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Psychology Undergrad looking to get into Clinical Psychology. What do I need to make this dream a reality?

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Hey everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. Thanks in advance! I have a few inquiries in regards to getting accepted into a clinical psychology program, specifically in Ontario, Canada. First, I think it would be a good idea to start off by describing what I have to offer to a Clinical Psychology program. I have a decent CGPA of 3.63/4 ( recent graduate from University of Toronto; 4.0 in all psych courses). Currently, I am working for respite care company building some experience in the field and paying back some my OSAP loan. However, I do not have any direct research , lab experience, or any notable references (I can probably obtain these with some ease). I am living at home and working a full-time and part-time job in order to pay back my huge loan, and it is a source of significant worry. The problem is there is no university near my home where I can gather some research experience, which I know is critical to admission to a clinical psychology program. Honestly, I don't know whether I will be able to live on my home with the cost of my loan each month and the uncertainty of finding at job at all. I'm looking for a realistic run down on what I need to be accepted at an Ontario Clinical Psychology. Please note: I have read the relevant university websites, but I am looking for an open and honest response for this question. Furthermore, if anyone can direct me to useful GRE resources, please link them or list them there. 

 

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Honestly, you should try to get some research experience. You will be competing against people who have years of experience in the specific fields they want to go in. Do you have to stay near your home? The NIH has a really exceptional postbac research program that is paid for 1-2 years where you could get research experience while paying off loans. As far as GRE goes, Magoosh is a great and relatively inexpensive resource that helped me reach my GRE score goals, but really getting research experience needs to be your #1 priority if you want to get into a Ph.D. program. It may be somewhat less important for a more clinically-oriented program or a PsyD, but I'm not sure since I'm only applying to research-oriented programs. Either way, good scores are not really going to make up for a lack of experience because everyone applying to Clinical Psych programs has good GREs and GPAs. If anything, good experience will sooner make up for slightly weaker numbers. I hope that helps. PM me if you have any more questions. 

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Honestly, research experience is critical for getting accepted to a clinical psychology program. Most applicants will have several years of experience with conference presentations and even publications. Potential supervisors want to see that you know how to conduct research and what it entails. You will also need clearly defined research interests and ideas when you apply, which will be very difficult without experience. 

I totally understand the financial concerns. Is there any way you could look for paid research assistant positions in other cities? Hospitals often have clinical research positions as well, if there are any major hospitals in your area. Also, if you have good relationships with any of your undergrad professors, you might be able to ask if they have any projects you could help with from a distance. 

Finally, don't restrict yourself to Ontario schools unless you absolutely have to stay in-province. Ontario programs are some of the most competitive in the country, especially in Toronto. There are many solid programs in other provinces that receive fewer applications and are worth looking at. 

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