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6 hours ago, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

Rejected from 12 schools for clinical psychology

4.0 GPA  (undergrad and grad), 155 Q, 161 V, 5 years of research experience, 3 pubs (2 first author), 12 posters, amazing letters of recommendation 

I'm going to try again next year but I wish I knew what I did wrong or what they want. I feel like all I've been doing the last 5 years is taking every opportunity I have been given and I don't understand why it isn't paying off. This was my third time applying and I thought it would be my last. 

Have you all received any input or advice from faculty other than just try again? 

Going by your credentials on paper, I'm honestly also confused why you haven't received any offers yet  :-< My GRE General Exam scores weren't as high as yours and I have far less research experience, but I managed to receive an official offer from a doctoral clinical psychology program that provided tuition remission and stipend. This is my 2nd cycle applying - last year when I was rejected after interviews, I did reach out to the POI's at the schools who interviewed me for some constructive criticism on my application, and I worked on it.

Personally, my biggest issues were my own anxiety going into interviews (one POI said that I appeared "overwhelmingly tense" during interviews) and another said it was just a matter of fit between our research interests. So over the past year, I worked on my anxiety through outside help and honed my research interest through introspection and dabbled in different psychology research labs.

Also, I didn't waste time applying for the *extremely* competitive programs like your Harvard, Yale, UCLA, etc. I applied for programs not based on U.S. News ranking or "name brand," but based on its training quality and its general fit with my interests. For example, I realized over the past year that I'm really interested in programs that emphasized Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology training, so those are the programs I focused on applying for. 

Edited by JoePianist

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On 2/13/2016 at 10:16 PM, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

Rejected from 12 schools for clinical psychology

4.0 GPA  (undergrad and grad), 155 Q, 161 V, 5 years of research experience, 3 pubs (2 first author), 12 posters, amazing letters of recommendation 

I'm going to try again next year but I wish I knew what I did wrong or what they want. I feel like all I've been doing the last 5 years is taking every opportunity I have been given and I don't understand why it isn't paying off. This was my third time applying and I thought it would be my last. 

Have you all received any input or advice from faculty other than just try again? 

I'm sorry, I know how much that stings.  I do think its good you're motivated to apply again next year.  Based on the stats you've posted I'd say you look like a promising candidate on paper, but as a fellow applicant I'm certainly no expert on what adcoms want.  How was your AW score on the GRE?  Some programs may place a fair amount of importance on that.

Getting back to your original question..... in past application cycles when I needed feedback here are some of the suggestions I was given:

1)  Diversify your experience.  Meaning challenge yourself to gain clinical experience in unfamiliar populations and perhaps even in groups that might make you uncomfortable initially.  Also in terms of research, work on projects outside your interests or even in a different department.  Sure your primary interest may be in widgets, but you can learn a lot from working on a project focusing on poppets.  

2)  Keep reworking your SOP because it likely won't be any good until the dozenth rewrite.  Have a lot of people review it, not your friends and family who will just blow smoke up your rear but people who will rip it to shreds.

3)  If you had to do a PS then be careful of disclosing too much.  We've all had our struggles, but sometimes the crazy is best left in the box.

4)  When choosing which schools to apply to be reasonable.  Yes look at research fit, but also consider how competitive the program is.  There's nothing wrong with throwing your hat in the ring at top tier programs, but more of your applications should be for mid tier programs to increase your odds.

5)  In terms of research fit you want to have focused interests without being too narrow.  Too narrow can imply you aren't open to some of the broader projects a professor or department may have coming up or that you don't want to be challenged.

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On 2/13/2016 at 11:16 PM, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

Rejected from 12 schools for clinical psychology

4.0 GPA  (undergrad and grad), 155 Q, 161 V, 5 years of research experience, 3 pubs (2 first author), 12 posters, amazing letters of recommendation 

I'm going to try again next year but I wish I knew what I did wrong or what they want. I feel like all I've been doing the last 5 years is taking every opportunity I have been given and I don't understand why it isn't paying off. This was my third time applying and I thought it would be my last. 

Have you all received any input or advice from faculty other than just try again? 

Did you get interviews at any of these schools? If you have gotten a lot of interviews but no offers then I would work on interview preparation and social skills rather than your credentials. 

