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Crushed by clinical psychology

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Cortex613, 03.01.12.

  1. Cortex613

    Cortex613

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Just reaching out there to some of you.

    This is the first year I've applied. I applied to 15 schools and received 2 interviews. Yesterday I received an email stating that I am no longer being considered for one of the programs I interviewed at because they extended an offer to someone else. And now, I sit and wait for a decision from the other program (but I think it is a no because there are some people who have received email acceptances this morning).

    I can not begin to describe how deeply crushed I am with this whole process. I believe this is affecting me a little more because I am >30, married, and just know what I want (and can't have it..ugh!). How long does one continue to apply? What would you do now? Would really appreciate any advice...
  2. Psych12345

    Psych12345

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    What do you want?... Ultimately, from a career that is?
  3. Cortex613

    Cortex613

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    I wanted to be close to the medical community. Working in a research / clinical capacity, leading research studies, seeing patients, etc.
  4. Psych12345

    Psych12345

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    I don't think I'm experienced in the field or old enough to appropriately advise you. I'm a first year applicant myself, young 20s, but I can give you my inexperienced, genuine opinion based on my personal reflection.

    Things haven't gone particularly well for me this time around, either. Even before the chances for acceptance this year for me started looking grim, though, I started thinking about what I really wanted out of a career. I decided that I wanted to push myself, to lose time often, and to feel better rather than worse for this (losing time). I decided that while I have a strong inclination that clinical practice can do this for me, I've also got a strong inclination that the research component might be quite the opposite. For me, research imparts the type of "losing-time" that winds up feeling more exhausting to me, rather than fulfilling. While I applied to doctorate programs, I got a few offers at Master's programs and having come to this conclusion, I am highly considering taking this offer, given I have some chance at earning an assistantship/scholarship.

    Anyway, my advice for you is, if you find yourself truly believing that everything a PhD can offer you would be fulfilling, and would lead you to ultimately feeling successful, I'd personally pursue it again as long as it is a financially viable option. Competition's rough, but there is still a lot of opportunity. I've seen (and I'm sure you have to) people post on these forums who have gone through several years of applications, who are much older than 30, etc. etc.

    Bare in mind again, who this is coming from, of course.
  5. napsych8771

    napsych8771

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    I don't think its rare at all to apply multiple times. If you are sure the PhD is what you want/need for your career goals, then stick with it, even through the crushing lows. If you aren't sure of that, then its probably best to do some research into other programs/paths to your career, before re-applying.
  6. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    +1. I don't know if the majority of individuals apply more than once, but I'd be very confident in saying that it's a sizable minority.

    If you haven't already done so, you can post up your stats in the WAMC (What Are My Chances) thread that's stickied to the top of this forum to get feedback on areas in your application that you might work to improve between this and the next application cycles.

    With your interest in seeing patients, a licensable degree is going to be a must. And with your simultaneous interest in research leadership, a doctoral degree makes sense. If you're sure this is what you want to do, at the least, I say give it another shot next year if things don't go your way this time around.
  7. jimmoriarty

    jimmoriarty

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    Do you think many people don't apply more than once? Is this because people get in on their first try or that if they don't get in the first time they just move onto something else? Most people here I see have applied more than once.... Or so it seems.
  8. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    For what it's worth, I applied once straight out of undergrad and got in on the first try. I think this is trickier to do (especially if you go for research-oriented programs like I did). I think the only reason I got in on the first shot was that I knew I wanted to go to grad school when I got to college, and I hit the ground running getting research experience, so that I had 4 years plus an independent project and pub in submission by the time I applied. From what I've seen, this isn't typical and people often need to spend 1 or 2 years post-college gaining enough experience.
  9. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    I think there's a healthy chunk of people (not a majority, but again, a decently-sizable minority) who major in psychology in undergrad without really giving much thought to what they'd like to do with the degree afterward, other than maybe vague thoughts of "helping people" or "doing therapy." Once they get close to graduation, they realize there really isn't much you can do with a a bachelor's in psych, so they figure, "eh, I'll apply to grad school, seems like the next logical step; how hard could it be, anyway?" I'd be surprised if many of this group applied more than once.

    And then there's likely another group that applies once, doesn't get into a doctoral program, but does secure a master's admission. After finishing that training, they either realize it allows them to do everything they'd wanted to do in the first place, or they go off in a completely different direction. Either way, they don't end up applying a second time, either.

