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The "Rejected Across-the-Board" Club


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Do you love applying to, and keeping track of, 10-20 applications? Can't get enough of the sitting on pins and needles post-submission wait feeling and post-interview rejections!?! Then you'll love the rejected across-the-board club! Clinical applicants especially welcome!

14/14 clinical rejections! Go me!

Clinical programs want everything, plus a kitchen sink!

Edited by aphdapplicant
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if you get rejected by that many places maybe you are not a very good student and would make a terrible psychologist. Please consider another career.

 

Whoa whoa, NOT okay. Grad school is a game, pure and simple. They define the rules, and we play to win. But do you really think that this has any correlation with what goes on out in the real world? There are great minds that have never gone to grad school and never need to. Charles Darwin never went to grad school and I'm pretty sure he revolutionized the world of modern thought for centuries to come. Albert Einstein never went to grad school and he is considered one of the greatest minds to ever live!

 

 

Do you love applying to, and keeping track of, 10-20 applications? Can't get enough of the sitting on pins and needles post-submission wait feeling and post-interview rejections!?! Then you'll love the rejected across-the-board club! Clinical applicants especially welcome!

14/14 clinical rejections! Go me!

Clinical programs want everything, plus a kitchen sink!

 

I'm really sorry, and I can understand how painful this must be. But it's not that unusual, and you're definitely not alone. There are plenty of people who have to re-tool and try again next year. But you really want this, and you think this is the right path for you, you'll try again. 

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So by your logic I should feel blessed with a third rated surgeon who failed anatomy but got into medical school because it is a "game". Also obviously I want a loser "psychologist" who "game" into grad school and somehow become licensed and I am suppose to trust that person with my mental health. Right.....

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if you get rejected by that many places maybe you are not a very good student and would make a terrible psychologist. Please consider another career.

It was rude... I got rejected by every place I applied to. 2 years in a row. And I am an excellent student judging from my GPA and both of GREs. Moreover, I would make a good scientist. Nevertheless... ;)  I have my weaknesses (I'm a Russian with badbadbad academic background), and I think that aphdapplicant has some also, which does not mean that (s)he is an awful student an so on and so forth. You never know why somebody else is rejected.

It's not a game in the sense that that it's very serious, but it is a game in the sense that there are winners and losers, and not every loser is a bad gamer - it is all about unclear rules and not-omnipotent and not-omniscient judges. In sport players are judged by their past - what they've already done in the competition. But in the grad game committees are trying to predict, and they judge by the future - what this applicant could possibly do in the future. This process is full of mistakes, as any extrapolation process. Don't you know at least one phd student who was expelled, or who had no progress, or whose thesis was just a trash? Don't you know stupid people with phd degree? You're lucky :)

 

Do you love applying to, and keeping track of, 10-20 applications? Can't get enough of the sitting on pins and needles post-submission wait feeling and post-interview rejections!?! Then you'll love the rejected across-the-board club! Clinical applicants especially welcome!

14/14 clinical rejections! Go me!

Clinical programs want everything, plus a kitchen sink!

I'm not clinical applicant, but I'm in your club ;)  Next year we'll have another chance, so we shouldn't give up! "Nantoka naru-yo" is my credo right now )) It's Japanese for smth like "It'll get better". It definitely will :)

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wtf is this. If you are not accepted it is because you are not as good as other people (even though you think your stats are "excellent"). Why do you have to spin your rejection around and say the adcom makes mistakes? This is not communist Russia. Only the best students should be admitted to graduate programs.

Edited by SciencePerson101
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wtf is this. If you are not accepted it is because you are not as good as other people (even though you think your stats are "excellent"). Why do you have to spin your rejection around and say the adcom makes mistakes? This is not communist Russia. Only the best students should be admitted to graduate programs.

Could you please tell me where exactly did I do the "spin my rejection around" thing? If you didn't notice, I wrote that I have my weaknesses, which means that I am not as good as others and I admit it. And I will work to become better, and I know what I have to do, and so on. But it's about me, not about others. I do not judge others because I know nothing about them. But you maybe think that you're the God, and can do that - ok, that's your right.

