10. One of mine said 5-6 was plenty as long as it's done intelligently. Choose carefully and only attend the ones that you really want & are a good fit for in your opinion. Also, keep money in mind. Sending out gres & app fees all cost.

4. Your anticipated scores are about average. They won't be a glowing component of your application, and even with name recognition, I doubt the difference it will make would be huge. Consider it a happy surprise if it does. Instead, demonstrate how you're a phenomenal choice elsewhere through your statement of purpose and LOR.

Edited by psychkita
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I don't really see an SLP program as a logical stepping stone towards your ultimate goal. It's an incredibly competitive field and without any prereqs and a relatively low GPA (on speech program standards) I think your chances would be slim.

Furthermore, I can't see many of these programs being *psyched* (sorry, I had to. lol) about an applicant aspiring to work in different field.

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Oh, wow, I'm surprised I didn't notice you state you wanted to do ABA as your final goal. You can also look at masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis instead of trying to go back for the certification later (a lot of them are joint programs). There are quite a few excellent programs for that. Also, if you do a general track, you may want a concentration in something like autism. ABA is currently considered "the method" to work with autism so it would hold more weight in the field.

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