    As for the posters here, keep in mind we're likely not the most representative sample of all psych grad students. Drawing generalizations from us, even to a sample as seemingly small and unique as psych grad students and grad students to be, may not be entirely accurate.
  10. TwinB13

    TwinB13

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    I think you should reapply. Email those professors that you applied to work with or if it was a PsyD program email the DCT and ask for advice about ways to improve your application.

    Look critically at your application about things that can be improved. Do you need more research?, get it. Do you need a class to brush up knowledge?, take it. Do you need to improve GRE scores?, take a prep course/study and retake it.
    Take a hard look at where you are applying - is it the ultimate best match for you as far as interests and goals?

    Also look at what your stengths are and SELL those. Maturity, Stability in relationship, financial support from a partner, experience in the field, perspective about what you really want and what it means to have a career....

    Honestly, many of the psychologists I know applied more than one year. Programs really are competitive 400 applicants for 5-7spots. A lot of good applicants get turned away. If you are in your 30s you still have 30 years in a career at least. You are still young!!!

    I wish you the best!
  11. jimmoriarty

    jimmoriarty

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    makes perfect sense! most people here are ridiculously dedicated and determined. I was just wondering because initially I thought you meant most people just..get in (therefore, obviously, don't apply a second time).

    its very true about psychology majors that never really think about what they are going to do after graduation or get their masters. Psychology is the biggest major in my school and I was told that I'm the only person graduating this semester that has gotten into a graduate program so far. Although our department more than lacks advising and support for students.
  12. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Let me tell you my story, maybe it will inspire you... maybe it won't.

    I was turning 40 years old the second year I applied to graduate programs. The first year I applied to 15 programs, attained 2 interviews, and was crushed. I was denied everywhere. This was despite a 4.0 UGPA, Research Experience, an undergraduate thesis, and stellar letters of recommendation... oh, and a 1300 GRE score.

    I did not give up, I started generating a game plan to insure that this did not happen again. I applied to 27 schools the second time around, I networked at SWPA and APA. I got input from programs that rejected me. I visited numerous programs and sought input before applying again. I was offered 14 interviews (I declined some schools before they offered interviews even), I went to 8 interviews and was accepted at 3 programs, including my number 1 pick which paid me a $70-90k per year stipend while attending school (talk about winning the lottery!) If this is something you really want... then you'll figure it out. You'll find a way to kick down the door (even if that means retaking the GRE, taking classes to make you more attractive, conducting research, etc).

    I wish you the best of luck, but I experienced the same thing you did. I was nearly stupid enough and desperate enough to attend a poorly ranked professional program and yet so glad I did not! Go lick your wounds and come back fighting. Be honest with yourself and appraise your situation objectively. It might be painful, but it pays big dividends.
  13. TwinB13

    TwinB13

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    Awesome and inspiring!
  14. jimmoriarty

    jimmoriarty

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    what did most programs say?! It seems like you had an amazing application to start with.
  15. emily621

    emily621 PhD Student

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    If you're serious about pursuing a career in clinical psychology, absolutely apply again. It just takes a change in mindset. The first year I applied, I didn't really know what I wanted to research, and yet the thought of not getting in ANYwhere didn't really cross my mind. Not because I thought I was so great by any means, but because I had no conception of how ridiculously competitive (and how much of a crapshoot) this process is. But once I got a grip and realized what I was dealing with, it was easier to just buckle down and work harder the next year.

    For me, it took a third year of applying (this year) to get a good number of interviews and offers. Now, I just accepted at my top choice program, the one that has been my first choice since I started this whole process 3 years ago. I never thought it'd actually happen and I figured that I'd have to settle for a program that was a good enough fit for me...but it did!

    So as long as you're able to successfully change the way you think about the process and realize that it's not necessarily a reflection on you, I think you should definitely apply again. Think critically about how you might improve your applications, do more research to be sure you're applying to programs that are a great fit with your research interests, and go for it!
    Last edited: 03.01.12
  16. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    One program had the audacity to attempt blow me off and tell me that it was likely that my GPA and GRE scores probably were not competitive enough. We had an interesting discussion following that when I pointed out that I was above their average GRE and you can't get higher than a 4.0, so how high was the required GPA? That same program was one of the one's that came back with the "You were not a good fit" answer that I received from a number of schools <- which left me scratching my head to figure out wtf that meant.

