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What kinds of schools should I apply to?


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I'm a senior majoring in Psychology. I originally started out as a chemistry major and my grades were sub-par to say the least. I had a 2.9 GPA after my 2nd year but then switched majors and now I plan to graduate with a 3.5 and with departmental distinction (I earned a 4.0 my last 5 semesters). I have extensive research experience.

Here's a brief summary:


- Presented posters at several conference (2 of them national)

- 3.5 years as a paid research assistant at my University's medical department (doing health psychology research)

- Conducted 2 independent studies

- Published manuscript (first author)

- 1 Summer Research Program

- 1 year as a Clinical Research Coordinator at a top 10 research University. 

- 3 semesters as a psychology research assistant at school

- Awarded a supplement grant

- A 2nd publication (as a third author) is in progress


I plan on pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. I'm taking the GRE this upcoming Summer and plan to apply Fall of 2015. Also, I'm not sure if this matters but I'm a 23 year old Hispanic male. My dream programs are in Berkeley and Washington but I don't know if I would be competitive enough to apply given my GPA. Any thoughts or advice?

Edited by Henry91
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Yes, apply to your dream programs - especially if you do well on the GRE.  Because, frankly, you can't win if you don't play.  But of course you should also apply to other schools.  I don't know if Berkeley or Washington have GPA cutoffs.  Does it say if they do on their websites?  Clinical is not my area.  FWIW, some programs in my area (I/O) also take into account your major GPA so if that 4.0 is in psych courses, that may help as well.

Edited by Bren2014
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I would have a recommendation letter address your GPA, but assuming you have a strong statement, I can't imagine your GPA would hold you back. I would somehow also mention your ethnicity in your statement (but only if you can make it relavent).

Based on your accomplishments, assuming your GRAs are good, I would say you are a strong applicant

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I actually don't think your GPA is a problem at all.  You're going to be graduating with a 3.5, and you have a very obvious upward trend over the years.  Your research experience is excellent, so I think you would be a strong applicant anywhere.  Just be sure to emphasize your research fit with your POIs when you apply, and you should have a great chance.

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