I agree that "only the best students should be admitted to graduate programs", but I am old enough to understand that "what should be" not always equals "what happens in reality". And adcoms make mistakes sometimes, yes. Not because they are bad, but because they have to predict future based on the past. Maybe you did hear about "just-world fallacy"? I suppose not, if you really think that "if I am good, the world will be good to me". Welcome to the real world, my naive friend. As for me, I know that not every effort will be rewarded, but I try nonetheless.

Also, using your logic about "the best students", if one is rejected from any of the programs, one must decide that he's bad ("he was not accepted because he is not as good as other people" after all), stop believe in himself, and go and kill himself. Go ahead. We stay here and watch you doing that. Or was you admitted to all of your programs? Sorry for the questions, I see that you don't like to answer and prefer to talk with the voices in your head, but I am used to ask people things.

And oh yes, "communist Russia" was called USSR, if you don't know. And the USSR had very good education system, if you don't know. Unfortunately, it's different now. But we are talking here about US grad schools, not Russian.

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Do you love applying to, and keeping track of, 10-20 applications? Can't get enough of the sitting on pins and needles post-submission wait feeling and post-interview rejections!?! Then you'll love the rejected across-the-board club! Clinical applicants especially welcome!

14/14 clinical rejections! Go me!

Clinical programs want everything, plus a kitchen sink!

 

Well, hey, if you got interviews, that in itself is better than many applicants do! Some get none at all. I am friends with a very talented PhD student who applied twice; 1 interview the first time, 1 interview the second time. Many people apply 2 or 3 times, especially if they are traditional students applying right after college.

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I was definitely in the rejected-across-the-board club for 2 years in a row!  And (not to toot my own horn, but facts are facts) I was a great applicant.  Great GPA, GRE scores, research experience, multiple presentations and publication, etc.  I was even told by most of the programs that I was a perfect applicant and would be a great fit.

 

But unfortunately it's much more than a numbers game- as much as people may want to ignore it, there's a huge amount of luck involved.  You have to be applying to the right program at the right time with the right credentials that has the right funding under the right adviser... and if even one of those things fails, you're screwed. 

 

Fortunately, 3rd time was the charm for me.  So don't lose hope, and while it's always important to identify your weaknesses and work to improve them, you also have to remember that sometimes, it's just not you.

 

Good luck, and keep your chin up.

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Someone in this thread has the "belief in a perfect world" thing going on to an extreme.  Clinical psychology PhD admissions are brutal, much more so than most other psychology programs, and many have argued them to be the most competitive graduate program for admission (what is it, like an average of 5% acceptance rate?  But usually you have to name a potential mentor who is probably taking only 1 student).  It is not uncommon to see and hear stories about highly qualified applicants getting passed over multiple years and even applicants with less experience get in right out of undergraduate.  If it really were the best students, this would not be the case as many people with good grades/GRE scores go out into various settings for a couple years to gain extra experience, present/publish, etc. to help their application stand out more so than a college senior with similar academic credentials.

 

Most clinical psychology PhD programs are just like other PhD programs, based on mentorship models and the biggest weight in the decision of whether or not to admit you is based on the potential mentor you selected and his/her decision.  A faculty member may invite 4+ of the top applicants for his/her lab to interview, and from there, as they always say, it boils down to who is the best "fit."  Over the years, I have begun to question what that means and have gradually seen that it generally is an umbrella term used to broadly define the subjective criteria desired by the individual who is evaluating an applicant; what he/she values most in a graduate student and which student most closely emulates that.  This can be a number of things, such as overlapping research experience/research goals, career goals, grades/GRE scores, it can even be based on things like the professor's impression of your undergraduate institution, letter writers are his/her close colleagues, your personality, or pre-existing relationship with person of interest (it's naïve to think that these things do not get people admitted over others).

 

Despite what some may think, so much is out of the applicants' control, and because of the way the process works, there are highly qualified students that do not get admission offers at all during multiple application cycles, and less qualified students who luck out on the "fit" aspect or a wait list works out in their favor the first time they apply.  If it were just based on the best students, there would be no interviews or personal statements.  You would just send in your transcripts/GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a resume/CV and they would just admit the people with the highest grades, test scores, most publications and presentations and base it off that.  Domino's assessment above is spot on.

 

And of course, there are easier ways out to get a degree to practice, like masters programs or PsyD's but I suppose if one is so concerned about trusting a health professional for getting into grad/med school not being an uber-student, you could always ask to see their transcripts from their undergraduate degree before consenting to anything if it concerns you that much.