    Really the problem was my personal statement. It lacked the necessary impact to separate me from the rest of the great applicants.
  17. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    I think this happens with a lot of applicants re: the personal statement. Mind you, I'm not at all saying that people's personal statements aren't "good" overall. But something can definitely be well-written without necessarily being significantly attention-grabbing and memorable. Not giving enough time and effort to a personal statement no doubt ends up being one of the sole reasons some well-qualified applicants don't receive offers.

    Not to say this was the case for you, Markp, or anyone else here; just using your post to springboard into a generalization.

    Beyond that, given the sheer number of applications programs receive, some of the time it's just a crapshoot to a certain extent. But even then, there are definitely things you can do (as mentioned in this and the WAMC threads) to maximize your odds.
  18. NotTheHoff

    NotTheHoff On Internship

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    I definitely believe this. You may also need a little bit of luck with timing. Note that from year to year many professors will have different needs for their lab. Sometimes you can apply in a year where the person with whom you'd be most likely to work is not accepting students (full lab, going on sabbatical, whatever), which makes you appear to be a poorer fit for some programs. The next year, that same professor could have an opening in his/her lab, and suddenly you go from not looking like the best fit to being a potential asset.

    This is not always the case of course, but just remember that sometimes it's not as much that you were not made an offer as much as that you were not made an offer that year. Most committees have their general set of wants for an applicant, but these can change and swing slightly more in your favor the next year (it could be worse too of course... but let's stay positive for now :D).
  19. deadmau5

    deadmau5

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    Rejected 2 years in a row. Third year accepted to a non-clinical program on the basis that a clinical program will start soon (started sept. 2011). Clinical program starts recruiting next year at this school but curriculum still being developed for September 2013, etc. Probably will need an extra year or two to get all courses required plus get the practica/placements starting and in place. Practicas in this area have been selectively avoiding applicants from my school that want to get licensed.

    All I'm saying, it's been an ever-uphill battle for me. But this is what I want. So, no I will not give up.

    If it's crushing you, you crush back. Especially if you know you want this.
  20. SmoothJams

    SmoothJams

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    I know that most funded doctoral programs give you tuition and some kind of stipend in exchange for teaching and or TA work, but $70-$90K?

    I have several questions:

    #1. Is that a typical stipend amount?
    #2. Is that amount what you get on top of tuition?
    #3. What kind of work do you have to do in order to earn that while in school.
    #4. How did you obtain your super powers?

    Forgive me if these questions are too personal. A PhD is WAY down the line for me, but I am just trying to get a clear picture of the highest level potential situations - which it seems like you got! Congratulations!
  21. Duck Duck Goose

    Duck Duck Goose Senior Lurker

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    So would a masters level degree (MSW, MFT, anything else that would allow you to get licensed to do therapy in your state) combined with a non-clinical psychology degree (like, I don't know, human development, or some "experimental" degree... sorry, I don't know what these things are called or I probably would've applied to those programs myself 5-6 years ago :p ) allow you to meet your goals?

    Avoiding clinical, counseling, and school psych allow you avoid the APPIC internship requirement of doctoral programs in these fields. If you want to be a licensed psychology who's doing therapy, obviously you shouldn't want to avoid the internship process. But if you want to do research and provide therapy with a different degree, there are faster - and potentially more personally fulfilling and less crushing - ways to get there.

    If you're crushed now, just wait. (This is my second year of applying for internship... I may be walking away from the field in a few weeks, if I'm not in the 15% of applicants who can match at this point. I'm not crushed but I am jaded and pissed off.)
  22. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    I am an exception to the rule and took a path that most people would not take. I am currently an Intern finishing my Ph.D.

    So here is my story in a nutshell, in 1989 I enlisted in the Air Force and spent 9 years on active duty. I left the USAF 9 years later for a civilian career. Eventually I began my undergraduate in psychology at the age of 38 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. When I applied to graduate school, one of those schools was Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). To attend USUHS you must commit to completing 7 years of active duty service following your training (the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology), all in all it's a 12 year commitment (nothing is free in this world). I was accepted to USUHS in 2007 (when I was 40), and the program requires you to gain a commission as an officer in the military and to attend school in uniform.