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On 2/13/2016 at 1:16 AM, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

Rejected from 12 schools for clinical psychology

4.0 GPA  (undergrad and grad), 155 Q, 161 V, 5 years of research experience, 3 pubs (2 first author), 12 posters, amazing letters of recommendation 

I'm going to try again next year but I wish I knew what I did wrong or what they want. I feel like all I've been doing the last 5 years is taking every opportunity I have been given and I don't understand why it isn't paying off. This was my third time applying and I thought it would be my last.

Posts like this terrify the crap out of me. I feel like I am so unprepared going into applications next cycle and I'm honestly panicking trying to figure out how to increase my chances. 

I do have a semirelated question though. You mentioned that this was your third time applying - what kind of work were doing in the interim? I know a lot of people say to get a research position but depending on geography, research positions don't necessarily pay the bills (or alternatively, you might not have a good enough background to get a paid position so you have to take on volunteer positions, like I'm doing). What are people's thoughts about working an unrelated full time job and doing research on the side? Does this look shitty or should I really be looking for full-time research positions?!

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5 hours ago, dancedementia said:

Posts like this terrify the crap out of me. I feel like I am so unprepared going into applications next cycle and I'm honestly panicking trying to figure out how to increase my chances. 

I do have a semirelated question though. You mentioned that this was your third time applying - what kind of work were doing in the interim? I know a lot of people say to get a research position but depending on geography, research positions don't necessarily pay the bills (or alternatively, you might not have a good enough background to get a paid position so you have to take on volunteer positions, like I'm doing). What are people's thoughts about working an unrelated full time job and doing research on the side? Does this look shitty or should I really be looking for full-time research positions?!

I think most professors understand needing to take an unrelated job to pay the bills. I am not personally in that situation, but from everything I have heard it is viewed positively because you are still involved with and passionate about research despite needing to have another job. 

Also, posts like this are scary but remember a lot of factors out of the applicants control can play a role in acceptance or rejection decisions. I think the key is to stay optimistic.

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10 hours ago, dancedementia said:

I do have a semirelated question though. You mentioned that this was your third time applying - what kind of work were doing in the interim? I know a lot of people say to get a research position but depending on geography, research positions don't necessarily pay the bills (or alternatively, you might not have a good enough background to get a paid position so you have to take on volunteer positions, like I'm doing). What are people's thoughts about working an unrelated full time job and doing research on the side? Does this look shitty or should I really be looking for full-time research positions?!

That's what I did. I applied in 2013 and didn't get in. I took a job a Lowes for a bit and contacted a professor at the closest university who had somewhat similar research interests. I attended lab meetings once a week, and had the chance to get in a few more poster presentations and a non peer reviewed publication in the university's women's studies journal. I did have the opportunity this last summer to apply for a job as a research assistant, and got the job based off of my volunteer research experience. If anything, it shows how dedicated you are to research. I even had it brought up at a visiting weekend, and they mentioned how impressed they were that I kept active in the field. @EatSleepPsychology is right, though. There are so many factors that play into an admissions decision, and you can't control all of them. It's frustrating, but it is what it is. 

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I think it's not true to say that GRE scores play little role in the admissions process.

On 2/13/2016 at 4:18 AM, khunconan said:

You did not do anything wrong. I believe your GRE scores are good enough and plays little role in the admissions process. Sometimes you can be very, very good but there are still someone who is just a better fit. It's about finding the right person at the right time in the right place. Good luck!

 

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1 hour ago, SocialHealth said:

I think it's not true to say that GRE scores play little role in the admissions process.

 

I didn't say GRE scores play little role in the admissions process *in general.* I mean his/her scores should be good enough to pass a cut-off of many schools and thus play little role afterward (not all schools, of course). Usually once your scores reach a certain threshold, POI cares much more about research fit and experience (that's why SoP is very important) than GRE (unless you get perfect scores like 170V 170Q 6AWA). If h/she has time and energy to retake the GRE and get higher scores, I'd say go for it. However, raising 155Q to 160+Q is much harder than, for example, 145Q to 150+Q. It is completely possible but h/she must be willing to invest a lot of time and energy for test preparation with no guarantee of success. Even though h/she can break 160 for both sections, there is still no guarantee of acceptance. All in all, I believe his/her research experience (at least in quantity) is very impressive and right now it's much more important to increase relevant experience/skills, find a perfect fit, and know how to sell him/herself in statements/interviews.  

