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Social Psychology Fall 2017 Applicants

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2 minutes ago, milkymamahdf said:

@_intrigue_These are the factors that matter most to me.

K. It's important that you will be able to work on things you're interested in. Would you be able to do that with A? Is there anyone else you could see yourself working with at A? I think it's important to always have that option, you never know what could happen.

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@milkymamahdf I don't totally feel comfortable giving input, because there are so many factors that I could never be aware of in your life. But I really want to help, so apparently I'm giving input now. It seems that you are very research-focused, based on the factors that you listed as important. So i would think about where you are going to do YOUR best research. Addressing the PI at B, I don't personally find the gap to be that suspicious. Things happen. (I had a major family tragedy last May, followed by another in August, and my life is still a bit derailed.) There might be a very good explanation (e.g. didn't take grad students for a year of two, or maybe was running a very complicated study, tragedy struck, IRB approval lapsed during personal time off and it took a while to get reapproved, possibly had to re-do first stage of study because too much time had passed, and then publishing is a lengthy ordeal.) 2010-2012 is also a fair bit ago. Is the PI at B still underpublishing in the past couple years compared to the PI at A?  If not, or if it's only a small difference, I wouldn't personally give publishing as much weight as other factors. Another thing that's important to consider is how self-sufficient you are? Do you need especially supportive faculty I with very specific knowledge and interest in your research to mentor you? Or are you more confident in your personal skill level? If you feel you are going to want more support, a supportive professor could make a world of difference. If you are more self-sufficient, than the level of support may not be as big of a factor in your decision. Not much help, probably. But I figured I'd chime in. 

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@_intrigue_ So the other person at School A that I could collaborate with is an expert in health psychology and her lab has a lot of physio- data, which I know very little about. I think these are still very interesting and important, and I'd be happy to learn. I don't mind starting from scratch regarding that, but this means that I have to change what i was originally interested in, and I don't know if that's gonna to work out for me. It just hesitant to take that risk at this point if that makes sense to you.

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Hi, I have a question I've been stressing over that I'd like some more input on:

Is it worth sacrificing a personally satisfying research environment for a degree from a top 5 school? 

'Personally satisfying' meaning the program is very interdisciplinary, the students are very social justice-oriented, and the work is very applied in nature. The point is to get the findings to the people. The goal is to make real change, inform policy, and improve people's lives.

But I'd like to be on TT at an R1 university after grad school and I'm hearing that if that's the way I want to go it's of utmost importance that I go to a well-ranked school. Even if I'm not able to secure a job straight out of grad school and do have to do a post-doc, I will likely only have to be a post-doc for 1-2 years as opposed to 4-6, because prestige matters. And afterwards, I could turn my work in a more applied direction. I'd appreciate well-informed answers. Thanks all :)

Edited by 01848p

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@SocCog Thanks for your responses. They are definitely helpful! It seems that people don't really think that that gap is a big deal. My current advisor made the same comment. I might've overrated to that. So, the PI at school A has been publishing in the past few years, but not as many as the PI at school B. I don't think I'm that independent at this point, especially in the writing process. I wish to talk to the PI at school B one more time so that I get a better sense of her personality/style.

Edited by milkymamahdf

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@01848p

Your current situation is similar to my postdoc's when she applied to grad school. There are other factors to consider, of course. So she was choosing between Rutgers (super supportive PI and amazing funding package; they really wanted her then) and NYU (higher ranked, but she was waitlisted in the first place. Not very supportive PIs and they told her that they chose her because the student they wanted went to another school). She ended up attending NYU but she regretted it a lot in the past few years. It was so hard for her to survive that 6 years. Even that, she wouldn't draw the conclusion that she'd be in a better shape if she went to Rutgers, who knows. But when I applied, she told me that happiness and advisor-advisee relationship matter significantly. Hope this helps! 

Edited by milkymamahdf

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3 hours ago, 01848p said:

Hi, I have a question I've been stressing over that I'd like some more input on:

Is it worth sacrificing a personally satisfying research environment for a degree from a top 5 school? 

'Personally satisfying' meaning the program is very interdisciplinary, the students are very social justice-oriented, and the work is very applied in nature. The point is to get the findings to the people. The goal is to make real change, inform policy, and improve people's lives.

