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When is a good time to discuss summer funding

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by dumbledoresgirl, May 23, 2012.

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  1. dumbledoresgirl

    dumbledoresgirl

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    Hello fellow SDNers,

    I'll be starting a Clinical Psychology PhD program this August.I know I'm thinking WAY ahead, but honestly my financial situation for the next few years is stressing me out :eek: so I thought I'd go ahead and see if anyone has any insight.

    I was lucky enough to get into a fully (?) funded program right out of undergrad. The question mark is because I'm not sure if it counts as fully funded--they say that in the last 10 years all of their students received a stipend and tuition waiver every year, but they can only guarantee two years at a time due to state law. Anyway, while the stipend and tuition waivers are great (and I am very grateful!!), they are unfortunately not enough for me to cover all of my expenses (I am buying a car, and that's the main reason).

    So, my question is--is it too early to ask my advisor about summer funding (summer after first year)? Our stipend only covers 9 months, and I would much rather spend my time working in the lab than finding some random barista job (not that there's anything wrong with that!) However, if she doesn't think there will be any money for it, I would rather know ahead of time so that I can maybe start looking for a job (and possibly start working part-time before the summer so I don't feel too bad about getting a job for 3 months and then quitting). I am trying to avoid taking out extra loans for as long as possible (because I'll already have a loan out for car payments). :scared:

    Thank you in advance for any advice--this has been making me super anxious, so I would really appreciate any insight you guys have!:)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  2. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    If you're talking about this summer, then I'd say you could go ahead and ask now. However, given that you haven't started the program yet, I'm guessing you mean next and subsequent summers. If that's the case, I still don't think it'd be too early to ask, but realize that your advisor may respond with something along the lines of, "I hope to have funding, but won't know for probably another 6-12 months." There might also be funding offered by your department (TAships, teaching) or university clinic during the summer (my program regularly offers the latter), but again, these figures generally aren't available until a couple months prior to the actual summer term.

    Also, keep in mind that by having a fully-funded position, odds are you'll be prohibited from working during the academic year. Thus, while wanting to work prior to the start of summer so as to avoid cutting and running after 3 months might be admirable, it's probably not going to happen.
  3. paramour

    paramour

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    You're wasting your time to ask about summer funding right now as a first year because they will not make those decisions until next year. NIU does not offer summer funding to all students, and *most* summer funding opportunities will be offered to more advanced students. If they actually have options available for students (other than those available in the regular assistantships for the upcoming year), they tend to send a survey out to students asking who is interested in funding.

    Historically, there have been a select few advisors with grants who are able to obtain funding for their students during the summers with research. Otherwise, your assistantship for the next year will determine if you receive any funding for the summer. If you manage to land a position (clinical assistantship and a select few research positions) that includes the summer, then you have summer funding.

    Keep in mind that if you receive summer funding, you also must register for a full courseload (6 credits: most register for independent study, thesis hours, etc.). However, if you are registering for credits, then this obviously means you also have to pay FEES associated with tuition for the summer (just as you are required to do for the fall/spring semesters). Any money that you receive from the stipend for the summer basically covers those fees. You receive very little in excess of it. So I would not recommend applying for summer funding just because it's "extra money." It's really not.
  4. paramour

    paramour

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    AA brings up another good point. If you work outside of the dept, then technically you must ask the dept if it's acceptable for you to do so. Additionally, if it's anything even remotely related to human services, teaching, etc., then there's paperwork you have to file, obtain the approval of the faculty, etc. prior to starting.

    As a first year student, especially before you end your first year, I'm not sure there's really room for a part-time job (and your advisor likely would not agree to it unless you're REALLY on top of things)! :scared:
  5. Pragma

    Pragma

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    I'd say February or March-ish.

