ForensicPsych93

Fall 2017 Applications

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1 hour ago, t_ruth said:

Depends on the field. They aren't bad, but they aren't stellar either. In my department, each faculty member chooses who they want based on whatever criteria (some hate that we have to consider GREs at all, so they don't look at them). These choices are almost always respected unless the applicant has a GRE below a cut-off (lower than yours). We can only admit a small number of these, so then the faculty who wants a below-cut-off student has to argue for why they would be good despite the GREs.

The other time the GRE matters is if there is someone who is at the tippy top of our applicant pool and no one has indicated wanting to accept her/him. In that case, the dept. chair might encourage everyone to take another look.

Right, I should have specified. I am interested in social psych, where you can get away with lower GREs scores than in say, clinical. 

I know POI, have worked with him before and he has already expressed interest in working with me, which will probably work in my advantage. I have a 3.8 GPA in undergrad, and a 4.0 in my Masters. 

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Applying to counseling PhDs this round, and I'd really appreciate some insight on my odds! 

The good: 
3.986 GPA undergrad
Honors College Membership contingent upon maintaining 3.2 all semesters; extra classes required for graduation 
Chancellor's Scholarship undergrad - contingent upon maintaining 3.5, full ride to (public) uni 
Dean's List at summa cum laude every semester enrolled 
Provost's Certificate -- for maintaining 3.9 GPA every semester enrolled 
Independent Honors Thesis 
1 pub -- hoping to get another 2 out as first author before sending in apps (lofty goal, I know); on a couple of presentations  
Worked 20-40 hours a week between two research labs as an undergrad (one paid, one volunteer/one semester of credit) for two years, continue to volunteer in side lab
1 year of "full-time" research experience as lab manager (not like I was already doing full time hours between the two labs during undergrad but w/e...)
180 hour clinical internship working in a crisis stabilization unit + 8 months per diem work  
Gonna get three absolutely stellar letters of reccomendation 

The Meh: 
Went to public uni that's not always well-regarded (UMass Boston) 
I'm a baby by some people's standards (22) which my side-lab director mentioned was a huge turn-off for him because people fresh from undergrad don't know what they want to do with their lives and waste grant money if/when they drop out -- planning on addressing this directly because aside from changing my mind on BS vs BA I haven't at all wavered in what I've wanted to do with my life since senior year of high school - if nothing else I'm stubborn as hell and won't stop until I do what I came to do. 
Have a rare disability that manifested in middle school that wasn't treated properly until late HS (planning on highlighting this in my personal statement/statement of purpose because it's part of the reason why I'm so interested in adolescence & health psych). 

The Ugly: 
GRE scores... I did much worse this year than last (144 vs 142 Q, 158 vs 156 V, 4.5 vs 5.5A) but hit "send all scores" the day of. Likely the result of: a) extreme test anxiety because I know the GRE is really make-it-or-break-it for a lot of schools, I want to vomit every time I think of how much money I wasted on apps last year and how much I'll be paying for a non-terminal master's if I don't get into PhD this round; b ) My math skills outside of stats are absolutely abysmal because I had to literally teach myself math in high school (still managed to get nothing less than C's-- mostly A's and B's then) -- I'd miss months of school at a time and would get "home tutoring" from people who were just as lost as I was. 
Got a B+ in stats during undergrad -- because our prof gave everyone in the class the wrong directions for how to run SPSS so all of our labs were incorrect; half the class withdrew before the deadline and half of the remaining folks just stopped showing up; prof was an adjunct and was fired after that semester because of that class, but combined with the perception of "UMB's so easy you'd have to be really dumb to get less than an A" I can see why PIs would see this as a red flag combined with abysmal GRE scores. 

I'm applying to BC & UMB (but not with anyone I've worked with previously) for counseling as well as BC's MSW/PhD combo program (I know it's not psych but I figure there's at least some overlap with admissions criteria...) I was offered a spot in BC's consolation prize Master's program last year but declined it because it seemed like too much of a money grab for me (no renewal of the scholarship they offered for a 2-yr program...) What do you think my odds are looking like this year? 

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 I would definitely NOT discuss your disability in your statement, 9/10 times it is an instant turn off. Also, knowing a few people in BC's program, is not overly competitive so given your stats I would definitely say you are competitive there. 

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Reading everyone's GPA's and research experience is a bit disconcerting, but here it goes.

