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How to get research experience


Jung&Psyched

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Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on gaining research experience. I am hoping to apply to MA/MS Programs in Counseling Psychology (I've got my eye on UK and Southern Illinois for my top choices) for Fall 2019, with the end goal of eventually getting my PhD. My undergraduate GPA was pretty terrible, but my GRE scores are solid, I am re-taking the two psych courses I did poorly in, and by the time I apply I will have four years experience working as a Mental Health Case Manager. I'm hoping I can get accepted going the masters route and show I am capable of good grades and go from there. So my question is, even for masters programs most say research experience really strengthens your application....where should I look to find research experience ?  I did two research based courses in undergrad, and in one I worked with a team to create and run an experiment and presented for Psi Chi...but that's the extent of my research and that was almost five years ago.  I've tried applying to some part-time research positions at the local university, but they are limited and I have had no luck getting interviews.  Any ideas of where else to look? Will universities take on volunteer research assistants ? What have other people's experiences been with admissions to MA/MS programs (do they look a lot at research, are they generally competitive, will a good GRE help to balance out a poor GPA?)?

 

Thanks all!

Edited by liznlex
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  • 1 month later...
On 3/26/2017 at 8:09 PM, liznlex said:

Will universities take on volunteer research assistants ?

Yes! Totally. In my previous position as a research coordinator at a medical school we had volunteers who helped run participants, met with PIs, cleaned and managed data-- a lot of really good research experience. One of them even made connections while volunteering and turned that into a research job. In my current research group (I'm in a clin psy phd, 1st year) we have volunteer RAs who basically do the exact thing undergrad RAs do. Unless there are some big red flags as to why you shouldn't be doing the work, most places won't turn down free labor! 

If there is a hospital or med school in your area you could consider continually applying to research assistant or research coordinator positions. It might seem like a long shot but I got hired with minimal relevent experience!

Good luck to you.

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The university I work at can't take volunteers for legal/university policy reasons. However in that case you could try working part time in multiple labs to get more experience (part time RAs are much cheaper for the PIs)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for your replies! I I will be contacting local universities this week to see if there are any volunteer RA positions available! I've applied to part-time paid RA positions, but they are so competitive here that I haven't even been able to get an interview :(.

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