    As to what others have said about outwside employment, it varies by program. I knew lots of people in my program that did work outside of the program, particularly during the summer, and often people never got permission even though we were "technically" supposed to. The culture of our department was more liberal about that as long as you were on track. If you were behind, they might look at your activities more closely.
  6. dumbledoresgirl

    dumbledoresgirl

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    Thank you so much for all of your responses, you have been very helpful! It seems a little odd to me that a school can not give you funding for the summer but then also restrict you from working anywhere else...but hopefully everything will work out!
  7. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Yeah check your program manual about that. Most competitive practicums these days are going to be 12-month ones, so that does infringe on your time in the summer. If I recall correctly, our program didn't mind if people worked a summer job, but typically faculty tried to keep students around with some funding to work part time at least.

    I made a little extra money in the summertime here or there, but I was lucky to have a mentor that was able to fund me through external grants the entire time I was in the program (summers included).

    Also - summer is a great time to get ahead on your work. I remember having a thesis summer and one summer I cranked most of my dissertation proposal working from home half time and getting paid on campus half time (plus practicum).
  8. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    Like Pragma mentioned regarding his program, in general, it's my understanding that if the assistantship is for 9 months, then you're allowed to work during the summer since you aren't receiving funding. But like Pragma said, in general advisors/departments will try to pull something together for you for the summer if something isn't immediately available.
  9. paramour

    paramour

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    Just to clarify, as Pragma and AA have mentioned, if you do not have summer funding, then there's nothing stopping you from working during the summer months. However, if you have a position that's "psych-related" or that basically uses your credentials or may be even remotely construed as representing the university, then you best be obtaining prior approval, signing paperwork, etc. If you're working at the local golf course, hole in the wall bar, bookstore, etc., then hop to it. No one's stopping you. :thumbup: Hell, most of the first years go home during the summer anyway. :smuggrin:
  10. paramour

    paramour

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    The first bit is great advice, and advice most advisors will drum into your head (especially with the revised deadlines etc. for incoming students). Unfortunately, some students do not see much incentive toward working on their theses when they go home for the summers if they're not being paid... :rolleyes:

    Furthermore, most first years are extremely limited for funding opportunities. Paid practicum opportunities are not an option at this particular timeline in the program.


    Not if there's no funding available. ;) Students are typically advised not to expect funding during summers. If available, advanced students are considered first. First years (and often second years) are typically screwed unless they manage to land in a lab with external grant funding (which happens on occasion).

    Not to say it's unheard of because it does happen but it's not too common.

    Most students who traditionally receive "summer" funding are "advanced" students on practicum (or other assistantships) with positions that have extended into the summer.
  11. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Really? Aside from one outlier who took a trip to Europe, everyone in my class worked to pay the rent and tried to get their thesis rolling over the summer...but I suppose it might make sense depending on where people live. I forget sometimes that we have lots of people that live at home with their parents still.
  12. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Probably depends on your school and how active the faculty are about funding. It was uncommon for a student (including first years) NOT to have funding options during the summer in my program, but lots of faculty had external grants. However, these were never full time options (usually 10-25 hours per week depending on who you worked for).
  13. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    This was the case for my program as well, although it was a fairly even split between RA/research/grant funding and money received either through the university clinic or clinical externships (one of the advantages of being just about the only accredited doctoral program in the state is that even during the summer, plenty of associated institutions were looking for cheap labor). But overall, just about everyone stuck around full-time during the summer; it was essentially an unspoken (or, depending on the advisor, repeatedly-voiced) expectation.

    I also strongly encourage that all first-years follow paramour and Pragma's advice re: getting thesis stuff started up during that summer between the first and second years. If you've already finished your thesis, use that summer to get an independent research project off the ground.
  14. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Yes yes yes, :thumbup:

    Take advantage of the time when you aren't wearing 6 different hats. You'll thank yourself later. Even if you don't like research, having some projects on your CV is a pre-requisite even for many clinical jobs.
  15. paramour

    paramour

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    Er, I'm not making blanket statements about all programs here. I'm referring to the OP's school specifically. ;)

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