    To answer question 1: The typical stipend begins at about $55-60k per year for someone without prior military service. However, since I had prior service I am given credit for that time and paid at a higher rate. This year on internship I grossed about $100k, my peers without prior military service are probably around $85k.

    To answer question 2: There are no tuition costs or fees at USUHS.

    To answer question 3: I had to complete my required coursework in 4 years.

    To answer question 4: I was lucky, no super powers involved. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. They have 2 slots per year in which civilians may be allowed to join the Navy as future psychologists.

    As you can imagine, there are the downsides to being a military psychologist, like being required to move overseas or to deploy to Afghanistan or Gitmo. You might be required to serve on an aircraft carrier in the middle East or hospital ship providing humanitarian relief in Haiti.

    The upside for me is that the 9 years prior service and the 12 years on active duty will make me eligible for a military pension. So in theory, I will be eligible for retirement in 2018.

    Best of luck.
  23. Duck Duck Goose

    Duck Duck Goose Senior Lurker

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    Typical in this context meaning typical for USUHS, not typical for clinical psych grad programs. :p
  24. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student

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    I tried this route in a very sincere way. I will be masters-license eligible after completing my MA this summer, and in the years I've spent in the program I realized I wanted more intensive research training above anything else. I want to do research. Long story short, the experimental programs think I'm too clinical for some reason--they either think I'm trying to circumvent the system, that I'm not being genuine in my interest, or that they just don't want an 'old' person with clinical (real world) experience around. So, it's not as easy as it would seem. Probably going the MSW to PhD in social work would be reasonable, if that's the type of research you're interested in. But golly, otherwise the field of psychology just seems SO divided. It's frustrating all around.
  25. Cortex613

    Cortex613

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    Thanks for all the wonderful feedback.

    To give you a sense of my background - I have 10 years in research. Seven of them spent as a biologist, and 3 of them spent in a psych masters (also doing research). Both undergrad / grad GPAs were above 3.5. I had publications, presentations at national conferences, very strong recs, and 4 years of child therapy work. My GREs were not fantastic but they were ok (> 500 but < 600). I am absolutely shocked and blown away by two of these two rejections.

    I am having the hardest time understanding why, after the two interviews, have I been rejected. I prepared for these interviews and had a good feeling when I left. Has this happened to anyone? You had great interviews (or so you thought) and you receive a rejection. Ugh!
  26. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student

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    Yes. It's an awful process. Awful, awful, awful.

    You didn't say much at all about the programs you applied to. It is likely that they are VERY competitive, though. Right? It is a crap shoot if so. This year was particularly competitive. Did you apply to any less competitive programs?

    Many programs don't take people with a masters degree. If you asked them, they may say it was about fit. You just never know. It happens to everyone.
  27. 4410

    4410

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    I thought it must have been the Uniformed Health Science Center. One of my friends went there and made a career in the Navy as a DOD psychologist. He had to apply several years before he was accepted. He also was in his 30's when he went to college as he was in the Navy for ten years. I believe his tuition and housing was paid for during his undergraduate degree based on his military services. It was a great opportunity for him but many of us are not interested in making the military a career.
  28. lava12345

    lava12345

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    Not saying this is what is going on with you at all, but:

    We recently had interviews, and there were some applicants that looked awesome on paper. However, when they came to interview, there was some inappropriate behavior when staying with student hosts and general social awkwardness. We ended up extending an offer to the person who was lowest on our invite list, simply because of interactions during the interview weekend. Anyone we invite, we think they will work, on paper. By interview time, your interactions with the POI and grad students is what determines who gets picked.

    Do you know alot about the type of research your POI is currently doing, and can you intelligently come up with ideas for future research? Does your theoretical orientation fit with your potential lab/program? Are you friendly, talkative, and personable during the informal dinners with grad students? Do you send thank you letters to everyone you interacted with over the weekend (interviewers and student hosts)? Are you as flexible and appreciative as possible (ex. no complaints over hosting situation, food, etc)? These are all things that the POI's and grad students notice, and that is what can make or break you when it comes to decision time.

    I wouldn't be discouraged from trying again. I tried twice and got in, and so did half my cohort. Hang in there, and remember, you will be so much more knowledgeable about the process the second time around and you will know exactly what to expect.
  29. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Yep, that was in the first line of my response... most people won't travel this route, and that's totally fine. It's certainly not for everyone. Personally, I can't imagine doing anything else.
  30. zensouth

    zensouth

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    First, I feel for you because I have been there. Twice. As in two rounds twice. It is a terrible feeling, no amount of input from others can console you. You go through these crazy emotional swings, first being devastatingly sad, then angry, then jealous of all others who get in, then hating yourself, then simply wondering "What's so wrong with me that others don't see my passion?" This is tough.