 

Edited by khunconan

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Rejected by  Counseling Psychology PhD:

University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

meh. not cool..... 

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School: Vanderbilt University

Area: Psychology (Quantitative Methods) Ph.D

Rationalization: Many qualified applicants

Comment: Got the "even though you didn't get accepted to the Phd program, you're a great Master's program applicant" email. 

Coping tactics: Looking into the above, waiting on further info from other schools, and reevaluating everything.

 

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On 2/16/2016 at 11:38 PM, dancedementia said:

Posts like this terrify the crap out of me. I feel like I am so unprepared going into applications next cycle and I'm honestly panicking trying to figure out how to increase my chances. 

I do have a semirelated question though. You mentioned that this was your third time applying - what kind of work were doing in the interim? I know a lot of people say to get a research position but depending on geography, research positions don't necessarily pay the bills (or alternatively, you might not have a good enough background to get a paid position so you have to take on volunteer positions, like I'm doing). What are people's thoughts about working an unrelated full time job and doing research on the side? Does this look shitty or should I really be looking for full-time research positions?!

I don't think its a bad thing to work full time and do research on the side.  I have been lucky enough to find a full time job in my field, but otherwise would not have felt "less than" working outside of my field to keep a roof over my head.  Any professor or department that doesn't get that isn't worth the next 5 years of my life.  I will say it has been harder to find research opportunities because I am limited to after work and weekend hours and I find many labs have standard weekday hours or they question your commitment if you already have a good paying job.

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Rejected from Western Michigan University's I/O Psych Masters. 
They're only accepting 3-4 students this year, and I was among 14 applicants who were invited to interview weekend out of a couple hundred applicants. They seem to give WMU undergrads priority consideration, and I both hate and kind of understand that. Interview weekend was ridiculous- see my blog about it. They put us through a lot.

I'm a fairly competitive applicant, but this rejection wasn't that surprising after the interviews. 

I already have been accepted to my top choice, which certainly cushioned this blow. 

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On 2/16/2016 at 2:38 AM, dancedementia said:

Posts like this terrify the crap out of me. I feel like I am so unprepared going into applications next cycle and I'm honestly panicking trying to figure out how to increase my chances. 

I do have a semirelated question though. You mentioned that this was your third time applying - what kind of work were doing in the interim? I know a lot of people say to get a research position but depending on geography, research positions don't necessarily pay the bills (or alternatively, you might not have a good enough background to get a paid position so you have to take on volunteer positions, like I'm doing). What are people's thoughts about working an unrelated full time job and doing research on the side? Does this look shitty or should I really be looking for full-time research positions?!

I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you. There are definitely people in my program with less research, pubs, and gre scores that are getting in. My professor just told me that she thinks I had bad luck this year. She said there was no other way to explain it. I graduated from college in 2013, took a year off to earn money working with children as a caretaker, and then did a 2 year masters program where I was able to be a lab manager and get all of that research experience. I applied to about 1/2 reach schools, and 1/4 in my range, and 1/4 safety. I got three interviews and didn't get offers from any of the schools. I think a major issue is that I'm doing EEG research right now and am applying to professors who do research in areas that I've looked at with EEG but not the specific measures they use. I'm going to apply to 25 next time, add in some counseling psychology programs, and cut out all of my reach schools. You can message me if you want to talk more :) I can share any advice I've learned from this process. For the next year I am hoping to get a clinical research job at PPD so I can save up for those 25 applications next year. 

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On 2/15/2016 at 1:03 PM, Aminoacidalanine said:

Did you get interviews at any of these schools? If you have gotten a lot of interviews but no offers then I would work on interview preparation and social skills rather than your credentials. 

I applied to vanderbilt, unc, duke, rutgers, memphis, university of greensboro, university of charlotte, university of georgia, auburn, kansas university, west virginia university, and case western reserve. I got skype interviews at wvu, and phone at memphis and greensboro. I got in person interviews at uga, case western, and uncc. I contacted all of the professors and they said I had great products but cited research fit. Unfortunately, I want to switch from what I am doing now (eeg research) but it seems like schools really like you to have specific experience in their area so I may just apply to a few eeg research labs so I can get in somewhere and get my dream degree. Thanks for your input! 