But I'd like to be on TT at an R1 university after grad school and I'm hearing that if that's the way I want to go it's of utmost importance that I go to a well-ranked school. Even if I'm not able to secure a job straight out of grad school and do have to do a post-doc, I will likely only have to be a post-doc for 1-2 years as opposed to 4-6, because prestige matters. And afterwards, I could turn my work in a more applied direction. I'd appreciate well-informed answers. Thanks all :)

It depends how much worse that other school is ranked. I had to ask myself which program would be most likely to get me a good post-doc after graduation, and this includes a lot of factors. Which school you can be most productive at (remember, if you are exceedingly stressed and have no social support at your program, that will put a dent in your productivity). Also your personality fit with your primary/secondary advisors plays a role, even though ideally personality fit should not be too big a deal. For me a major factor was that I had a lot more collaboration opportunity at one program (both with graduate students and other faculty), so I felt that would help my productivity.

But yeah ranking matters. I'm like...already mildly shitting myself over the fact that I chose to go to a rank 15-20 program over a rank 1-5 program, but I don't think it's an impossible hill to climb, just very difficult. I think I would have gone with the rank 1-5 program had my second choice been a rank 20-25 program, and I think I would've DEFINITELY gone with the rank 1-5 program had my second choice been rank 25-30.

...cool. I'm realizing that the pride of having gotten into an amazing program has officially worn off now that I'm worrying about not getting a good post-doc.

Edited by almondicecream

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3 hours ago, 01848p said:

Hi, I have a question I've been stressing over that I'd like some more input on:

Is it worth sacrificing a personally satisfying research environment for a degree from a top 5 school? 

'Personally satisfying' meaning the program is very interdisciplinary, the students are very social justice-oriented, and the work is very applied in nature. The point is to get the findings to the people. The goal is to make real change, inform policy, and improve people's lives.

But I'd like to be on TT at an R1 university after grad school and I'm hearing that if that's the way I want to go it's of utmost importance that I go to a well-ranked school. Even if I'm not able to secure a job straight out of grad school and do have to do a post-doc, I will likely only have to be a post-doc for 1-2 years as opposed to 4-6, because prestige matters. And afterwards, I could turn my work in a more applied direction. I'd appreciate well-informed answers. Thanks all :)

My mentor has told me probably a trillion times that going to grad school isn't always about doing the research you want to do. You should find it interesting (enough to work on it for 5-7 years) but it doesn't have to be your lifelong passion. You should go where you will get the best training to do the research you want to do, even if the topic isn't your jam. At the same time you should be somewhere doing research that you care enough about to get as much work done as you can. If you're somewhere you don't love the work or the environment, you'll likely be less productive. Not to mention you will enjoy your time less. This is basically committing to a job for 5-7 years and you should choose the job that you will like the most, be the most productive at, and will give you the tools you need to succeed. 

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Okay, from all these conversations that I've read and from the fact that nothing worked out for me this year, I have come to this conclusion: I haven't spent enough time looking at and researching the U.S universities  and I think I am still mostly clueless about which are the good (not necessarily famous) schools for social psychology.  Being an international student, I had and will probably still have a really hard time figuring this out. When you guys talk about 'top ranked', 'top 5', etc., what is your source? If it really depends on my specific research interest, then it's mostly moral psychology (but it could be extended to behavioral economics-->cooperation, moral decision making, altruism, prosociality and cognitive aspects of moral judgment).

I'm also open to suggestions of Canadian or European universities.

I obviously know the 'famous and always on the news' ones like Yale, Harvard (places I won't even bother applying to) and NYU.  Are any of you aware of any other, 'less obvious' schools? 

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University of Michigan is at perhaps to international a less known one, but historically they're probably one (if not the best) in social psychology. You obviously have the classic listing of Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, U of Michigan and NYU for social psychology.

University of Illinois—Urbana Campaign have a strong program (although they are most known for their personality researchers) and University of Texas - Austin is also well-regarded. Off the top of my head other universities Ohio State University is always considered very good for social psychology (although mostly for work related to attitudes). University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill has a couple of really interesting/good researchers (Kurt Gray/Keith Payne).

In general, I sort of combined official rankings (such as US News), Nosek's 2010 paper (http://people.virginia.edu/~rsf4ah/papers/NGLKHHSMJFT2010.pdf), looking at what places people at various R1 universities had degrees from, and talking to professors I work with to create some idea of the "rank" of universities I applied.

