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"Help me decide" mega thread

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by IcedBennu, 03.23.12.

  1. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Well all my hyposthesized interaction effects were null. Some main effects though. Just wanna defend and see if I can publish at this point...
  2. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    Ditto; I'm still very interested in my topic, but I ultimately just want to be finished with it at this point. Not having it constantly looming over me will be a huge relief. Which I suppose means I need to stop working for two or three hours one day and then re-doing everything for two or three hours the next day. Giving myself a two week (mid-April) deadline to get it all cranked out, so we'll see what happens.

    Best of luck on your defense; keep us posted how things go.
  3. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    I define "degree mill" similar to how society defines "puppy mill". A school that produces obscene numbers of graduates of very low quality. The fact that so many on this board think you're absolutely ridiculous is a good indication of how most qualified professionals would likely view your distorted ideas about psychology training.
  4. 4410

    4410

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    More misinformation...look up the definition of a Degree Mill or a Diploma Mill. These doctoral programs that are APA accredited or regionally accredited as are all of the programs that accepted this person, they are not Degree Mills. Stop spreading misinformation as it makes you look ignorant and that you have an agenda based on jealously, greed, or just plain stupidity.

    I have held teaching and research assistantships from my MA programs as I was teaching introductory psychology courses. I also was a residential housing assistant director at that time so my housing was paid for. I had a wife and two children. Despite having a tuition waiver and housing and income it was no where near $30,000 for part-time employment. I had to hold an additional job working third shift at a group home during this time and we were barely making ends meet. I was basically slave labor while the majority of the faculty members would arrive to work around 10:00 am and were not required to even come in unless they had their classes. Most of the graduate school classes were in the afternoon and the undergraduate classes in the mornings. Basically the majority of undergraduate classes were being taught by TA, so in effect the undergraduates students were paying for graduate students educations. In many respects, the undergraduate students were our guinea pigs for learning how to teach, but we were paid nowhere near what an adjunct faculty member would be paid.

    Stop using the word "Diploma Mill" or "Degree Mill" as it does not apply to APA accredited programs. How in the world can you trump what an accreditation body has endorsed for a programs based on a programs admission standards, graduation rate, tuition, and if it is a for profit school? You have no idea about the quality of students, faculty, and administration for these programs, so stop spreading slanderous information.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  5. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    I keep having it sent back my my advisor for fomatting stuff. Spaces here, page break here, continue text after table here, these decimals points dont line up. Serioulsy, this has been one the most tortorous parts. :laugh:
  6. deliciousgoose

    deliciousgoose

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    Didn't you get your MA in the 80s/early 90s? Do you really think your experience then in an MA program accurately reflects the experience of PhD students now, 20 years later?

    Psycscientist defined what was meant by "Diploma Mill" and "Degree Mill."

    And I wish you would actually read the posts that refute you. The APA's accreditation stands have become less rigorous recently and that is one of the primary reasons the CPA is distancing themselves from the APA.

    Quoting myself from the "Help! MSPP, FIT, Argosy, Uni of Hartford, Nova" Thread:el
    I should also mention that at my university we were warned in multiple classes to avoid FSPPs as they were over-priced, and attempting to offer an easy to solution to individuals who are under-qualified for proper programs.
  7. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    So here it comes. Finally. You're mid-life, divorced, and bitter. We get, pal. I think you're the only one here who doesn't.

    The fact that you have so little insight into your "black and white" thinking and cognitive distortions/generalizations (about ALL ph.d programs, for example) again lends credence to you not really being in this field...or at least being extremly poorly trained.

    Your bitterness does NOT give you excuse to spread faulty info about everything from degees you've accumulated, to program requirments, to APPIC match regulations, to what Ph.D programs teach their students. You only stick your foot in your mouth with every post. It disrupts this board, dereails threads, and spreads distorted info to new members/students in this field.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  8. 4410

    4410

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    More information to provide artificial support for your agenda and you are slandering these programs. They are all regionally or APA accredited. You need to read the definition of a Degree Mill or Diploma Mill and stop spreading inaccurate information. How is it that graduates from these programs work in Major Medical Centers, Universities, and State and Federal programs, if they are not qualified professionals. To be a licensed psychologists you have to meet standards including EPPP, oral exams, and pre/postdoctoral training. Again, stop this insanity as these are not Degree Mills, they never were Degree Mills....and you are working from your own agenda based on greed or jealously.
  9. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    APA accreditation is a minimum standard and really not rigorous enough in my opinion - schools that churn out cohorts of 80+ should not be accredited. Regional accreditation means nothing - how bad is a program that it can't even meet APA standards (a pretty low bar). I've worked in academic medical centers since undergrad and I have yet to run into any Argosy/Alliant/"enter degree mill here" graduates. While there may be some outliers in such places, the majority of graduates are not gaining competitive positions.