My GPA: 3.24, Major GPA (including courses such as Organic Chemistry): 3.16
GRE: Taking them tomorrow, expect above 160 for Q and V, and above a 4 on the writing section.

My research background other than extensive courses in Psychology is one semester currently of cognitive research, with another lined up for the spring semester (2017). I'm expecting two strong letters of recommendation, and one average one. I explicitly understand that I am the applicant at the bottom of the barrel (if I'm in the barrel at all) and that my chances are slim if not non-existent. 

I'm looking to apply mostly to SUNYs (I currently attend one) and CUNY PhD programs in Clinical Psychology and possibly Behavioral Neuroscience.
Schools include: CUNY Baruch, SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Stony Brook, but I'm looking to broaden my reach.

What are my chances at this point? I understand I am basically making a hail mary pass at this point. My transcript does reflect an upward trend, however.

Should I be looking into Master's programs instead? Or is there a slim chance I'll make it in somewhere?

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Thanks for the input Plasticity! I really appreciate it -- it's always a dice roll with this sort of thing but I feel like a liar when I don't include it. 

OpenMindKim -- speaking as someone who applied to all PhD programs last year (and was rejected from all); one of the biggest things against you right now is your age and experience. A lot of the people you're competing against are older and have been working in the field for longer than you by virtue of their age. A lot of PIs are leery of taking folks straight from undergrad because they haven't shown the same commitment to the field as other folks and dropouts waste a ton of grant money, time, and effort put into mentoring them. That being said, I think having more plan B options is better; I really regret not applying to some master's programs last year because this basically locked me out of doing anything but taking a year to work. At the same time, I'm grateful for the chance to not go into debt for a non-terminal master's (because I probably would have taken the master's last year out of desperation)... there are many roads to Rome, as my advisors always say; the path to your desired career might not be through a psych PhD. 

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I've been thinking about applying to Master's programs, but I've heard horror stories about how the debt often makes it a final stop for some people. How should I prepare myself going down this route?

Ideally I'd like to apply to programs that can provide me substantial financial assistance.

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I'm not super familiar with Master's programs in your area of research, unfortunately, but I know most places will give you at least some kind of merit or need-based scholarship (pricier schools usually have more scholarship money to give away but cheaper ones will probably give you closer to the full cost) and lots of places will allow you to TA for undergrad courses to make some money/reduce the cost of tuition. But, odds are you'll need to take out loans. However, the good news: if you decide to go on to PhD after getting a Master's you can defer your federal loans for the Master's until after your PhD is completed! I think you also get a six-month grace period after graduation and you can kick the can along the road for another six months after that if you're still unemployed. The bad news: interest will continue to accumulate in that time, so paying off interest while you're in the MA program is in your best interest. ;) 

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I would strongly recommend NOT going into debt for a Master's (unless it's for a professional degree like speech language pathology). You are better off finding a research position as a lab manager or RA. I know that some programs do offer some financial assistance (Wake Forest, Villanova, College of William and Mary).

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I would like to second this statement. Although everyone may have a different opinion I do not think it is wise to take out money for a Master's program that would not increase your employability or annual average salary. A Master's program can serve as a good transition, especially if you are unsure of your research interests or have a poor undergraduate GPA. However, unless you already have the ability to pay for one out of pocket I would not recommend paying for a degree which will not earn you more money. There are many paths to a PhD, and I would avoid the more costly route if at all possible. As state before, getting a lab manager or RA position has the potential to be just as beneficial.

10 hours ago, St0chastic said:

I would strongly recommend NOT going into debt for a Master's (unless it's for a professional degree like speech language pathology). You are better off finding a research position as a lab manager or RA. I know that some programs do offer some financial assistance (Wake Forest, Villanova, College of William and Mary).

 

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Hi all,

I was hoping to hear some thoughts on my GPA. I was a double major in biology and psychology. Because of the bio major my GPA is lower than I would have liked (sitting right above a 3.5). I did well in organic chemistry but generally not so well in biology and awful in physics (a C). My in-major GPA for psychology is a 3.78 but none of the applications I have begun to fill out request this information. I took the GRE last month and got 162 V (90%), 164 Q (87%), 6.0 AW (99%). Do you think my GRE score will make up for what is lacking in my GPA? I am not applying for clinical programs, by the way (mostly social and ed psych PhD programs) 

Also, I don't have very much research experience. I worked for 3 years in a biology lab in undergrad before realizing I wanted to go to grad school for psych. So I worked 1 semester in a cognitive psychology lab, graduated this past june, and now am working in a developmental psych lab. I have no presentations, no posters, no publications. Will I be terribly disadvantaged throughout the application process because of my lack of relevant research experience/pubs? 