Edited by ClinicalApplicant07

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On 2/13/2016 at 2:10 AM, Freudian_Slip said:

Wow, your research credentials are amazing. Pretty surprised you've gotten no offers. Are you applying to all top programs?

Your GRE is low, especially for clinical, though not terribly low. It's possible at some schools your app is not making a cut off point for further review because your GRE is too low. I would think for Clinical you'd want 325+.

Your GRE or maybe poor research fits/not as relevant research experience would be first 2 things I would consider.

If you're applying a 4th time, though, I would really throw the kitchen sink at it and see what other maybe auxiliary things you could do to improve--like GRE Subject test, more programming/stats skills, etc. Also would make sure your SOP's are looked at by faculty etc.. You have to really candidly assess your application at a microlevel and see what can be improved

I would also try to email some of your POIs at the schools you applied to and see if you could get any feedback, in addition to your faculty mentors.

This year was my 2nd cycle with no offers apparently forthcoming, so I feel your pain. Don't give up!

Thank you so much! You were so encouraging and I really appreciate your support! I did email the professors and they all cited research fit as the reason for choosing other students, so I need to apply to schools with a stronger fit rather than my specific interests. I wanted to move in a different direction with my research, but that seems to be frowned upon so I'll just have to try again in the area I know the most about (eeg). I'm going to try more like 20-25 apps and add in some counseling psychology programs. I will also be more realistic with the schools I apply to, and cut out my reach schools from this past cycle. I hope you get good news soon! 

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On 2/13/2016 at 4:18 AM, khunconan said:

You did not do anything wrong. I believe your GRE scores are good enough and plays little role in the admissions process. Sometimes you can be very, very good but there are still someone who is just a better fit. It's about finding the right person at the right time in the right place. Good luck!

Thank you so much! I'm just going to keep trying!  It's my dream and I won't stop working until I achieve my goal! :)

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On 2/13/2016 at 7:29 AM, JoePianist said:

Going by your credentials on paper, I'm honestly also confused why you haven't received any offers yet  :-< My GRE General Exam scores weren't as high as yours and I have far less research experience, but I managed to receive an official offer from a doctoral clinical psychology program that provided tuition remission and stipend. This is my 2nd cycle applying - last year when I was rejected after interviews, I did reach out to the POI's at the schools who interviewed me for some constructive criticism on my application, and I worked on it.

Personally, my biggest issues were my own anxiety going into interviews (one POI said that I appeared "overwhelmingly tense" during interviews) and another said it was just a matter of fit between our research interests. So over the past year, I worked on my anxiety through outside help and honed my research interest through introspection and dabbled in different psychology research labs.

Also, I didn't waste time applying for the *extremely* competitive programs like your Harvard, Yale, UCLA, etc. I applied for programs not based on U.S. News ranking or "name brand," but based on its training quality and its general fit with my interests. For example, I realized over the past year that I'm really interested in programs that emphasized Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology training, so those are the programs I focused on applying for. 

That is awesome! Congratulations on getting an offer! I'm so excited for you! Thanks for the great advice :)

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On 2/15/2016 at 2:42 AM, MarineBluePsy said:

I'm sorry, I know how much that stings.  I do think its good you're motivated to apply again next year.  Based on the stats you've posted I'd say you look like a promising candidate on paper, but as a fellow applicant I'm certainly no expert on what adcoms want.  How was your AW score on the GRE?  Some programs may place a fair amount of importance on that.

Getting back to your original question..... in past application cycles when I needed feedback here are some of the suggestions I was given:

1)  Diversify your experience.  Meaning challenge yourself to gain clinical experience in unfamiliar populations and perhaps even in groups that might make you uncomfortable initially.  Also in terms of research, work on projects outside your interests or even in a different department.  Sure your primary interest may be in widgets, but you can learn a lot from working on a project focusing on poppets.  

2)  Keep reworking your SOP because it likely won't be any good until the dozenth rewrite.  Have a lot of people review it, not your friends and family who will just blow smoke up your rear but people who will rip it to shreds.

3)  If you had to do a PS then be careful of disclosing too much.  We've all had our struggles, but sometimes the crazy is best left in the box.

4)  When choosing which schools to apply to be reasonable.  Yes look at research fit, but also consider how competitive the program is.  There's nothing wrong with throwing your hat in the ring at top tier programs, but more of your applications should be for mid tier programs to increase your odds.

