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is it pointless to apply for PhD programs in Clinical Psych w/out a publication???


jbean
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I applied to 5 programs this past application cycle, 3 of which were PhD's in clinical psychology. I thought I was a pretty decent applicant (4.0 from my undergrad, with a little bit of both research and clinical internship experience) and I applied to really high ranked programs, but that was before I discovered this site and realized just how incredibly competitive clinical psychology PhD programs are. I got rejected from the 3 PhD programs (didn't even get interviews), but I got accepted to both a PsyD and an MSW program... but both were ridiculously expensive and offered almost no help with tuition, so I had to turn them both down.

 

Now I'm trying to decide if this time around I should just focus on Masters programs (that are more affordable), or if I have any chance of possibly getting into a PhD program that isn't as insanely competitive as the ones I shot for last year.

 

 

 

So... here's the big question...

 

...is it pretty much pointless to apply to PhD programs in clinical psychology if you haven't been published? 

 

 

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I only had one manuscript "in submission" as second author and I got into 2 out of 12 places, and waitlisted at 2 others (which I then withdrew, no idea if I would have gotten in or not). Most people apply to 10-15 Clinical Psych PhD programs.

 

You have 6 months- try to get a poster or two submitted and try to get your name on a manuscript somewhere. Otherwise, as many posters as possible would be good. Part of the reason you have to apply to so many places is because things change at all these programs- maybe they are accepting someone they know (ex. who worked for them as a RC/RA or in undergrad), or maybe they decide not to take students last-minute, maybe their department doesn't have funding to take everyone they want, or maybe the prof wants to take their research in a new direction so they are looking for applicants specifically with xyz background- whatever it is, you need to build some of that buffer into your applications :)

 

In the meantime, look objectively at your application and make sure your GRE scores and foundational coursework are solid (if not, take a night class or study your ass off and retake the GRE), take the GRE psych and do well, and make sure your research interests/career goals are developed well and you can back it up with past experiences. Also, decide if you want to ask the same people for LORs or if there is some way you can improve them. And have 3-5 people look over your pstatement and give you feedback to improve.

 

Good luck!

Edited by PsychGirl1
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What's stopping you from working on getting a publication? If that's your biggest shortcoming, then I'd try to get one. If you don't get one in time for the next application season and you end up getting in somewhere, it won't be wasted effort. It's clearly something worthwhile for your cv and will make your application stronger when applying for clinical internships.

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What's stopping me from getting a publication is that I'm not working in a lab right now. Since I found out I wouldn't be attending grad school this fall I've been searching for research positions, but I haven't had much luck with paid positions and unfortunately I simply can't afford to take an unpaid position. I just got a call back about a paid research position, but I have to wait another week or two before I find out if I'll even get a real interview. 

 

windypoplars, my GRE scores were just about average. If I end up applying for PhD programs again I'll probably have to retake them. 

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jbean are you in touch with any of your professors from undergrad?  If so (or if you can reasonably reaquaint yourself) ask them if they are working on any funded research projects you can assist with.  Sure they may not be able to pay much more than a small stipend (if anything at all), but they may be willing to let you assist them on a part time basis so you can keep your day job.  Let them know that you'd love to work on something that will be submitted for publication so further boost your phd applications as well.  If they aren't working on anything perhaps they have a colleague that would love the assistance of an eager phd hopeful?

 

I am currently doing this with one of my professors in my Master's program.  She has a multi year funded research project and agreed to let me take ownership of a portion of it (which is really 2 research projects within her big umbrella project) in exchange for her guidance, a lor, publication submission assistance, and a possible conference presentation.  She isn't paying me, but she'll cover any necessary expenses and I get to work from home on a part time basis as long as I regularly update her and meet her deadlines.  This allowed me to accept a teaching position, which I also wanted to boost my phd application.

 

This arrangement is working so well for me that I contacted another professor to find out what she's working on and am hoping to get started with her soon.

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To answer your question, no, you definitely do not need a publication to get into a good program. Once you have made it past the basic cut-offs for grades and GREs, and as long as you have solid references and a personal statement with no major sins attached, it comes down to research experience and fit. If you haven't already checked it out, this forum is a great resource:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=714255

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  • 5 weeks later...

What's stopping me from getting a publication is that I'm not working in a lab right now. Since I found out I wouldn't be attending grad school this fall I've been searching for research positions, but I haven't had much luck with paid positions and unfortunately I simply can't afford to take an unpaid position. I just got a call back about a paid research position, but I have to wait another week or two before I find out if I'll even get a real interview. 

 

windypoplars, my GRE scores were just about average. If I end up applying for PhD programs again I'll probably have to retake them. 

Look into funded Master's programs, too.

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No.

 

Psych clinical programs are just incredibly competitive as far as grades and exam results are concerned.

 

For many schools, the gpa to get into clinical psych is higher than that of med school (this is not to say anything except a broad illustration as the course loads are also entirely different).

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