    Second, when you feel like you can begin to stomach thinking about your psychology future again, here is some stuff that may help.

    I am in my mid 20's and married. This is my third year applying and I FINALLY got accepted to 3 programs, wait-listed at one, and rejected from three. I only applied to 7, which is very low, but I was very focused. The advice I would give you would be to apply to schools that only match your research/career goals, all others will be a waste of time and money, and may take away from valuable time you could use to hone your other applications. The first time I applied to 12+, the second time I applied to 10. If you don't match with faculty research interest you have almost no chance.

    There is a website called "how I got into Stanford psychology" or something like that (just Google it, idk if the mods have this site set to reject posts with websites) and it was a HUGE help. This person goes through how they got into an experimental PhD program, including his first failed attempt. It is a simple website, no charge, and he simply did it to help others just like you and me to get our bearings when we experience that crushing devastation of rejection. It really helped clarify for me what I could do to increase my chances, especially his example of a good personal statement. I did (nearly) everything he suggests doing on his site. I owe my success this round to his site and specifically his personal statement example.

    This year I got an acceptance to my top choice. The average student stats (GRE's, etc) were all higher than my own, and the school is very well respected in the field I chose (Counseling Psychology). In fact, it is "ranked" as a top 5 school for Counseling Psychology. I thought I had no hope when I applied to this particular school, I applied on a hopeful whim. My purpose in telling this is to not make you feel sh*ttier about this round but to let you know that, though it may take time (3 rounds and an M.Ed in counseling for me personally), you CAN get what you want. Persistence, focus, and quality are key.

    And if you're thinking "Uh, applying again?! It's gonna be so hard . . . so draining. I put so much time into organizing everything, then putting myself onto paper for those personal statements . . . then sending off all my hopes. . . I wonder is it worth it? Worth all the fees for GREs, application processing, transcripts? I just don't know . . ." Then guess what? You're right, it's gonna be tough. It's gonna be painful to go through all those program websites, write all those statements, all over again. But you get better at it, each time. You get more confident, you've learned more about yourself and (hopefully) you've gotten some more experience in your time off. Don't shy away from it all, it is difficult. But you did it all once, and the first time is the hardest. If you want it, then you can get it.
  31. zensouth

    zensouth

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    I didn't read the whole thread before I responded . . . just a few more thoughts . . .

    As for the Master's degree hurting/helping your chances, it varies by program. I know that a lot of Counseling Psychology programs are very friendly toward people who have Masters degrees and experience. You could look up APA accredited Counseling Psychology programs and see if any of those programs are geared toward what you want and include them next time . . . I know many Counseling Psych programs in major metropolitan areas often have practica at medical hospitals.

    Also, networking is big. You can't start too early . . . ask if any profs in the programs you want have any distance-research you could do to contribute to their program. I felt disingenuous about doing this the first time, like I was short-cutting the application process, but I quickly realized that they know you need the letters of rec/networking potential and that you are probably looking to get into their program. So go for it.

    Making it to interviews and getting rejected is the worst. I always heard "By the interviews it's all about personality match." Then, when you get rejected people say "Don't take it personally, it's a difficult process." What? How can I not take it personal when, apparently, the most personal aspect of myself (my personality) wasn't good enough of a match? This is the part of the process that is a mystery, it's up to fate. Imagine walking into a room of strangers and having to pick out your next closest friend based off of a quick interview. What if there were only 20 people in the room and you just didn't click? I happens. It doesn't mean you are a failure or aren't "good" enough. And, as many of the other members posted, this is usually a multi-round process. It's unfortunate and trying but it will sharpen your skills and your resolve.
  32. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    This year, I applied the third time to PhD programs in Clinical Psychology! I know that this is not completely unusual, so even though the whole process has been pretty disheartening the first two rounds, I knew that perseverance is the key to success in this field (well, at least to some extent).
    This year I received 4 interviews, two of them at great schools, one at a so-so school, and one at a school that was at the very bottom of my list from the very beginning.