    In terms of my "agenda" - what does greed have to do with it? I don't profit either way if degree mills exist or don't exist. I would prefer for improved patient care and overall quality and credibility of the field that they didn't, but it doesn't personally affect me. In terms of jealously what would I be jealous of? I have a Ph.D. from a R1 and did my internship and postdoc in R1s. Why would I be jealous of someone else's shoddy training and huge student loan debt?
  10. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    The real 4410


    [​IMG]
  11. KillerDiller

    KillerDiller

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    Perhaps, then, you could explain to us what part of the APA accreditation standards guarantee that a school is producing competent psychologists. Is it the criterion that they have a class on social psychology (which, by the way, is not supposed to be a class that touches on clinical content)? Is it that a program has to come up with a goal for itself?

    I'm even more curious how regional accreditation guarantees that a school produces quality psychologists, considering that regional accreditation has nothing to do with psychology.

    Your contention is that a school that is accredited by an accrediting body cannot technically be considered a degree mill. Point taken, but the counter-point of posters here is that these schools still function as degree mills, it just happens that APA standards are so low that even these schools can get beyond that low bar.
  12. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    In addition to the above posts/responses, no one has ever said that NO graduates from these programs are competent, talented practitioners. It's been frequently mentioned that some individuals from these programs are indeed great practitioners and go on to lead successful careers; they likely would've been successful no matter where they went. However, it seems to often be the case that these individuals had to spend significant time seeking out external opportunities that were in no way guaranteed or directly offered by their training programs.

    The point being made is that the modal graduate from these programs, in the experiences of many faculty, training directors, and other trainees, comes out (or at least present to internships) with weaknesses or outright holes in training owing to the programs not providing adequate guidance, support, and opportunity. I feel that it is a program's responsibility to ensure that its students have access to all of the resources they need, through the program itself and its relationships in the community, that will lead to successful completion of all steps of training and set one up for successful practice/research in psychology. The programs being discussed here and elsewhere seem to have trouble consistently meeting those responsibilities for all or most of their students.

    As for the $30k number I mentioned, it's very easy to see from whence it came: $13-15k stipend + $10-20k in tuition waivers (remember, many/most grad students would be paying out-of-state tuition if not for assistantships which automatically qualify them for in-state status) = upper-20's/lower-30's per year. For a 20-hour/week commitment. Adjunct faculty generally aren't salaried by universities, and typically seem to receive roughly $3-5k per class that they teach.

    Edit: As for who I am to question APA standards--I'm a trainee and future psychologist, which gives me all the footing I need to critically evaluate these criteria. More than that, I'm an individual who attended an APA-accredited graduate program, am in an APA-accredited internship, and will be heading to an APPCN-member and soon-to-be APA accredited post-doc who has reviewed the APA standards, and realizes that if my programs had adhered only to these standards rather than exceeding them, I would've been in trouble.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  13. JeyRo

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    Well, to be fair, if there are loads of people with doctorates that are clearly substandard, it does effect people who aren't substandard, simply in terms of guilt by association (not fair, but that's the way people are). It makes it all of the quality psychologists out there have to work harder, frankly, to overcome the damage done by substandard practicioners, and it may lower overall pay, benefits, and esteem of the public. All of which effects the bottom line of all psychologists.

    "Greed" is hyperbolic and "jealousy" is just silly (yeah, those R1 grads with little or no debt are real "jealous" of the pro-school grads with 100-200K of debt following them around the rest of their lives), but it's more that accurate to say that enlightened self-interest might motivate more than a few anti-pro-school critics. But really, so what? And does that make the concern not valid? I don't think so.
  14. 4410

    4410

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    How can that be "substandard doctorates?" Are you telling me that there are APA accredited PhD University research-based clinical psychologist who are substandard? Students in these programs also have substantial student loan debt. If you use student loan debt as a criteria for substandard, does this mean that most lawyers or medical students are coming from substandard programs due to the high level of their student loan debt? There are some students in these FSPP who do not have any student loan debt so what about these students....are they unqualified and substandard? There are students in these programs that receive tuition waivers and they are teaching or research assistants. Are these students substandard? Your argument is meaningless and based on a Agenda of self-righteousness that somehow your training was or is significantly different than others training.
  15. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    Student loan debt is not being proposed as a direct outcome-related criteria of competence, no. As has been mentioned in the thread already, data such as average EPPP pass rates, internship placement rates (particularly APPIC- and APA-accredited internship placement rates), time to completion, attrition, cohort sizes, average intervention hours, etc. are the data upon which these statements are being based.