Edited by 01848p

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5 hours ago, 01848p said:

Hi all,

I was hoping to hear some thoughts on my GPA. I was a double major in biology and psychology. Because of the bio major my GPA is lower than I would have liked (sitting right above a 3.5). I did well in organic chemistry but generally not so well in biology and awful in physics (a C). My in-major GPA for psychology is a 3.78 but none of the applications I have begun to fill out request this information. I took the GRE last month and got 162 V (90%), 164 Q (87%), 6.0 AW (99%). Do you think my GRE score will make up for what is lacking in my GPA? I am not applying for clinical programs, by the way (mostly social and ed psych PhD programs) 

Also, I don't have very much research experience. I worked for 3 years in a biology lab in undergrad before realizing I wanted to go to grad school for psych. So I worked 1 semester in a cognitive psychology lab, graduated this past june, and now am working in a developmental psych lab. I have no presentations, no posters, no publications. Will I be terribly disadvantaged throughout the application process because of my lack of relevant research experience/pubs? 

I don't think your GPA will be a problem, given your stellar GRE scores. I think you are a competitive candidate, but what could break your neck is the lack of research experience, but it also depends a lot on the school and faculty you're applying to. Overall, I do think you should definitely give it a shot!

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10 hours ago, 01848p said:

Hi all,

I was hoping to hear some thoughts on my GPA. I was a double major in biology and psychology. Because of the bio major my GPA is lower than I would have liked (sitting right above a 3.5). I did well in organic chemistry but generally not so well in biology and awful in physics (a C). My in-major GPA for psychology is a 3.78 but none of the applications I have begun to fill out request this information. I took the GRE last month and got 162 V (90%), 164 Q (87%), 6.0 AW (99%). Do you think my GRE score will make up for what is lacking in my GPA? I am not applying for clinical programs, by the way (mostly social and ed psych PhD programs) 

Also, I don't have very much research experience. I worked for 3 years in a biology lab in undergrad before realizing I wanted to go to grad school for psych. So I worked 1 semester in a cognitive psychology lab, graduated this past june, and now am working in a developmental psych lab. I have no presentations, no posters, no publications. Will I be terribly disadvantaged throughout the application process because of my lack of relevant research experience/pubs? 

I wouldn't worry about your GPA, and your GRE scores are very good. I also realized towards the end of my degree which kind of psych I wanted to go into (I moved from life sci/bio in first year, to cognitive psych, and now I'm in I/O psych in grad school), so it happens to people and you shouldn't worry!

People would probably be most concerned about accepting you into a new field. However, it can still work. Especially for educational/school psych, because it's not at too many schools (just like I/O psych!), so it's okay if you don't have exposure to it.

As well, people in I/O didn't have a huge problem with my cognitive background. I think your developmental psych background would help for educational psych for sure, so you should be good!

Best of luck!

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21 hours ago, 01848p said:

Hi all,

I was hoping to hear some thoughts on my GPA. I was a double major in biology and psychology. Because of the bio major my GPA is lower than I would have liked (sitting right above a 3.5). I did well in organic chemistry but generally not so well in biology and awful in physics (a C). My in-major GPA for psychology is a 3.78 but none of the applications I have begun to fill out request this information. I took the GRE last month and got 162 V (90%), 164 Q (87%), 6.0 AW (99%). Do you think my GRE score will make up for what is lacking in my GPA? I am not applying for clinical programs, by the way (mostly social and ed psych PhD programs) 

Also, I don't have very much research experience. I worked for 3 years in a biology lab in undergrad before realizing I wanted to go to grad school for psych. So I worked 1 semester in a cognitive psychology lab, graduated this past june, and now am working in a developmental psych lab. I have no presentations, no posters, no publications. Will I be terribly disadvantaged throughout the application process because of my lack of relevant research experience/pubs? 

I had a similar background to you. Bio/psych double major with so-so GPA (just over 3.7) but high GREs (170V/168Q). I was really worried about my GPA as well, to the point that this kept me from applying straight out of undergrad. I suspect that my GRE scores probably helped compensate for my GPA, but of course I can't say for sure. In the end research experience and letters of recommendation are probably the two most important admissions factors, so if these are strong then GPA is less of a factor. You actually have a lot of research experience given that you worked in a bio lab for 3 years, so I think you should be pretty competitive. I would definitely recommend applying and if you don't get in now you should have a good chance next year with more psych research under your belt.