    I have decent GRE scores (1280), a near perfect TOEFL score (I'm a non-native English speaker), over 20 presentations (~12 first author), one first-author peer-review publication under review (I know this was my biggest weakness), one published book chapter (third author), 5 years of research experience, master degree in experimental psychology, RA position with well-known prof in my field, three glowing letters of rec, good personal statements (at least according to all three of my letter writers).

    ALSO: I got positive feedback on my interviews (at least two POIs independently emailed my current mentor that they were very impressed with me), one even -post rejection- offered me to co-author a paper with her if I was interested.

    I have one acceptance from the school at the very bottom of my list. When I visited, I tried to go in with an open mind, but literally 30 minutes into my visit, I knew this program wasn't for me. Too many things that weren't working for me, were piling up and I know there is no way I would be happy there. Just to compare, the other program I wasn't too excited about turned out to be pretty great, and even though I didn't think it was perfect, I'd be happy to go there.

    I know I am qualified to do all of this but I just keep having the worst luck ever. I don't see the PhD as means to an end but I do want to go into academia and going to this one program would greatly diminish my chances to do this.

    I know that there is no right solution to this but I honestly don't know what else to do. I am 99% sure I will be declining this one offer, and if/when I apply next year, I will have at least one first author pub in press, two first-authors under review and between one and three in preparation as second author. But will this be enough?
  33. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    This depends on a lot of factors such as the competitiveness of the schools/mentors you are applying to and the goodness of fit. Also, I think competitiveness with other applicants is something that a lot of people miss on this forum. So for example, you will likely stand out if you are competing with other applicants with less experience and no pubs, but if there's one spot and there's someone with more experience, things may not go in your favor. This may happen especially at clinical science-oriented programs.
  34. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    I picked my schools very carefully in terms of mentor match.One of the school I interviewed at, I was an excellent match (as in "truly perfect' - or at least I thought so because clearly they didn't agree :(.) Actually, even after talking to some of the other applicants I felt pretty good because their interest were a little more tangent from my POIs research.
    I applied to research oriented programs, and some of the schools I applied to were total reach schools (think UCLA). I'm not surprised nor disappointed that I didn't get an interview there.
    The thing is the one school where I thought the fit was just so-so (especially after the interview) is the one I got the offer at.
  35. phillips101

    phillips101

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    :eek: WHAT?!! And you got ONE interview (unless I read your post wrong)? If this is "not competitive enough" than what is? There are plenty of people who apply to clinical psych programs straight from undergrad, and there are plenty that get in. Does EVERYONE need to have 10 years of working experience, 20 first-authored papers, and had came up with a new theory in order to get accepted? I do understand there are factors that one cannot see on paper (i.e. social awkwardness, personality, etc.) but I would think this person should have had at least several interviews.

    ...Maybe it's the GRE's :laugh:
  36. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    I agree; the vast majority of admitted applicants I've seen have vitae that are much less well-developed than this. I thus am at a loss as to what might be causing the hold-up, as a 1280 GRE should at least get your application past the initial cut at many/most programs. The only things that come to mind really are rec letters and personal statement, as the numbers objectively (unless I'm missing something) seem solid.
  37. psypsypsy

    psypsypsy Member

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    .
    Last edited: 03.23.12
  38. Psych2011

    Psych2011

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    It sounds like you have amazing credentials, more so than many others who actually get accepted! One thing (the only thing) I can think of is your international student status. Before I applied, I specifically emailed each and every school to make sure that would not be an issue since I am also an international student. Ultimately, most schools said it would not be an issue, but some state schools told me it would not be wise for me to apply due to the department not being able to pay for out of state tuition all my years in the program and they would not admit anyone without being able to fund them. Out of the schools I emailed, these were the ones who advised me not to apply due to the extra cost for the department to fund international students: UC Berkeley, San Diego State/UC San Diego joint program, UCLA, Suny Albany, and University of Minnesota. Obviously I only emailed programs I wanted to apply to so I'm sure there are more schools out there with the same reservations.

    That's just my .02 since the rest of your application sounds amazing!

    Edit: I'd just like to clarify that none of the programs I mentioned above told me that I definitely would not get in, they just told me that due to the cost it was probably unlikely. Seeing how extremely competetive these programs are to start with, I just decided not to even apply there...
    Last edited: 03.23.12
  39. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    I've seen all three rec letters. There is nothing negative in them (that's a fact). Obviously, it's hard to say how "glowing" these letters were compared to others, but if nothing else, they were rocksolid.

