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Advice from Prof for Applicants to PhD Programs

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by DrClinPsyAdvice, Jan 22, 2008.

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  1. PrisonPsych

    PrisonPsych 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    you could just make your own post, or you could perhaps put it in the "what are my chances" thread.
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  3. myopicdreams


    Apr 1, 2010
    Hi and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions here.

    I am a 34-year-old nontraditional student who is currently working to apply to research PhD programs this fall, for 2011 enrollment. I enrolled in a MFT track MA program (at a professional school) this past fall and have really found that I am much more interested in research, writing, and teaching than I am in being a therapist. The problem is that I am really unsure as to how I will look to admissions committees at PhD programs.

    Stats: GED, CC from 1993-2000 honors with 3.6GPA, State university 2004-2008 graduated summa cum laude from the honor's college with a 3.81 GPA and BA in interdisciplinary studies (creative writing and photography). Honor's thesis project was creation of a poetry class in the county jail with full 6-week curriculum and a lit review of research showing the efficacy of creative arts programs in reducing recidivism. During my undergrad I was published heavily in our university literary journals (peer-reviewed) and newspaper, won several writing awards and competitions, and was accepted into 2 juried art shows for my photography. I am currently starting my 3rd quarter of MA, have a 3.92 GPA, am working on 2 lines of research under mentorship from the sole research guy in the program, and have no other research experience to speak of. my practice GRE, with no prep at all, was 710v and 500q so I anticipate being able to raise the scores quite a bit (at least the q) before I have to take the gre in october or november. I will also take the GRE psychology subject test.

    So I guess that my stats are not exceptional and in some ways might be a bit low, but I wonder if my fairly adventurous and interesting path and experiences might be looked on favorably by the admissionss committee. Some of the more unique things I have done include driving a taxi, in top-murder city of St. Louis, for two years, I took a vow of ascetism and celibacy for 3 years (as an experiment) to see if it would affect my artistic output as much as many historically great artists have claimed (it did but the cost, in terms of social grace and dating skills, was greater than the return), and have been a freelance (hobbyist-professional) fashion photographer since 2000.

    My biggest hobby is researching to learn about whatever my present questions require and I am looking forward to using my PhD to live a wonderful life of finding and answering questions, teaching and mentoring fascinating students, and writing works for both the academic world and for those outside of the ivory tower.

    Do you think that my eclectic background is more likely to help or hurt me? How much, if at all, should I talk about what I've experienced and learned from my various adventures? And do you think it is possible for me to be an attractive candidate for a competitive program, with my stats, for the fall app cycle? I will be applying to Stanford, Berkeley, and UC-Santa Cruz, if that helps.
  4. ILGirl


    Jan 22, 2010
    The professor is no longer answering questions on this thread. Stick with the thread you've already posted.
  5. PsyD hopeful

    PsyD hopeful 2+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    First off, thank you so much for helping us all out with this thread! It is immensely helpful.

    I have a few questions that I would like to ask, but I must first describe my situation first.

    I am a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines who was born and raised in Chicago. I moved out of the country in the 6th grade and continued my studies here in the Philippines. Graduated with honors and a BA in Psychology from the University of the Philippines.

    Now for my questions:
    1. Will I be judged the same as any other applicant? Or would I be considered an international student? I do plan on practicing in the US afterwards.

    2. I have neither any "professional" research nor clinical experience to speak of. Will I absolutely have to get some before applying? I plan on doing so first thing when I get back to the states, but if I were to apply without much experience this December, would that be short of suicide?

    3. Will I have to take the TOEFL?

    Thanks so much and more power to you!
  6. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    I'm not DCT, but this is an interesting question.

    1. I would expect that you would be considered an international student in some ways (you went to a foreign university) but you might still be eligible for federal aid. That's gonna be sticky at best. Your US citizenship should make you eligible for US student aid though. So you'll be somewhat of an anomaly both an international student and a regular student as well.

    2. Yes, you will need (more than likely) clinical or research experience.

    3. Is English your native language? If it is, since you are both a US citizen and if you speak fluent English, probably not.

    Here are my thoughts, if you are fluent enough to score 600 or better on the GRE Verbal, I would probably assert that it's ridiculous to suggest that you need to take the TOEFL for three possible reasons... 1. You are a native English Speaker, 2. You are a US citizen, and 3. Your GRE score shows you have mastery of the English language. If you are weak however in your GRE verbal score, the TOEFL score could provide ammunition that as a non-native language you are at a disadvantage that has nothing to do with your capacity to be a successful graduate student. In other words, I think you can play this either way to be honest.

    Good luck.