Edited by PsychGradHopeful14
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Wow PsychGradHopeful14, thanks for that :) It was very comforting to read this.

 

 

Someone in this thread has the "belief in a perfect world" thing going on to an extreme.  Clinical psychology PhD admissions are brutal, much more so than most other psychology programs, and many have argued them to be the most competitive graduate program for admission (what is it, like an average of 5% acceptance rate?  But usually you have to name a potential mentor who is probably taking only 1 student).  It is not uncommon to see and hear stories about highly qualified applicants getting passed over multiple years and even applicants with less experience get in right out of undergraduate.  If it really were the best students, this would not be the case as many people with good grades/GRE scores go out into various settings for a couple years to gain extra experience, present/publish, etc. to help their application stand out more so than a college senior with similar academic credentials.

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Do you love applying to, and keeping track of, 10-20 applications? Can't get enough of the sitting on pins and needles post-submission wait feeling and post-interview rejections!?! Then you'll love the rejected across-the-board club! Clinical applicants especially welcome!

14/14 clinical rejections! Go me!

Clinical programs want everything, plus a kitchen sink!

 

Clinical programs are insanely competitive. When I went to talk to professors to get advice about applying to Ph.D. programs last fall, I was surprised to find out that two of my favorite professors (one in personality and one in developmental) had applied their first time to clinical Ph.D.'s and got rejected across the board. They both ended up applying the following year to research programs and are now tenured faculty. Obviously, this is not necessarily the path for you and if you love clinical work, then you should definitely apply to clinical programs again next year. I just thought it was interesting because both of these professors are brilliant and they too got rejected from clinical programs!

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Clinical programs are insanely competitive. When I went to talk to professors to get advice about applying to Ph.D. programs last fall, I was surprised to find out that two of my favorite professors (one in personality and one in developmental) had applied their first time to clinical Ph.D.'s and got rejected across the board. They both ended up applying the following year to research programs and are now tenured faculty. Obviously, this is not necessarily the path for you and if you love clinical work, then you should definitely apply to clinical programs again next year. I just thought it was interesting because both of these professors are brilliant and they too got rejected from clinical programs!

 

That's nice and all... but just saying, social/personality PhD programs are actually more competitive than clinical PhD programs. That's according to the APA 2011 analysis (Table 18). http://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/11-grad-study/applications.pdf

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Please try to keep your spirits up if you got rejected. There's a million factors in play for each person that impact the decision. Grad school is a game, it's NOT real life. Being rejected from a super competitive field does not mean you will never get accepted. If there's one regret I have on my process it's dwelling too long on something that's the wrong fit. I applied for 2 years to the same MA program in Canada that accepts 15-20/230 people each year. I wasted 2 years just trying to be accepted. Instead of continuing that charade I applied to an equally great program in the US and got accepted right away. Now I'm doing my PsyD and have regained the confidence I lost in those two application seasons. The point is don't give up, just find a way to navigate yourself through this game!

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That's nice and all... but just saying, social/personality PhD programs are actually more competitive than clinical PhD programs. That's according to the APA 2011 analysis (Table 18). http://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/11-grad-study/applications.pdf

 

That figure is for all doctoral programs in psychology, and thus includes PsyD programs. As stated earlier in this document, acceptance at PhD programs in clinical psychology is 5%, or .05, lower than the .06 for social/personality. And that number includes professional school PhD's, which are primarily in clinical psychology; if only legitimate PhD programs (i.e. not at free-standing institutions) were included, the percentage of clinical psychology PhD acceptances would be even lower.

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I'll apply till I get in. I'm not interested in clinical work; however, I'm interested in basic research on certain disorders. My preference is for a nonclinical program - it's just a lot more difficult to find SP or developmental researchers with similar research interests. But that's what I'm doing now - intensive nonclinical POI shopping!

Clinical programs are insanely competitive. When I went to talk to professors to get advice about applying to Ph.D. programs last fall, I was surprised to find out that two of my favorite professors (one in personality and one in developmental) had applied their first time to clinical Ph.D.'s and got rejected across the board. They both ended up applying the following year to research programs and are now tenured faculty. Obviously, this is not necessarily the path for you and if you love clinical work, then you should definitely apply to clinical programs again next year. I just thought it was interesting because both of these professors are brilliant and they too got rejected from clinical programs!