    My undergrad and grad GPA is 3.7. Again, my verbal GRE score is 530 but I made up with a 750 in math, plus, I scored in the 99th percentile of the TOEFL and as a matter of fact, my current mentor/boss hired me because of my great communication skills (both written and verbally).

    And like I said, after the interview two of the profs, unsolicited, emailed my mentor that they were very impressed by me.

    Altogether, I got four interviews, two of them at very solid universities but ultimately wasn't chosen. I technically don't know about the third but according to this site they already sent out acceptances a while ago. I got an acceptance from the fourth school, however, attending this program makes me cringe, and given that I received interviews at two good program makes me think that am definitely capable but it's just not happening.:(
    Last edited: 03.23.12
  40. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    I actually we think we pm'd about that a while ago, correct?
    Would you mind sharing who you emailed? The POI? Department head? DCT?
  41. Psych2011

    Psych2011

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    I usually emailed the psych admissions email address, and sometimes they forwarded me to the appropriate person if they had somebody specifically designated to handle international student question. Feel free to PM me if you have any further questions. :) And yes, we did talk briefly about this a while back.
  42. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    I guess, my question to everybody else is, what would you do?

    I've known for a very long time that I want to do hard-core research in an academic setting. I eventually want to work in an R1 setting where I can do grant-funded research.
    The program I got into, is solid, however, it just recently got APA accredited, so by the time I get out, there will be next to nobody who will have made a name for themselves. They say they're really research oriented, yet, the entire student body is is very clinical , and faculty research exists but because they're so new, I feel it's not very developed, i.e. very few professors have grants (and if so, they're rather small from what I can tell).

    The match with my POI's research interests was a stretch from the beginning. I applied because I liked one part of it, but she told me that she wants to focus on the part I am not interested in. They have relatively few classes, I would take a lot of classes outside of the department (again, this shows they're not much developed).

    Clinical training: Even though I don't want to focus on clincial work ultimately, I want solid training, otherwise, I would have gone to purely research focused program. They don't have an on-site clinic, so all training would be at external sites. Also, I most likely wouldn't be able to receive training with my population of interest, either (at least student in my my POIs lab don't have any training with this population whatsoever). Additionally, students hinted at the fact that, yes, I will get placements, but most likely not where I want to be.

    Lastly, there are no real teaching opportunities. There are no TAships, and currently they don't have the opportunity for students to teach their own classes.

    The thought of having to re-apply again next year makes me literally nauseous. But, on the other hand, I feel I can't justify going to a program that I don't think will provide me with what I want to do for the rest of my life. Like I said, I really want to do research but I'm afraid that if I go this path, I will set myself up for a career where I at best will be at a small liberal arts school, doing small time research. No offense to those who do that or who want to do that, but it's not what I want to do. The other thing is my international students status and that I would need to get a work visa to work here. I don't know this for sure but I think that large R1 universities would be much more inclined to sponsor a work visa than a small liberal arts school.

    I'm so devastated. Who in the world, with these credentials, applies three times and has these kind of results? So, again, my question is, what would you do? IS a bird in the hand really worth more than two in the bush?
    Last edited: 03.25.12
  43. Psych2011

    Psych2011

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    I would definitely reapply. I know it's not the same, since this is my first year applying, but after my interviews this year (all very solid and well-respected programs) at 6 schools, I divided the schools into two lists: "will accept if I get an offer from only this school" and "will probably not accept if I get an offer". It happened that it ended up being three schools on each list. I wasn't so much worried about the training, as I was of the location of the schools, the mentors' mentoring styles/graduate students' lack of happiness in program, and the funding was too low for one of the schools. I know you can't really be picky when it comes to getting into clinical psych programs, since it's soooo competitive, but quality of life is really important for me. Even though I love psychology and research, I want to make sure I would be happy with other parts of my life too wherever I end up. Point being, if you feel like you won't like it and it won't get you where you want to be, I don't think it's worth putting six years of your life on it instead of reapplying next year. You also seem to feel pretty strongly about not wanting to go to this program. On the other hand, I do feel your pain of having to reapply yet again... Applying to schools is so stressful!