5)  In terms of research fit you want to have focused interests without being too narrow.  Too narrow can imply you aren't open to some of the broader projects a professor or department may have coming up or that you don't want to be challenged.

This is great advice! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write this for me. I hope you get great news soon! 

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On 2/18/2016 at 1:38 PM, khunconan said:

I didn't say GRE scores play little role in the admissions process *in general.* I mean his/her scores should be good enough to pass a cut-off of many schools and thus play little role afterward (not all schools, of course). Usually once your scores reach a certain threshold, POI cares much more about research fit and experience (that's why SoP is very important) than GRE (unless you get perfect scores like 170V 170Q 6AWA). If h/she has time and energy to retake the GRE and get higher scores, I'd say go for it. However, raising 155Q to 160+Q is much harder than, for example, 145Q to 150+Q. It is completely possible but h/she must be willing to invest a lot of time and energy for test preparation with no guarantee of success. Even though h/she can break 160 for both sections, there is still no guarantee of acceptance. All in all, I believe his/her research experience (at least in quantity) is very impressive and right now it's much more important to increase relevant experience/skills, find a perfect fit, and know how to sell him/herself in statements/interviews.  

 

That is what my current mentor told me, not to bother retaking them since they fall in the threshold for many schools. I studied so hard the first time, I don't think I could do much better and it would be horrible to do worse. I'm just going to apply to schools that are in my range and below. I think your advice is great! Thanks again! 

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39 minutes ago, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

This is great advice! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write this for me. I hope you get great news soon! 

How are you doing with everything?  I'm guessing a bit overwhelmed in addition to being frustrated.

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11 hours ago, MarineBluePsy said:

How are you doing with everything?  I'm guessing a bit overwhelmed in addition to being frustrated.

Yeah I feel the same as you. I'm trying to cope and just stay positive but I was just not prepared at all for this. All of the faculty and students in my program told me I would "have my pick" of schools. I of course, wasn't that confident, but I had hope that I would get into one school. I'm just going to search for a job closely related to research where I can actually make money to fund my applications next year. I am going to apply to many more programs, as well as less competitive programs with fewer applicants. I'm sorry you are going through this. This whole process is just stressful and devastating. I hope that it turns out better for you than it did for me! 

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5 hours ago, ClinicalApplicant07 said:

Yeah I feel the same as you. I'm trying to cope and just stay positive but I was just not prepared at all for this. All of the faculty and students in my program told me I would "have my pick" of schools. I of course, wasn't that confident, but I had hope that I would get into one school. I'm just going to search for a job closely related to research where I can actually make money to fund my applications next year. I am going to apply to many more programs, as well as less competitive programs with fewer applicants. I'm sorry you are going through this. This whole process is just stressful and devastating. I hope that it turns out better for you than it did for me! 

It always amazes me when everyone says you'll have your pick of something because they think that's the way it should be.  Well just because they think so doesn't mean it is so.  I think aiming for a research job is a smart idea because it'll keep you active in the field and hopefully give you opportunities to publish.  As for funding your applications definitely do that.  The smartest thing I did this season was take a job I knew I wouldn't be over the moon for (though it looks good on my CV) simply because the pay was so good I knew I'd be able to fund my applications and handle some other matters.  An unexpected perk was having plenty of down time at work to actually work on my applications.

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2 hours ago, MarineBluePsy said:

It always amazes me when everyone says you'll have your pick of something because they think that's the way it should be.  Well just because they think so doesn't mean it is so. 

If I had a dollar for every time someone (not a psych major) said, "Oh, you have a great GPA!  You'll get in!" ...  No matter how many times I try to explain the "stars must align" concept and that it's so much more than just GPA, I get this blank stare.

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15 minutes ago, Piagetsky said:

If I had a dollar for every time someone (not a psych major) said, "Oh, you have a great GPA!  You'll get in!" ...  No matter how many times I try to explain the "stars must align" concept and that it's so much more than just GPA, I get this blank stare.

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!

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13 hours ago, cpctc1 said:

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!

It's hard enough for me to understand, and I'm going through it, so it makes sense why people think all you need is a good resume to get in. There are so many factors involved so it can never be a sure thing. Next year I am going to apply to at least 25 places if I can find that many with a good research fit. 

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