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Advice for applying for Fall 2014! (clinical psych phd)


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My goal is to get my PhD in Clinical Psych in order to do both clinical work and research. I graduated undergrad this past December, with a few psychology courses, but my degree was in International Relations. Currently, I am in my first semester of a MA program in general psychology and REALLY want to start a PhD program in Fall 2014. I would love some advice on how to better my application in order to increase my chances of admission!


Undergrad GPA 3.6 (Psych GPA 3.8, only took a few classes; Intro, Abnormal, Counseling, Stats).

GRE: Quant 159, Verbal 156. (Retaking over the summer to raise these scores).


I'm still in my first semester of the Masters but I am expecting all A's or one A- for my current courses, and hope to keep that up next semester!


I am a RA in a professors lab doing research with two of the clinical PhD students.

Joining another lab with a second professor which will start this summer, and has the potential to co-author papers!

I have an interview for a RA position at Children's National Hospital which will be part time over the summer and continue into the school year (crossing my fingers I get the position!!).


I volunteer at a suicide hotline and work part-time doing ABA therapy with children on the Autism spectrum. 


I know that research is an extremely important aspect of the application, and I am trying my best to get more research experience but have none from my undergrad. Will one year of research experience (From this past January 2013 to Jan 2014 around when the apps are due) be enough to get into a Clinical Psych program? I am not looking at prestigious programs, as I have found many professors whom I love their work and am applying to the schools they are at. Ideally I would get into the PhD program at the school that I am doing my Masters at and continue working with the professors that I am with now, but their program is very competitive (as are most) and I am not sure if it is frowned upon or not to go from a masters to a doctoral program within the same school, thoughts?? 


Sorry for the long post!! Thanks in advance for reading this!!!





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Your clinical experience sounds good, and one year of research experience is decent (obviously more is better but it's not a big barrier), though having some kind of publication will be important.  If you haven't done research before, I'm guessing you don't have publications, so do your best to get at least 1 poster presentation in.  Usually an RA can present a poster with a study he/she is working on, maybe not the main analysis that will be in the paper.  If you are a co-author on a paper, that would be great, but it's unlikely to be published (or even accepted, if it's not done yet) by the time you apply.  If it is submitted or in progress, you can list it as long as you are clear that it is only submitted or in preparation (and don't like the journal it is submitted to).


Since you only took a few psych classes and will not be done with your Masters when you apply, I would recommend taking (and acing!) the GRE subject test in psych.  It will show you do have a good knowledge of psych even if you didn't take the classes.  All the schools I applied to said the GRE Subject test was not required, though some said it was recommended, especially if you didn't major in psych.  Study a bit and take it soon so you have time to take it again if needed.

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Thanks Lypiphera for your reply! I don't have any publications, but I'll definitely try to get in at least one poster presentation. I am planning on taking the GRE subject test, which I know is offered next month but I am not ready to take it then, so hopefully I'll prepare over the summer and take it when it's offered in the fall. 


Should I retake the GRE or focus on getting in more research? (159 quant, 156 verbal)


Any thoughts on applying to the same school where I am currently doing my masters? Should I tell my professors I want to get into their PhD program or will that put my professors in an uncomfortable position? 

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