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School Psychology--GRE, chances, etc.


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Hi all,

I'm a rising college senior, applying to School Psychology programs next year, primarily PhD/PsyD (and some EdS programs as well).

Majors: Psychology, Social Work

Minor: Biology

GPA: 3.78 (~3.95 in psych [1 B])

GRE: 1250 (660 Q, 590 V)

Research experience (represents totals at application time, not counting the last semester of undergrad):

-6 semesters biomedical (psychopharm development) research

-2 semesters in a multicultural psych lab, 2 more semesters working on an honors thesis in multicultural/education psych [hoping to have it defended by the time apps are due, prospectus defended in Feburary but recruitment may take a while]

-3 semesters (hopefully) in a neuropsych lab, running participants

-Honors thesis in Substance Abuse tx (will defend early this fall, have all my data collected, entered, and partially analyzed), presented a poster on my preliminary data that won our Undergraduate Research Conference

-2 semesters in parenting/child psych research, possible independent study in this

-2 semesters in DV research, probable poster out of this

-More than one year (starting December 2008) as a paid RA in a disability/violence lab, hopefully publication(s?)s and maybe posters out of this

-Honors thesis in disability/school psych, hopefully done this coming semester [will be defending prospectus this summer, planning to start data collection in Fall]

-PI/lead author on a major project in disability/education psych , aiming for major conference submission in November and manuscript submission in January

Teaching experience:

-3 semesters as a TA/student mentor for Intro to Honors (classroom management, guest lecturing, designing and grading assignments, etc.)

-one semester as a TA for intro to psych (running lab sections, grading quizzes)

-two years as a paid instructor for a seminar for psych internship students

-one semester teaching a social science freshman experience seminar (paid but not much )

Clinical/child experience:

-two years doing substance misuse group psychoed/therapy(ish) groups for college students

-one year (at application time) of volunteering at a children's science center (will also be doing this for part of my summer)

-partial summer of volunteering at a preschool for children with behavioral issues and (hopefully) volunteering with children at science daycamps

-year-long practicum at student disability services next year

-intermittent volunteering with a transitional home for children since freshman year as part of a service club (can't decide whether to put this on my CV or not)

I want to research the academic and social/social-cognitive aspects of disability, primarily physical disability, particularly resilience, social and academic adaptation/accommodation, and intervention within this population. I also apply a sort of multicultural lense to disability work, which is par for course in my lab, and goes well with my background in multicultural psych.

My biggest concern right now is that I don't have any publications or national presentations, though I'm hoping that some may come to fruitation this next semester.

(I'm officially an author on a lit review we're doing this summer and another paper, but of course, they have to be written/accepted/etc.).

Any thoughts?


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I think you have a strong application, but it will all likely hinge on your SOP. Have you started looking into where you would like to study? Have you made contact with any professors at these places?

The lack of publications shouldn't really be a concern at this stage.

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My biggest concern right now is that I don't have any publications or national presentations, though I'm hoping that some may come to fruitation this next semester.

(I'm officially an author on a lit review we're doing this summer and another paper, but of course, they have to be written/accepted/etc.).

Any thoughts?


Not having publications or presentations should be no issue whatsoever. I applied while completing an MA in ed psych and didn't have any pubs/presentations at the time of application. Since you'll be applying right out of your bachelor's degree, I can't imagine it being a problem. School psych programs are as interested in your professional/volunteer experiences as they are in your research experience. You seem to have a great deal of both.

Echoing t_ruth's comments/questions

- you have a great profile. But, I speak from experience when I say that it's sometimes difficult to include EVERYTHING you've done research-wise and practice-wise in your SOP. Since it's important to have some unifying theme in your statement, you might find yourself excluding some things and drawing particular attention to others. This is okay, since you will also include a CV that will include EVERYTHING you've mentioned here.

- have you decided which programs you will apply to? The most important aspect of your application, especially for PhD level programs, will be research match. No matter how great your research idea are, or how promising a practitioner you promise to be, the school simply can't accept you if they don't have a suitable research mentor who is willing to take you on. Start looking into profs and contacting them EARLY (i.e. now!)

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I applied to school psych programs this past year and had a chance to talk to both students and faculty at various programs throughout North America.

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the feedback!

Yes, I've started contacting potential POIs based on research interests and inquiring if they will b e taking students, if they would be interested in my particular research focus, etc. I was also offered authorship on a coupleof disability psych publications that we will be submitting this summer, so hopefully that will help. I think I can make a good connection in my PS regarding my orginal training in multicultural psych (esp. the educational aspect) and how that goes with my interest and transition into school psych and disability psych, though I guess the programs are the ultimate judge of "good."

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Perhaps this question is redundant...

How much to presentations and having a manuscript in the midst of the publication process weigh into the decision?

While I don't have 2 years of research experience working in labs and entering data, I will be going into my fourth semester of research in which I have been paid to work on my own project. Is seeing a project to fruition from the inception of its idea weighted more heavily than data collection and entry in a lab, working on a project where you didn't get to contribute to the project intellectually? I hear so many mixed things regarding research that it is hard to sort fact from fiction.

By all means the above is not meant to sound patronizing.

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I certainly wasn't trying to denigrate your experience. I was more trying to make a point that often times undergrads get stuck in labs entering data into SPSS or other similar tasks; consequently, they do not get a lot of project leadership experience. Perhaps tacking my question into your thread, despite the topic being somewhat relevant to the conversation at hand, made it looks as if I was? Very sorry.

Your record looks solid!

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