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Criteria to use when selecting a program

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I am interested in going for a PhD in social psych. What criteria should I use for selecting a school/program?

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Perhaps read the other threads that address this question.

 

For instance,

 

There are probably others in the forum that address it as well. 

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1. fit with your advisor's advising style (e.g., hands on, independent)

2. research fit

3. department prestige

4. departmental atmosphere (e.g. collegial, social)

5. location

 

Funding is also a factor, but any good program will pay tuition and a living wage.

 

Of course, keep in mind that practically speaking the answer to the question of "Where should I go to graduate school? is "Who has accepted you?"   Gotta get accepted at some places before you can be choosy.

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1. fit with your advisor's advising style (e.g., hands on, independent)

2. research fit

3. department prestige

4. departmental atmosphere (e.g. collegial, social)

5. location

 

Funding is also a factor, but any good program will pay tuition and a living wage.

 

Of course, keep in mind that practically speaking the answer to the question of "Where should I go to graduate school? is "Who has accepted you?"   Gotta get accepted at some places before you can be choosy.

Are those in order of importance? How would you know the advisor's advising style?

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Are those in order of importance? How would you know the advisor's advising style?

 

Whether or not they are order of importance for that particular poster, does not make it order of importance for you personally.

 

If you want to intend a school that charges 40k a year, then your order of importance might be

 

1. Funding

2. Funding

3. Funding.

 

Where as if you are already very wealthy, your order of importance might not even have funding on the list.

 

General things to consider are

 

The department of the university, prestige, reputation, location, funding, potential supervisor, etc etc.

 

In terms of finding out how a supervisor teaches and their style, you email them and ask.  Tell them you are interested in going to grad school and working with them.  Ask if they are accepting new students, and from there, see if you can meet at the university or over skype to discuss if you two are in sync.

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Are those in order of importance? How would you know the advisor's advising style?

 

First off, there have been about 5000 threads on here and StudentDoctor in the past few weeks about this very topic. That's why you're not getting many replies- it's exhausting to keep typing the same thing over and over again. Look at past threads and then maybe ask more specific questions on this one.

 

As far as the advising style- I figured this out a few different ways.

 

First, reputation- ask other grad students who went through the application process before you about different professors. Some have a reputation for being difficult, crazy, unstable, not letting their grad students do their own reserach, etc. Each psych specialty is actually rather small, so these sorts of things get around. I wouldn't base an entire decision to apply on this, but it's something to consider when weighing the pros/cons of a program and a prof.

 

Second, meeting them in person- just meeting someone in person can give you a lot of insight into their personality. I know it's not quite the same thing as advising style, but you can make SOME of the appropriate leaps pretty easily. This can be at a conference, or during the interview.

 

Third, ASK- I asked every professor this in my interview- "what is your mentoring/advising style?". Some deflected and said to answer their grad students, but most told me what they strive for as their mentoring style. Then I asked almost every single graduate student what I met in their lab the same question. Look out for euphemisms... for example, "he gives us a lot of independence to do our own projects" could easily mean anything from what it says to a completely hands-off, unhelpful adviser. Pay attention to how they say things, what they aren't saying, and their non-verbal language :-).

Edited by PsychGirl1

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1. Funding

2. Funding

3. Funding.

 

I agree, this was my initial screening criterion too -- I knew I couldn't afford to pay my own way so I didn't apply anywhere that didn't offer a full package of some kind. After that point, however, funding shouldn't be too important... if one place is going to give you 20k and the other 22k that's small beans in the long run.

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1. Fit

2. Fit

3. Fit

 

Of course funding is important and the school, but when making a list of schools you want to apply to, make sure the research fits. You don't want to apply to Harvard even thought they do not do the research you want to do. Maybe the top researcher in your area is at a state school in Ohio. That school would be better, in my opinion, than Harvard that doesn't do the research you want to do.

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