What makes it hard is that sometimes the value of a university hinges on what they research, like say if you really like moral psychology, there are some universities that might not be considered top 5 in general (or in social psychology), that are considered really good in moral psychology. Like, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, to my knowledge if you're a moral psychologist trained by Kurt Gray, you're in a pretty solid place.

Edited by C is for Caps Locks

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On 3/11/2017 at 11:10 AM, canessa said:

So I need some advice.

I interviewed at UCSB back in the first week of February. The POI's told me that they were going to have an additional alternate interview weekend since so many applicants couldn't make it to the first one. After my interview, my POIs told me that they would be making final decisions only after they met with all of their applicants. The alternate interview day was last weekend (so an entire month after mine). I've been really antsy about knowing if I got in or not, it's driving me crazy! I've been waiting to hear back for an entire month while the people who just interviewed have only been waiting a couple days. I don't want to see impatient about knowing if I got in or not but the wait is totally killing me. Should I e-mail the POI asking if we should be hearing back soon? Or should I text my grad student host and ask her if she knows anything? Or should I just keep waiting it out? 

UPDATE (a not so active update though..): So I waited another week after this and texted my grad student host and she said that some but not all decisions went out. Okay. No big deal.

Another week passes by, someone on thegradcafe messaged me and says that the POI waitlisted them. Uhh, a little panic but still hopeful.

Three days later, I decide to send a follow up to the POI saying that I'm interested in the program and just wanted to follow up. Five days later, here I am with no reply. Gosh this is SO disheartening.. it's been nearly 2 MONTHS since my interview. At this point I assume the worst but I at least want to hear something.. it's awful just sitting in silence for so long. It's so strange too because I thought I really had a great interview and connection with the faculty. I was hoping for at least some sort of reply to my follow up even if it didn't answer my question like "hey decisions will be out soon." Or "I've been busy! Will get back to you." 

I just hate that I'm still clinging on to some sort of hope when it seems so unlikely. :-( 

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@canessa I think you've done all that you possibly can to improve the situation (expressed deep interest in the program, that it's one of your top choices by far). I find that what calms me down is thinking about the fact that I've given it my absolute all, and that the rest is out of my control. It might make you feel a bit better if you start working toward finding a paid position for next year (if you don't already have a full-time position), so even if you don't have a position, you'll at least have made some progress toward improving your applications for next year.

Edited by almondicecream

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2 hours ago, canessa said:

UPDATE (a not so active update though..): So I waited another week after this and texted my grad student host and she said that some but not all decisions went out. Okay. No big deal.

Another week passes by, someone on thegradcafe messaged me and says that the POI waitlisted them. Uhh, a little panic but still hopeful.

Three days later, I decide to send a follow up to the POI saying that I'm interested in the program and just wanted to follow up. Five days later, here I am with no reply. Gosh this is SO disheartening.. it's been nearly 2 MONTHS since my interview. At this point I assume the worst but I at least want to hear something.. it's awful just sitting in silence for so long. It's so strange too because I thought I really had a great interview and connection with the faculty. I was hoping for at least some sort of reply to my follow up even if it didn't answer my question like "hey decisions will be out soon." Or "I've been busy! Will get back to you." 

I just hate that I'm still clinging on to some sort of hope when it seems so unlikely. :-( 

So I was wait listed at my top choice. Reached out to POI after being told I was first alternate on a wait list a few weeks prior because I had another, less desirable offer emerge and this university was putting some pressure on me for a decision. Three days after I sent this email  to POI at top choice, I received a reply that he wanted to discuss my application again. I have been offered admission since. Sometimes when all hope seems lost, it really isn't. I was so certain that I wan't getting in that I had told most my family and friends that I was going to the program that had first offered me admission. It ain't over til it's over.. and it isn't over for 3 more weeks really. Don't give up hope yet! 

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9 hours ago, almondicecream said:

@canessa I think you've done all that you possibly can to improve the situation (expressed deep interest in the program, that it's one of your top choices by far). I find that what calms me down is thinking about the fact that I've given it my absolute all, and that the rest is out of my control. It might make you feel a bit better if you start working toward finding a paid position for next year (if you don't already have a full-time position), so even if you don't have a position, you'll at least have made some progress toward improving your applications for next year.

I think you're right. At this point, I've done all that I can do. I've gotten into two other programs that are really good too! I just have this gut feeling about SB and it's a bit heartbreaking. I'm glad that you mentioned it though, it is a bit reassuring knowing that I've done everything I can.