One of the top Personality Disorder researchers was rejected across the board his first round...the number of application cycles it takes to be admitted is not a valid measure of one's potential. Most applicants have strong GPAs and GREs - it's all about fit. I learned that it's difficult to predict how your goodness of fit will be perceived by the program/POI. I've been rejected from schools I thought would consider me well-matched and interviewed at schools I considered the biggest stretch. However, I never went into it expecting to get into any particular school, nor did I expect to get in anywhere (not pessimistic - just realistic - it happens to lots of people!) or interviewed. The hardest part is coming so close and having it slip through my hands in the end. Oh well. Next year, hopefully. Edited by aphdapplicant
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I didn't believe how hard it was to get into Clinical when I first applied in December. I worked my butt off all throughout the past four years of undergrad, got perfect grades, worked in several labs, was heavily involved with the school and faculty, had great work experience, won several awards and scholarships, presented at a conference, worked on a publication, had a poster etc. I only applied to two universities because I didn't think I needed to apply to more. One of them didn't even invite me to their open house despite my apparently strong application. A LOT of professors and clinicians (some of them great researches or very successful therapists) that I know did not get in the first time around. Almost all grad students I know also didn't get in the first time around. Someone I know got 4 acceptances out of 10 applications this year, but last year got all rejections, despite applying to the same number of programs. And if you're straight out of undergrad apparently that's even harder. So much of it is about luck, things you can't control.

 

I eventually did get accepted to my program of choice, but that was a fluke too; I was already working with my to-be supervisor on my thesis. Even then I was on a wait list because there were too many faculty and not enough spots for students, so he had to fight for me. I was extremely lucky that it worked out, even despite the fact that they knew me well and wanted me. But it was complete nepotism and also luck in the sense that this POI was looking for a grad student to continue the exact project that my thesis was on. PURE luck. Maybe that's what some people say when they talk about it being a game. All it takes is for each of your POIs to already have someone they know and like in mind. Or for politics between faculty members to ruin your chances. Or any number of things, of course. There's always a reason someone does get accepted, of course, but I would bet that most of the time it's not simply because a person has good grades or experience. Maybe their interests fall freakishly in line with the POI's like no one else's, maybe they knew the POI or were recommended by someone they trusted, maybe they just liked them as a person. All this does not mean that all of those who get rejected are not good applicants.

 

Having said that, it's obviously wise to think about what you CAN do to improve your chances. Obviously it's more than about grades and research. It's about how you conduct yourself, who you know, how focused you are in your interests and how convincing you are about that, to name just a few things.

Edited by DeltaSkelta
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  • 2 weeks later...

That figure is for all doctoral programs in psychology, and thus includes PsyD programs. As stated earlier in this document, acceptance at PhD programs in clinical psychology is 5%, or .05, lower than the .06 for social/personality. And that number includes professional school PhD's, which are primarily in clinical psychology; if only legitimate PhD programs (i.e. not at free-standing institutions) were included, the percentage of clinical psychology PhD acceptances would be even lower.

Thanks for the clarification! Not sure why they buried that way up in the document. I'd say then that social/clinical programs are roughly comparable in competitiveness.

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I'm also part of the rejected across the board club! Well, assuming at this point, but I'm pretty sure. But I got a job with the federal government that I'm really excited about, so maybe a break from academia will be better.

 

I know it's hard, but don't take across the board rejections to heart. Unlike the troll says, psych admissions are extremely competitive and involve a ridiculous amount of randomness. Don't give up hope!

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As of 15 minutes ago I became eligible to join this club. I guessed as much, but damn. It kinda hurts. 

 

I'm not sure whether or not to wait and apply again in the future or just give grad school the big middle finger and go become a park ranger. 

Edited by ihatechoosingusernames
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  • 2 weeks later...

As April 15 approaches, I just wanted to say don't give up hope if you don't get in! Many people in my program were accepted after applying for the third time, and they are doing really great.

 

The admissions game is brutal, but it really is a game in the sense that many qualified people can't get in. There are so many factors that go into the process that many qualified people don't get in (ei - working with a well-known investigator in the field, how close the research match is, etc). I think almost everyone who gets an interview is more than qualified, and at that point a lot of it is luck.

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