Edited by St0chastic

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On 11/6/2016 at 9:18 AM, St0chastic said:

I would strongly recommend NOT going into debt for a Master's (unless it's for a professional degree like speech language pathology). You are better off finding a research position as a lab manager or RA. I know that some programs do offer some financial assistance (Wake Forest, Villanova, College of William and Mary).

Curious to hear and everyone's opinion for entering debt for a Ed.S. in School Psych. This isn't my situation, I partly expect funding, but it's good to know in case it's either debt or no grad school 

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13 hours ago, Necrovex said:

Curious to hear and everyone's opinion for entering debt for a Ed.S. in School Psych. This isn't my situation, I partly expect funding, but it's good to know in case it's either debt or no grad school 

It depends on how much debt one already has and one can take. Tuitions vary a lot from program to program. But when school psychologists are in demand in most states, an Ed.S is not a bad investment option.

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3 hours ago, transfatfree said:

It depends on how much debt one already has and one can take. Tuitions vary a lot from program to program. But when school psychologists are in demand in most states, an Ed.S is not a bad investment option.

Thankfully I'm staying within the Florida public school system to get my degree, which is significantly cheaper than the northern universities. So one of my more expensive schools' tution would be 18K for the three years, without any funding. Appreciate the tip.

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Me: Senior undergraduate, General Psychology

Major: Clinical Psychology (Intend to research and teach) 

Overall/Major GPA, 3.038/3.51. 

GRE: 156V, 146Q, 4.5. (Taken twice due to documented test anxiety) 

Experience: 8 years as a medic in the US Army; two research labs (PTSD, Psychotherapy) plus additional teaching outcomes research under a third professor; Teaching Assistant for Intro to Psychology (teaching break out groups to 100 students per week as an undergraduate); national spokesperson and public speaker advocating for trained service dogs for veterans with PTSD; Vice-President of the Student Veterans Organization for the University of Memphis; internship through the Veterans Resource Center (organized new student orientation briefing for student veterans as well as a mentorship program); presenting for a teaching colloquium in January to faculty, poster presentation at NCUR in 2017.

Because of my grades/GRE scores, I'm not holding my breath about getting straight into the PhD program, but I am hoping the experience/activities may help.  Unfortunately I am geographically unable to relocate and I can't imagine there is an online MA program that would afford me the opportunity to teach and research lol. So, I've applied to the Clinical PhD program, and will likely apply to the MSGP program if I don't get accepted to the PhD.

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8 hours ago, byn said:

I think your background as a veteran is a strong plus for your application. Did you elaborate on your experiences as a combat medic in your SOP? Also, how do you feel about your rec letters- Did you feel they were strong? For the exception of your low Quant and just above cut-off general GPA, I think your application background and package is very, very impressive- I know from experience that advisors are welcoming of veterans pursuing higher education, as they bring a whole different perspective to the field of trauma/PTSD. Lastly- did you reach out to your POI(s?) before your submitted application(s)?

 

I did elaborate in my SOP somewhat. My LOR were sent directly, so I haven't seen them unfortunately though I'm sure at least 2 of the 3 if not all three were strong. I did reach out to both my POI's. I work in one of my POI's lab (and working with her on a PTSD study as the PI, hopefully submitting to IRB very soon), the other happens to be the department chair but we've had several conversations about mutual research interests (behavior medicine, mindfulness, non pharmaceutical therapies for chronic pain, etc.). 

Thank you for the boost of confidence. Seems each time I go to the website to look at past admits to the program, my confidence drops a bit lol 

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21 hours ago, byn said:

That sounds great. Working directly with your POI is always a plus- They have your work ethic as a student to go off of in addition to the application, so if you feel she genuinely expressed interest in serving as your mentor, then you already have your application at the top of the pile. 

And I'd tell you to not compare your background to the program (Even though I do this 24/7 as well, can't help myself ugh)- because you have an untraditional background and first hand experience with combat/population of interest.. I doubt other applicants are bringing that to the table. That should speak for itself.. Even if you don't get in this application round (perhaps because of the GRE scores), you already have established rapport with her and can get specific feedback about how to make yourself even more competitive in the next 10 months! :) 

Oooh, good point about her expressing interest in being my mentor. I hadn't thought of that! 

