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Lack of research and volunteer experience regarding SOPs


Peacoat2290

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Hello all.

 

I'm wanting to apply to a few counseling programs, and am currently stuck on the personal statement due to not having any research experience (besides the basic research methods class), and no volunteer experience. I've been trying to find examples of SOPs, but of course, most people have very relevant experience. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed with writing this paper? I just fear that I may seem underqualified because I don't have anything really interesting about myself or resume.

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Haha, well I don't plan on writing something like that...but one school wants me to address what my experience is regarding the counseling field, either paid or volunteer. I have participated in several mock therapies to help grad students practice, and I have myself had counseling when I was stressed and found I was able to clear my mind when I had someone to talk to, which is the reason I want to be there to help others. Would either of those hinder my application? I know one of the "kisses of death" is to talk about any mental health issues yourself, but it's hard for me to answer that question without doing so. 

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Haha, well I don't plan on writing something like that...but one school wants me to address what my experience is regarding the counseling field, either paid or volunteer. I have participated in several mock therapies to help grad students practice, and I have myself had counseling when I was stressed and found I was able to clear my mind when I had someone to talk to, which is the reason I want to be there to help others. Would either of those hinder my application? I know one of the "kisses of death" is to talk about any mental health issues yourself, but it's hard for me to answer that question without doing so.

I know it's tempting but you can't. Talk about helping the grad students as much as you can. Maybe go on to say how you applied what you learned in class to that experience. But you shouldn't say anything about your own counseling experience influencing you choice, and you shouldn't say the words "I want to help people" - that would be two kisses of death!

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So frankly, having no research or volunteer experience does make you an underqualified candidate. (i.e., it's not about 'seeming' that way, it's the reality.)  There's only so much you can do to hide that fact. You might be able to make up for this with stellar grades, gre's, and letters , but I think you should realistically be prepared to get rejected this year. Do what you can to get those experiences this year so that you can try again with a stronger application next season.

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