    There's simply no arguing that the average debt load for FSPP students is higher than for students from funded programs. Singling out the outliers (i.e., the FSPP student with no debt or the funded program student with significant debt) doesn't change that fact, and doesn't really add much to the discussion other than to say it's possible to achieve one state or the other (which no one here as ever argued). But high debt = huge burden upon FSPP students when they graduate which, when coupled with lower average EPPP pass rates and poorer internship match rates, suggests they might be more willing to take employment positions with reduced pay simply to meet their debt obligations (who could blame them?). This then can decrease the value/perceived worth of the field as a whole.

    As for med/law school, the comparisons aren't equal. The traditional model of training in clinical psych is via a funded position, and the majority of schools (if not the majority of students) still adhere to this model. This is not currently/recently and, I don't believe (although anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), ever has been the case for med/law school. If schools that shouldered their students with substantial debt were offering objectively better training opportunities and outcomes, one could argue that this model should then be adopted by funded programs. However, this is not the case.
  16. Pragma

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  17. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    :thumbup: Got it all out; I've said all I can.
  18. 4410

    4410

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    Meaningless generalizations again. Student loan debt does not factor into a formula that implies substandard and poor quality of graduates. Funding of training does not generalize into a translation of a program being high quality, either. Regardless of public funding or private funding, education is expensive. Most students even in funded programs accrue $60,000 to $100,000 dollars of student loan debt. Therefore, using student loan debt to determine quality of programs you most likely have to imply that most programs, are then, substandard.

    A case in point...a relative of mine, niece graduated from Stanford University and her program was funded. Stanford is an extremely expensive private university and the cost of living is high in Palo Alto, California. She was a TA and a RA and it took her ten years to finish the program. She has over $100,000 dollars in student loan debt. I guess she had a substandard educations since it took her ten years to graduate and she has large student loan debt. She could not find a good teaching job initially so she was an adjunct faculty at a community college for two years until she was offered a job in the private sector. Based on your criteria, Stanford University could meet the criteria of being a substandard education!
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  19. JeyRo

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    Apparently 4410 wrote about me: "Your argument is meaningless and based on a Agenda of self-righteousness that somehow your training was or is significantly different than others training."

    I'm a FSPP graduate, BTW. I got training that was hugely expensive and while probably better than most FSPP clinical psychology programs, was different (substandard) compared to most funded programs. My agenda is more borne of just a little bit of perspective after being several years out from graduation. Although things have turned out OK for me overall (I have a very good VA position), and I do have fairly well-off parents who have provided me with assistance at times, I do pay about 500 bucks a month in student loan payments, and will for the next 20+ years.

    In retrospect, years back when I was contemplating graduate school, it would probably have served me better to have stuck with the research asistanceship gigs I was on, looked into publishing more, and tried for funded programs at a later date - but I was young and impatient and I didn't make what appears to be now to have been the smarter choice.

    I'm not going to spend my life feeling bad about the choice I made, though, and I would personally stack my education, training, and research skills that I've accrued at this point against most any other psychologist in my specialty out there, but I don't think it's wrong for me to say that I wouldn't advise the path I've taken to others - particularly considering the economics of the issue have gotten have gotten far, far worse for people contemplating the pro-school route over just the last few years alone.

    It's really, really brutal out there. Competition for internships has gotten even more incredibly intense than before. When I was a student federal loans covered tuition and you could live on the refund checks, now I hear students all have to take out PLUS loans (with 10-20 percent interest rates!) to cover tuition and expenses at most FSPPs. My loan rate is a little over one and a half percent, however, students currently in school get rates two or three times that and will soon be staring down the barrel of a 6.8% floor on their federal loan rates in 2012. Sure, there's public service loan forgiveness programs, but the competition for state and federal jobs is intense these days, the VA, post-9/11 hiring boom is long over, and nonprofits offer chump change, and pro-school grads aren't particularly competitive for tenure track academic positions. Loan consolidation and IBR programs aren't a free lunch either.