 

Not sure I would have an additional 10 months though. I have financial coverage of undergrad through the beginning of August. After that, if Im not in grad school I will likely have to find a job. With any luck I could find one on campus so that I could still have my face around and perhaps volunteer in a lab or two, but I'm hoping it won't come to that lol

BTW, thank you for being so supportive! You're quite a blessing!

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This is sort of where I'm at. I only applied to 2 schools but I don't understand why this is such a difficult thing when it's what you want and have worked hard for it. I've been told to apply to not so prestigious schools. How do you find them? I think I may have found a few but seriously I really just can't have more debt and I want to research. Phd is kind of a must really. I need funding. Ugh. 

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On 9/19/2016 at 7:36 AM, clinpsyhopeful said:

Hi everyone! 

I'm a first time poster and would really appreciate any advice or guidance I could receive. I've been having a really difficult time deciding what I should do and I'm hoping someone here can help me out! 

I will be applying to Canadian clinical psychology programs this Fall and I originally felt prepared to do so. I took a gap year to gain more experience and take more time for the GRE, but the GRE hasn't been too kind to me. This is what I'll have going into application period:

1. 5 years of research experience (currently working as a lab manager at a university and as a research associate in a hospital (~1 1/2 years) and a research assistant in 3 labs during undergrad for 3 years)

2. I have clinical experience working with a young woman with Autism and OCD, at a mental health hospital teaching drama to those with affective disorders and schizophrenia, and various peer support groups in sexual health. 

3. 5 conference presentations, a manuscript in preparation (hopefully submitted for review by the time applications go out), and a publication in an undergrad peer review journal.

4. 3 great references from my current employers/professors

5. cGPA of 3.64 but my last two years came to a 3.89. 

6. Then the bad news: 147 Q, 155 V, 5.0 AWA on the GRE + 88th percentile on the psych GRE

I cannot for the life of me excel at this GRE. Math has always been a challenge for me since I was in highschool and so I'm finding no matter how much time or money I invest in this thing, I'm not improving. I understand that GRE's aren't everything and I should spend more time on other parts of my application...but with scores so low (and likely to be around the same at my retake), should I bother applying this application round? One potential supervisor told me everything about my CV and transcripts are great, but if I don't score at least in the 60th percentile for quant, I won't be considered. Is there any point in spending almost $1000 on applications if I won't even get in? Should I just apply to programs that don't need the GRE (even if they aren't what I truly what?) or wait another year to study for the GRE? 

I rescheduled my test for October 13th, but I think I need to push it back again. I'm not prepared and I can barely finish the questions under the required time since math just completely perplexes me. I've been using Magoosh and ETS materials, but I just can't wrap my head around these math problems. Does anyone recommend Princeton Reviews online course? 

I'm at a loss for words. I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed. I just don't want to push back my career any further and take more time, but I also don't want to apply to 15 programs and not get in anywhere. 

Thanks for your help :) 

 

This is me now. I am debating how much more frustration and energy to keep using. I am tired. I know I want to get a Phd but I feel the process is antiquated. Why can't I just find the right place and program. 

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On 10/31/2016 at 7:02 AM, Plasticity said:

 I would definitely NOT discuss your disability in your statement, 9/10 times it is an instant turn off. Also, knowing a few people in BC's program, is not overly competitive so given your stats I would definitely say you are competitive there. 

Thanks for the insight there. You hear one thing then something else. I just want the dos and don't at this point. My lord,

applying for a Phd should not be this antiquated. 

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9 hours ago, Sneidinger said:

Thanks for the insight there. You hear one thing then something else. I just want the dos and don't at this point. My lord,

applying for a Phd should not be this antiquated. 

I have a learning disability, which explains my low grades in the beginning of my academic career, but I did not mention it in my personal statement at all. Instead I had a LOR mention it and only addressed it in interviews if a POI asked about my grades. That way your personal statement and interview allows them to focus on your strengths. Also, it helps when your former professor writes the LOR stating the disability because it shows a professional in the field thinks that this is not a deterrent to your success and they have plenty of years of experience writing with a positive spin.

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I would actually argue that BC's program is pretty competitive. Their profs are also known for being ridiculously nitpicky for completely random reasons. But that's all hearsay from several BC master's students I know.

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