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Is a clinical psych PhD a reasonable option/ how can I improve my application?


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Hey, I'm looking to apply to a clinical psych program for the fall of 2014, so I have a little bit of time to bolster my resume.

I have a 3.8 GPA at the (resonably prestigious) honors college of a not very prestigious state university, 3.9 within major GPA. Double majoring in psychology and sociology with a statistics minor. I haven't done the GREs yet but I'm a really good standardized tester so I'm reasonably confident there.

Other stuff:

-2 years experience in a social psych lab doing economics type work

-just started research in a child development lab

-1 year experience in school psychology lab (left this position at the end of my sophomore year)

-studied abroad Fall 2012, near fluent in Spanish, volunteered as children's English tutor while there

-won a research grant for my social psych lab work

-just won sociology departmental award

-can expect good letters of rec


So 1) do I have a reasonable chance of making it into a clinical psych program? I can't stop stressing about how competitive they are. And 2) what can I do to bolster my application?

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How many years total of research experience do you have?  You listed 3 years, but are they overlapping?


That research grant you won.  Were you the principal investigator on that grant?  Or did your advisor win the grant and you are just on it?  (If it is yours to claim, that is a very very good thing.)


You do, of course, have a reasonable chance of making it into a clinical psychology program - by which I mean you are an average to above-average candidate.  You may get in, and you should certainly apply.  But do note that many outstanding students (3.5+ GPA, high GRE scores, 2+ years of research experience, strong letters of recommendation, etc etc) apply to clinical programs and don't get in the first round.  I had a friend in college who applied to 12 clinical programs and had excellent stats - including 3 years of experience, 2 sponsored by the NIMH - and still didn't get in.  Don't let that discourage you, but just realize that you may have to apply more than once and that you may have to take 2 years off post-college to get some research experience.  Many clinical applicants (especially to the top clinical science programs) do that.


So far you are doing everything right.  The only things you can do now are get a good GRE score and continue to do research.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, some of them are overlapping- my research started my sophomore year and I've worked in two labs every semester since (excluding the one when I studied abroad). I was indeed the principal investigator for that project.

Thanks for the advice! Do you feel like I need to have more clinically aimed experience? That's what I've been worried about.

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