    Take this for all it's worth.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  20. 4410

    4410

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    Hooray, one of the many success stories from students graduating with a PsyD in a FSPP and works for the VA. I believe these jobs are only for University-based PhD students from what you would think from reading comments from these program students. Bravo for you...thanks for the support of clearing up the misinformation. Frankly, PhD students have student loan debt and have trouble finding employment so it is not just us FSPP PsyD students. How did you get on with the VA since everyone claims from APA accredited PhD programs insist that FSPP is substandard training?
  21. Pragma

    Pragma

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  22. FemmeFeline

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    That comment about Stanford doesn't ring truthfully to me. Due to its immense resources, Stanford provides generous aid to both its eligible undergraduates (re: low-income) and its graduates (low-income or not). However, generosity only goes so far --- I am not sure they SHOULD continue paying for a grad student that is taking 10 years to graduate. This is not the norm. Do you mean 10 years, including undergrad? Either way, unless your niece has a wealthy background, Stanford does a great job of providing you funding... I am curious to know her program and degree sought. I have never personally met a student who has graduated from Stanford with a massive loan debt.

    Palo Alto is indeed a ludicrously expensive place to live...Which is why a lot of people don't live IN Palo Alto when attending Stanford, but rather live in the more affordable surrounding areas like Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, etc. And in any case, Stanford guarantees undergrads housing for their duration of study, and these rates are very reasonable. Of course, if you approach the cost of living in these areas from the perspective of someone outside of California or another comparably expensive state, then either way everything will seem astronomical in price.

    Disclaimer: My opinions are based on my own personal interactions with Stanford alumni. I am not a Stanford alum, and I have never attended Stanford. However, I have worked there and know many graduates of both their undergrad and grad programs in several fields.
  23. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA

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    I certainly agree with the rest of your post about it being difficult and the need to make prudent choices from the beginning of your training. However, I'd argue this point. If you are only looking at direct service provision jobs, then this might be true. However, many non-profits employ psychologists in senior clinical and administrative roles, with reasonable compensation. In my geographic area and clinical area (PDD, ID), it is very common to find a doctoral level psychologist in senior positions within the agencies making a decent salary (90-110k seems typical). Within my sub-specialty of ABA, other than academic settings, non-profit human service agencies are where you're most likely to find doctoral level psychologists. I, for one, can't wait until 2017- if all goes well that will mark 10 consecutive years of non-profit service that will qualify me for loan forgiveness.
  24. 4410

    4410

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    She was a Geology student and already had her MS degree in Geology from another private university in Tennessee. She spent a great deal of time over in Europe during her training as part of a research team mapping out regions of Europe. Her family would be considered weathy by most standards and she is very gifted and talented. She was forty-years old when she finally finished up with her PhD degree as she had some issues with her dissertation and one specific faculty member on her committee. She did live in one of the suburbs away from Palo Alto up in the mountains somewhere. It was a great experience for her and she even became friends with George Lucas as he lived somewhere near her and they went to the same coffee house. Apparently George Lucas is a fairly common person and he is often in the community surrounding Palo Alto.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  25. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA

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  26. FemmeFeline

    FemmeFeline

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    Haha I think many people would be willing to take on loan debt if it meant becoming friends with George Lucas! :laugh:

    And, 10 years to achieve a PhD when you already have a MS does would cost you $$$$$$$, no matter which program you attend. I'm sorry to hear about those issues she experienced.
  27. JeyRo

    JeyRo

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    I suppose that's true. In my case, it's not worth it for me to get on IBR programs, or move from my current position at the VA. With the salary I currently make (low six figures) I'd have to more than triple my student loan payments to qualify for public service loan forgiveness via the IBR repayment scheme, not really worth it. Given my current career trajectory (I have some active plans to not be a GS-13 drone for the rest of my life that seem to be currently bearing fruit) it seems like my loan repayment amounts will be taking up a smaller and smaller share of my takehome pay over time, so, I have some hope.

    Depending on your own situation IBR might be more attractive. But, as others have pointed out there's no reason to believe the government will honor it's promises - they have a pretty good track record, in fact, of not. But you never know.
  28. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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    :thumbup:

    Btw, I'm in my third year at a funded PhD program and I don't have any student loans at all.
  29. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    I had very minimal loans that I took out to interview for internships and postdocs (under 10k). The majority of students from my fully funded Ph.D. program either did not take out loans or took out a comparatively low amount (20k or less). The data indicates that non-funded students take out way more in loans (100k and upwards) and FSPP students predominate that figure.
  30. 4410

    4410

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    She had some extenuating circumstance and got an extension. I believe she was actually there for six to seven years and then it took another three years to finish up her dissertation. Stanford is strange as she did not really take classes and she was doing research as a team member and she spend a great deal of time in Europe during her PhD degree as they have faculty actually spending most of their time in Europe away from Palo Alto. She wanted to get a tenure track Professor position but these are extremely competitive. Now she is working in the Oil Industry and raking in the bucks and she is doing well financially. Strange, but I believe in her program Geology it is common to take seven to ten years to finish up.
  31. 4410