  7. PsyD hopeful

    PsyD hopeful 2+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    thanks so much for the reply.. Although it took me months to realize that you did so.. But yes, I am a native speaker of english.
  8. mixolyd

    mixolyd 7+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    I'm sure this has been asked before.. I apologize in advance.

    Does research experience have to be related to the area I want to research in?

    I'm pretty interested in the military clinical track at USUHS (considering military so I can retire early). I might also apply to other schools with a more clinical focus, though I want to focus on therapy... I won't be applying to Psy.D programs because I do want to do some research. So the schools I will be applying to will probably have an equal balance between research/clinical or maybe more emphasis on clinical.

    My area of interest is uncertain, it might be focusing on mindfulness or some other method and treatment of serious disorders like PTSD and anxiety disorders and maybe even depression. I'm very interested in the treatment of serious mental issues. I just got an opportunity to volunteer as an assistant for a professor who focuses on evolutionary and social psychology -- mating behaviors and sexual attraction. Not related at all to what I would be researching in grad school.

    I would be applying next year so by the time I apply, I'll have at least a year of research experience. Right now I am starting on 2 projects and its in the data collection stage but I want to stay and be involved in all stages, possibly even help him present/publish.

    Does it matter that the research topic I'm involved in has really no relevance to my desired research area? Do schools just want you to have research experience or expect you to already have some experience researching the topic you're interested in focusing on for your thesis?

    Thank you for your time :)
  9. Luthien


    Jul 30, 2010
    Ok, just saw the thread is closed. Thanks a lot for the help!
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  10. banana412


    Aug 29, 2010

    Could you tell me the strength of my application with the following scores and experience? The school I'm looking to apply to is Drexel.

    I am a double major psychology and neuroscience with a minor in chemistry.
    GPA: 3.72 (Psychology GPA: 3.92, Neuroscience GPA 3.83)
    GRE: First time (1210), Second time (1360, V-610, Q-750)

    I have two years research experience in a lab setting.
    I have a year research experience under two neuropsychologists (both clinical and research experience).
    In the near future I will have first authorship of a paper, present at a conference, and graduate with departmental honors in neuroscience.
    I have tutoring experience with emotionally disturbed adolescents.
    I have one strong letter of recommendation and two others that are relatively good.

    What types of schools am I looking at in all honesty?

    Thank you!
  11. GreenPsych

    GreenPsych 2+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    As an fyi Dr.ClinPsyAdvice is no longer responding to this thread. Also you would be better off placing this in the WAMC (what are my chances thread). Further, you should apply to far more than 1 school. Your chances, as with anyone, are greatly diminished by applying to only one program. Shoot for 10-15 schools with a strong research fit.
  12. UhOh

    UhOh 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2009
  13. Yaspsych

    Yaspsych 5+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Hi Professor!

    I had a question regarding the individual GRE subtest scores. Most Clinical Ph.D. programs tend to list higher average quantitative scores compared to the verbal scores of their admitted students. The last time I took the GRE, I got 700 Verbal and 660 Quantitative. This puts me pretty high for the verbal percentile, but for my quantitative score I'm at a lame 61%. My question is -- how often do programs take individual subtest scores into consideration, and is a lower quantitative score considered a red flag?

    My second question is unrelated and pretty general: are there particular fields within clinical psychology that are more competitive than others? For example, do professors who study depression typically get more applicants requesting them compared to professors studying forensics?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read through this and answering our questions. I'm sure everyone on this thread (and others) is incredibly grateful. I was grateful just reading this forum!
  14. Student4Life0


    Jul 7, 2010
    I don't think he reads this thread anymore.
  15. Yaspsych

    Yaspsych 5+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Thanks, I saw that after I posted :/
  16. GreenPsych

    GreenPsych 2+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    You will get a better response if you post in the WAMC thread.
  17. psychstudent9

    psychstudent9 5+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2010
    I am an undergraduate at an ivy league university who will be applying to Clinical Psychology PhD programs next year. At my university, I have been a Research Assistant in a Social Psychology lab for two years, and have been offered the position of Lab Manager. While this is a great opportunity, it would prevent me from gaining experience in Psychiatric Research, which would be more relevant to my clinical goals. From an admissions standpoint, would it be preferable to take this added responsibility of lab manager, thereby sacrificing a summer internship in Schizophrenia research?

    Thanks! You're help is sincerely appreciated!
  18. psich

    psich 2+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    I think we need to post a big sign on this thread that says that the Dr. is no longer answering questions.
  19. krisrox

    krisrox 7+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2009

    Please redirect all inquiries to the appropriate thread :)
  20. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    MOD NOTE: Since DrClinPsyAdvice is no longer responding to this thread, I am going to close it. Please post all inquiries about viability and your application to the WAMC: What Are My Chances thread. -t4c

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