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School Psychology Ph.D. chances + related questions!


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I don't mean to be a bother, but I've been set on going to school for my Ed.S. the past few years (I decided that I wanted to do school psych by my sophomore year). I recently had a conversation with my graduate mentor (a school psych Ph.D. student at my school) who put things into a different perspective and has me really thinking about if I should apply for some of these programs. I know that she and the others in my lab believe in me a lot, but I'm nervous about how I look to others in the field that don't know me or whether I'm qualified enough. 

  • My GPA is a 3.53 and I am in the Honors program, and my GRE scores were 159V, 148Q, 5.5W. It's a weak Q score, but I was in the 80% percentile for V and 98% for W, so I'm hoping those make up for it.
  • I've been a member of a research lab in my school's school psychology department for the past two years, entering my third, and have been very involved in such, having led large projects and managed teams of current school psychology grad students.
  • I will have my name on one publication and four poster presentations, all in the field of school psychology, at the time of application. Three of those posters have been or will be presented at the NASP annual convention and the other was a presentation I did on my work at my school's undergraduate research symposium.
  • I am currently applying for a research travel grant to actually go to the NASP convention and present with two of the posters I have authorship on, which would be on the application should I receive it.
  • Two of my letters of recommendation will be from school psychology faculty (a third likely from one of my regular psych professors) and one will be glowing, as it's from my lab director who I've worked closely with.
  • I also participate in a social skills program in a kindergarten class and visit a local high school twice a week to work in an ESOL classroom, as well as having run a SAT prep and college readiness class for low-income students.
  • I'm proficient with research-based technologies like Qualtrics and SPSS, have some extracurriculars listed, including a position in a club based around mental health awareness and visibility, and am certified in Mental Health First Aid (though I'm not sure that means much). I also work ~20 hours at an unrelated job to help support myself. 

Do I have a shot at a Ph.D. position? I think I'm fairly competitive in the Ed.S. sphere and that this is a late time in the game, considering I have some apps due December 1st, to be considering this change, but I'm currently thinking of applying for a mixture of programs. A few other related questions:

It's not possible to apply for the Ed.S. and Ph.D. at the same school right? I have a certain school that I really want to get into for multiple reasons, but I'm afraid if I take a chance and apply for the Ph.D. (they only take two or so students a year for this) and don't get in, I'll be stuck in a hard situation. 

I know funding is better for Ph.D. students, but is it really that bad for Ed.S? I've heard about schools like Lehigh that are better about funding Ed.S., but have had a hard time kind of getting an idea of what to generally expect. Would I take on even more debt for going for a Ph.D. than I would an Ed.S, or would funding balance that out? 

Sorry, I did post this in the school psychology general thread, but I'm just really nervous! I can't afford to mess up or wait another year to try again. Thank you so much for any help or advice!!

Edited by maester
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I think you make quite a competitive applicant for PhD programs with your research experience making up for your quant score. If you find programs that you're interested in, you should definitely apply to them.

Some programs consider PhD applications for EdS admissions if they can't offer them a place in their PhD programs. You should check with their director of admissions and see whether they do that.

Funding is in general better for PhD students, but funding for EdS students varies a lot from school to school. A good starting point is NASP's database on program information even though it's not always accurate/clear when it comes to the funding part. Many PhD programs guarantee funding only for the first year, which means you save at least 3x credits. Credit requirements for PhD programs range from 9x to 11x credits, so how much debt you will get into depending on whether you will receive more funding in subsequent years, how many credits you need to take, where you live etc. My advice will be to apply to a variety of programs and ask them about funding on the interview day. You can then weigh your options when you're offer admissions.

With your credentials, if you do reasonably well at interviews, I'm sure you'll end up somewhere. Just apply first and get ready for the interviews later. 

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  • 1 month later...

@transfatfree Thank you so, so much!! I genuinely appreciate this and this is so helpful! I've found a lot of PhD programs that I'm falling in love with and I'll definitely check with some of them, like University of Delaware, to see whether they offer anything like that. I'll also definitely refer to NASP's database!

Thank you so much again for this reassurance and the answers! There are a few NASP-approved programs I'm looking at that aren't APA-accredited, so I'm trying to weigh the costs and benefits of that currently. I'm really grateful to be able to come here for support :)

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