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Hello!

So, I have been making myself crazy the past few days deciding which school to choose for my Master's. Here is the deal. I have narrowed it down to Appalachian State and Illinois State. Illinois State offered me a tuition remission and a small stipend (about $420 a month). Appalachian State offered me in-state tuition and a small stipend (about the same as ISU). I know, it seems obvious, but there are other factors. First, ISU is a Developmental Psychology program. My eventual goal is to go into Clinical Psychology, but I am interested in research that merges Developmental and Clinical. Most graduates go onto Social or Developmental PhD programs, but I imagine just having the degree is all that really matters. The program at ASU is an Experimental Program, but the mentor I was assigned to said that I would just need to work with a Clinical faculty like him. Second, I really prefer ASU's campus. I know I shouldn't care about this, but I just get a better feeling at ASU -- the library is amazing. It's shallow, I know. Illinois isn't a bad campus; it just doesn't feel as comfortable -- the library sort of sucks.

So, should I go for the funding or go for what feels better?

Thanks!

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What do you mean by this statement?   "The program at ASU is an Experimental Program, but the mentor I was assigned to said that I would just need to work with a Clinical faculty like him."

Are you saying that in order to become a clinical psychologist, you can do an experimental psychology program and as long as you have a clinical psychology mentor then you can become a clinical psychologist? If this is what you are saying, it is definitely not true! I'd suggest going on the website of the American Psychological Association or contacting them directly for confirmation. You will need to complete a range of clinical courses and get extensive training in order to become a clinical psychologist. It's really like doing 2 degrees at the same time, some say - a clinical degree and a research degree - and it's an extremely intensive program. If you do an experimental degree or a degree in developmental psychology this will not directly lead you to becoming a clinical psychologist. If you were in Canada, you would need to apply to a clinical program afterwards and complete what is called a "bridging program" (such as what University of Toronto offers) for people who have an experimental psychology Master's or PhD and are missing the clinical training. This program is even harder to get into than going the traditional route of a clinical master's/PhD route with a bachelor's degree. So I am curious to know if you applied to any clinical programs and simply did not get in and this is a back up plan or if this path was intentionally chosen by you? If it were me, I'd decline the offers and try again for a clinical program because your odds of getting in will be greater than doing it the other way. At least coming from a bachelor's program, you will be competing for one of 5-10 spots or so per school. But if you do it the other way and apply with a master's or PhD in an experimental program, you will usually be competing for one spot per school. (These are the numbers in Canada. There could be some slight differences in the numbers in the US, but generally the concept is the same). 

(For the record, I am not a "psych person" but my best friend went through the process of becoming a clinical psychologist so I am familiar with the process. It's a long journey - about 11-12 years including undergrad - so I don't know why someone would intentionally want to go about it in a round about way when they already know they want to become a clinical psychologist right out of undergrad).

Edited by thelionking
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Right. I actually applied to PhD programs last year, and I wasn't competitive enough due in part to lack of research experience. I actually got accepted into PsyD programs (La Salle and Marshall), but they are so expensive. I was hoping to do the master's to be more competitive in the next round of applications. I actually do have quite a bit of clinical work experience. I took 2 years off after getting my undergrad to work. Research experience and GRE scores are really what's getting me down.

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Based on your first post I couldn't tell how much research you'd put into the training/educational requirements, but clearly you know how it works. I'd personally focus on getting those GRE scores up and getting a full time research job to be a more competitive applicant for the clinical psych programs. Like I said, you be competing for one of 5-10 positions rather than one spot and from what I've heard from other clinical PhD students in Canada, it's even more competitive to get in under those circumstances. Hopefully some Americans in a clinical program can offer you some country-specific insight into your situation. Good luck!

Edited by thelionking
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May I ask why you feel you need to go do a MA in psych if you ultimately want to get a PhD in Clinical Psych? Is it due to lack of research or low GPA? This was my first application cycle for counseling and clinical PhD programs in the US this season and received offers from both without a MA. If you want to PM and talk about your options, feel free to!

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  • 11 months later...
On 4/4/2017 at 10:12 AM, Billy_Pilgrim said:

Right. I actually applied to PhD programs last year, and I wasn't competitive enough due in part to lack of research experience. I actually got accepted into PsyD programs (La Salle and Marshall), but they are so expensive. I was hoping to do the master's to be more competitive in the next round of applications. I actually do have quite a bit of clinical work experience. I took 2 years off after getting my undergrad to work. Research experience and GRE scores are really what's getting me down.

Marshall is not “so expensive.” It’s one of the cheapest psyd programs out there and they offer half tuition waivers. Plus, fourth years get a very high stipend. 

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