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8 hours ago, MyDogHasAPhD said:

So I was wait listed at my top choice. Reached out to POI after being told I was first alternate on a wait list a few weeks prior because I had another, less desirable offer emerge and this university was putting some pressure on me for a decision. Three days after I sent this email  to POI at top choice, I received a reply that he wanted to discuss my application again. I have been offered admission since. Sometimes when all hope seems lost, it really isn't. I was so certain that I wan't getting in that I had told most my family and friends that I was going to the program that had first offered me admission. It ain't over til it's over.. and it isn't over for 3 more weeks really. Don't give up hope yet! 

I think that's the worst part, I've gained admission into two other programs and they're starting to put some pressure on me to decide. I feel really bad because I don't want to make someone on their waitlist have to be a sitting duck just because I'm waiting too. Plus, I feel like I'm kind of making the PI's at the schools I got accepted into sit around waiting in the dark because I haven't made a decision yet even though It's been over two months since I got in. I really don't want to do anything on bad terms but I don't want to make any official decisions until I hear back from SB. Thank you for reassuring me that there may be hope, it really does help!

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Quick question: is there a way of finding out what kind of placements graduates from a particular college have gone onto, if the school themselves doesn't publish it. Trying to decide between 2 choices and neither of them have it on their website...

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On 2017-3-23 at 8:21 PM, C is for Caps Locks said:

University of Michigan is at perhaps to international a less known one, but historically they're probably one (if not the best) in social psychology. You obviously have the classic listing of Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, U of Michigan and NYU for social psychology.

University of Illinois—Urbana Campaign have a strong program (although they are most known for their personality researchers) and University of Texas - Austin is also well-regarded. Off the top of my head other universities Ohio State University is always considered very good for social psychology (although mostly for work related to attitudes). University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill has a couple of really interesting/good researchers (Kurt Gray/Keith Payne).

In general, I sort of combined official rankings (such as US News), Nosek's 2010 paper (http://people.virginia.edu/~rsf4ah/papers/NGLKHHSMJFT2010.pdf), looking at what places people at various R1 universities had degrees from, and talking to professors I work with to create some idea of the "rank" of universities I applied.

What makes it hard is that sometimes the value of a university hinges on what they research, like say if you really like moral psychology, there are some universities that might not be considered top 5 in general (or in social psychology), that are considered really good in moral psychology. Like, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, to my knowledge if you're a moral psychologist trained by Kurt Gray, you're in a pretty solid place.

The paper you linked is really useful! Such interesting findings. Do you think the best schools for social psychology differ to the best schools for developmental psychology or are they about the same? My SO is applying for developmental psychology this fall.

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3 hours ago, despairtowhere said:

Quick question: is there a way of finding out what kind of placements graduates from a particular college have gone onto, if the school themselves doesn't publish it. Trying to decide between 2 choices and neither of them have it on their website...

I'd email your POI at each school and ask to set up a phone call to go over a few questions you have, and then ask them straight up about what kinds of positions grads of the program typically go on to fill. That's what I did and they were happy to share with me! 

Edited by 01848p

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On 3/27/2017 at 9:31 AM, despairtowhere said:

The paper you linked is really useful! Such interesting findings. Do you think the best schools for social psychology differ to the best schools for developmental psychology or are they about the same? My SO is applying for developmental psychology this fall.

I think there's definitely a difference between sub-fields regarding which universities are the "best" (which is why it's good to talk to people actively working and publishing in a sub-field), to what degree this difference is, I think is more of an open question.

However, I also think there's a pattern where if a university has the reputation and funding to attract good researchers in one area, they can probably do the same in many. For example, Yale/Harvard/Stanford/Princeton/University of Michigan are as far as I know considered very good in both psychology, sociology, and political science (and other areas as well of course).

Edited by C is for Caps Locks

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I received a rejection letter today from FSU, for those of you that were also waiting to hear!

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So, Indiana snail-mailed the rejection and Cornell finally emailed. But just now I got an offer of financial aid from WSU...even though I haven't been accepted and am 100% sure I'm not accepted because my POI isn't accepting grad students any more. Such a tease. 

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STILL can not get a response from the University of Mississippi.

What is this ?

Also- eagerly awaiting (sarcasm) my FSU rejection today.

 

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