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Evaluation of chance and possible routes to success


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Hello, my reasons for posting on this forum are two fold: (1) For an accurate and honest evaluation of my credentials and aptitude for graduate school and (2) ways to improve my CV going forward that could be leveraged for future graduate school acceptance. I want to start by saying I was already admitted as a PhD student in Psychology in the UK but have not yet received funding, so I am applying to US funded PhD programs to help alleviate some stress that such a financial burden would produce. I am applying to PhD programs in Psychology with specialization in Neuroscience & Clinical Science. My research questions are eclectic and I use many lenses and research methods from Neuroscience and Psychology to Education. I am interested in the clinical child, my primarily research focus is in the autistic child as a whole, but I am also highly interested in how this disability is affected by cellular dysfunction in the occipital lobe and how that effects reading disabilities and how this dysfunction can lead to photo-receptive epileptic seizures. Not to digress, but we can see similar amplitude and slope undershoot post stimulus offset in the hemodynamic response in patients with migraines and photo-receptive epilepsy, which I find interesting, but I hope to explore this further in the future. Additionally, I have interests in multi-sensory processing in autistic populations and I want to use my research to both better understand autism  and also work towards amelioration practices with this research in mind. I am a 1st generation college student and I have an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology (3.59) and MS in Reading, Writing, and Literacy with a certificate in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (3.75)  both from Ivy League Schools. My undergraduate over-all GPA was 3.14 and my Psychology GPA was 3.52, I should also elucidate the fact that I was homeless during my first few years of college and was barely able to attend college, my over-all GPA is not a reflection of who I am now nor who I was during my beginning college experience.

During my three years in graduate school so far (masters degree programs), I have had two publications, one scientific and the other a case study. My scientific paper was on the prognosis and treatment of Glioblastoma over the last 100 years, a meta-analysis and my case-study was on Salvidor Dali, his creativity, and how the Spanish civil war and World War 2 affected his work through the lens of Csikszentmihalyi's (1999) socio-cultural perspective. Additionally, I was an invited speaker to a ethnography forum conference where I did practitioner research work on 12th graders comprehension of dramatic literature (Shakespeare's Hamlet). This was a mix-methods study in which I used case study, self-report measures, and an ANOVA in the analysis of my data. Previously I had spent two years in a Physiological Psychology Lab studying PTSD, TA'd for the Psychology Department in Undergrad for a year (courses TA'd research methods, Physio, and Basic Learning Processes), worked as a Hospice aid, and shadowed with a Board Certified Psychiatrist.

My point of apprehension comes when I peer through my undergraduate overall GPA 3.14, 3.52 major and GRE scores 302 overall (4.5 writing 80th, 153 V 60th 149 Q 37th), and as I delve through my undergraduate coursework I don't feel like I have had a good preparation in mathematics or science coursework. I only took one year of biology and I didn't take calculus, I took physics without calculus and I didn't take Chemistry in college. I have since college taught myself a lot of science through my autodidact personality but I am sure without the evidence of competency on my transcript many ad com's wont care. The sad part about this is I am very passionate about research and I consider myself a scientist already, I care deeply about the work I do and I have personal impetus for every decision I've made thus far in my career. I am actually retaking the GRE this week (I have a disability in reading comprehension and writing and didn't take the test with extra time previously, so I am taking it with double time, as per accommodations). I do appreciate any help the people of this site can provide and I hope I have made this personal enough that I can get honest and robust feedback from the community.

So for an aggregate of my statement above:

MA (ivy): 3.59, Thesis Honors, Cognitive Psychology

MS (ivy): 3.75, Thesis Honors, RWL & Neuroscience

BS: 3.52 Psychology, 3.14 overall

Shadowing Psychiatry

Teaching Experience: Teaching assistant, Department of Psychology, 1 year

Research Experience: 5 years

Clinical Experience: 3 months, (hospice aid)

Publications: 2; 1 scientific, 1 Case study report

Presentations/Conferences: 1

Letters of Recommendation: Director of Encology department (person my publication is with), Professor in Neurosurgery, Undergraduate adviser I did research for three years with and TA'd for a year for, Graduate Adviser.

Awards: 3, National award in simulation and modeling, Graduate School Scholarship, Learning Disability award undergrad: Reading Comprehension/Writing (full fee's/tuition).

If you don't think that I am competitive enough for admission, please give some advice on ways I could improve my chances of admission in the future.

Thank you for your time.

Edited by Austyn
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I decided that my question may be unanswerable without knowing the programs I'm applying to. These are the schools:

Vanderbilt Neuroscience : General program track

Vanderbilt Psychology: Neuroscience & Clinical Science Focus

Vanderbilt Biomedical: Neuroscience

Stanford Psychology: Neuroscience Specialization

UF Clinical Psychology: NeuroPsychology specialization
Columbia University Neuroscience

Edited by Austyn
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