    4410

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    Regardless of having student loans or not, this does not generalized to imply qualities of the program. Tax payers are paying for your education....you are a tax payer so you are, in effect having your taxes go towards your education. Student loans are from taxes as well so it is the same regardless, except for the taxpayers pay back for your education and the student pays back the student loan unless they work in a non profit or have loan forgiveness.
  32. KillerDiller

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    I still don't understand your point in this anecdote. Yes, sometimes even people in funded programs take out loans. But in her situation, can you imagine how much debt she would have had at a non-funded school when she was paying both full tuition and living expenses for 10 years? It would have been astronomical. I fail to see how this story makes non-funded programs a good alternative to funded ones.
  33. elpsyd

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    Help! I'm deciding between the clinical PsyD programs at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy. I know I've heard some positive and negative things about both. Argosy has gotten a bad rep but I've heard the DC one is good and that DC is a good place to be versus Chicago is really competitive. Thoughts?
  34. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA

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    Yeah- I can't say that I'm confident that things will go smoothly in 2018 with the loan forgiveness. It will be the first year that anyone is eligible, and, given what's going on literally as I type this, who the hell knows what will happen to the legislation by then (it's not difficult to imagine all legislation from that era being thrown out by the Supreme Court:()
  35. psycscientist

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    Let me break it down for you. For-profit schools = students taking out ridiculous sums of student loan money to pay for both tuition and living expenses (when they could just strengthen their credentials so that they can get into a reputable school). For profit schools are in it for the money and don't seem to use this money to provide good training - on multiple data points, they have substandard outcomes (internship match, EPPP pass rates, employment, etc.). While students in university based programs may take out loans, they take out fewer loans and these loans usually go towards cost of living rather than tuition in funded programs. So there's a huge difference. So while loans in and of themselves have nothing to do with quality of training, the huge amounts taken by FSPP students are indicative of the problems with such schools that lead to shoddy training.

    In any case, you're not convincing anyone here that non-accredited degree mill programs have anything close to the quality of training of reputable funded programs.
  36. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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  37. psycscientist

    psycscientist

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    Ditto
  38. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    One more vote for neither
  39. deliciousgoose

    deliciousgoose

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    Neither.

    Save your money. Work on building your application and apply again to reputable PsyD and PhD programs (depending on your end-goals) in a year or two.
    Last edited: 03.29.12
  40. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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  41. PsychinUout

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    I applied to Palo Alto University (formerly known as Pacific Graduate School of Professional Psychology) Clinical Psychology PhD program and Alliant International Univ CSPP-LA Clinical Psych Phd Program. I wanted to ask for opinions of both institutions. Please help! My main question is would you recommend one over the other and why?
  42. 4410

    4410

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    Again----these are not degree mills so stop using such terminology. Do you not know the difference?:shrug:
  43. 4410

    4410

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    I believe both of these programs are APA accredited and I know the DC campus has a wonderful faculty with many students who are now highly successful psychologists. Stick with going to a PsyD program so you may acquire the necessary clinical skills without wasting precious training time on useless research.
  44. paramour

    paramour

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    I don't know if it's the narcotics, the endorphins from post-op emotional high, or I'm just plain loopy, but I find this highly amusing. :smuggrin:
  45. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Must. resist. urge. :laugh:

    Dont do it guys. Dont do it.
  46. Ya Ya

    Ya Ya

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    I kinda feel that the advice that you'll likely receive on this thread is the same advice on the numerous X vs. Y (insert some sort of prof school and/or unfunded/partially funded program with a shaky reputation, sucky match rates or whatever else) threads. I believe that there are 3 or 4 threads active now. With that said, good luck on the decision making process!
  47. JeyRo

    JeyRo

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    PAU probably offers a better education but you're going to be in blinding, unimagineable debt either way so I can't see advising either.
  48. Ya Ya

    Ya Ya

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    I really feel like there should be a "help me decide" sticky.
  49. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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  50. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    The WAMC Thread was supposed to cover most of that. The WAMC threads started in Pre-Allo forever ago because every new poster would start a thread of..."OMG, I want to go to Harvard or Stanford..do I have a chance?!!" Invariably it would involve the poster listing their stats and soliciting advice, and then people talking about the specific programs.

    I started the Psych WAMC thread back in '09, and it worked for awhile. If a specific program was being discussed, I'd move the thread/posts to the appropriate thread, so people could actually find a handful of threads to answer their questions. That isn't the style anymore, so uhm....good luck sorting through the flood of X v Y threads. :laugh:

    ps. Neither program.

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