    Good luck, whatever you end up deciding! :luck:
  44. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    If you are blessed enough to know exactly what you want to do with your life then don't you dare stop fighting for it. Here is what I would do:

    1. First and foremost get some feedback from the programs you applied to as to how you can improve your application. If you are contrite and sincere they will likely oblige your request.

    2. Raise your GRE score. I don't care if it's already high - make it higher.

    3. Take some additional coursework at a community college an get an A.

    4. If at all possible take a job at a university in a research position.

    5. Get published or, at a minimum, be selected to present a poster at a relevant conference

    Most importantly, keep fighting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N-c8MIFvaI
  45. lava12345

    lava12345

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    You could go to this school through your master's and then reapply if it is not working for you. Especially if the program you got into is fully funded ( you didn't mention if it was). I've known people who have done that, though I don't think it's common. At least that way, you progress the next year or two and have a degree to show for it rather than waiting around to reapply. If you then applied and got into a different program, many of your classes and possibly your thesis would transfer.

    Although you never know, you might end up really liking the program you got into. I hate to hear about people turning down all of their acceptances (caveat: to fully funded, accredited PhD programs), since this process is so competitive and in the end, somewhat random. Although, I'm sure you know that with 3 tries under your belt. :(
  46. Psych2011

    Psych2011

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    That is actually great advice, although if I remember correctly, Marissa4usa already has a masters, so I don't know how beneficial it would be to have a second one...
  47. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    I already have a master's degree from a fully-funded master's program. But besides that, the PhD program is fully funded. They also told me that my master's thesis definetely wouldn't transfer. I understand that I wouldn't save any time when entering with a master's degree but I don't want to waste my time fulfilling all the formalities for their master's when I could be publishing two or three manuscripts during the same time.
  48. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    I think you need to reevaluate how important having clinical training is to your future career goals. Perhaps you would be more successful applying to non-clinical programs.

    I cannot think of a nice or gentle way to say this. I don't know you, so I'm not saying this is true for you at all. However, I can't help but wonder if the programs have some discomfort with your interpersonal demeanor. While they'd love to work with you as a researcher, they might wonder about you as a clinician.

    There was a woman in our program who had amazing credentials and for various reasons was accepted without an interview. She then came to visit campus. Once the faculty and students met her, they tried to discourage her from coming there. She was interpersonally off. Ultimately, she ended up spending 4 yrs in the program before getting kicked out. She then hopped to another (this time unaccredited) program. She was kicked out of that program eventually too. She had her heart set on clinical training, but it was an awful fit for her. She spent years torturing herself to try to meet an unrealistic goal.

    Again, this is probably not the case for you, but 3 times is a lot to apply.

    I wish you luck no matter what you decide.

    Dr. E
  49. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.

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    You have a pretty strong application and have done the right things. It may be and interpersonal issue or just bad luck. the bottom line is that you have to decide whether to pursue or alter your dream. Here are my thoughts:

    A. Stick with your dream. If you do so, the best course is to get everything you can higher and reapply. Maybe you will get into a to program next year. However, I would give yourself a hard deadline as to when you move on and pick an alternative path.

    B. Go to the program that you have been admitted to. It is unlikely that you will be able to secure a faculty position at an R1 going there though. However, you can still teach, research, and be a clinician. Working at Med schools or larger hospitals means that you can 'pay the bills' with clinical work and still involve yourself with research and teaching as part of your other professional interests. If you are aggressive, you may get your own grants and get a more research oriented position. However, I would not count on getting a largely research related position coming from that program.

    C. Let go of the clinical part and look for other types of psych programs with the hope of scoring an R1 position. You are more likely to gain entrance into a top program in another field. For example, if you are interested in child work, a developmental, school, or educational psych PhD may be for you. Have you applied to top counseling psych programs?
  50. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    Ultimately, I cannot tell you for sure whether I am 'interpersonally off' (whatever that may mean), but again, I felt very good about the interviews itself. I was engaged, asked questions, and never felt 'awkward' and I don't think I left people feeling that way.

    During my master's program, I worked with a professor who had very clinical research interests, so as part of that I lead a weekly group. I got positive feedback from both my prof (who is a clinical psychologist) as well as the people attending the group. Moreover, I got positive feedback from my current mentor about being very personal when interacting with our study participants.

    And then: Why would people email my mentor and tell him they were very impressed by me when, in fact, they just thought I was really awkward?

    Yes, three times is a lot...:(
    Last edited: 03.26.12

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