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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. scienceisbeauty

    scienceisbeauty 2+ Year Member

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    Hi Dr. ClinPsyAdvice,

    Again thanks for being so kind as to answer our questions. It's much appreciated. I have 5 (yes 5) questions. :p

    My first question follows along the lines of ducle7's question.

    #1 I'm very much interested in becoming a professor as well as a clinician. So, I was wondering: how does one's grad school placement affect where one gets a Post-Doc placement? Because I want to do both, is it better for me to apply to equal emphasis grad schools or ...?

    My second question(s) have to do with a more "appearance of CV" aspect:

    #2 Is it 'normal' to put one's GPA on one's CV? Is it recommened/not recommended - does it even matter?
    #2b When listing one's awards and scholarships - should one put the amount of the scholarship along with the title or does the title suffice? I've heard two conflicting things: that the title is enough and that I need to put the dollar amount so that they know that the award had a cash element to it

    My third question concerns Personal Statement do/don'ts advice:

    #3 I have been told that it's a bad bad idea to propose a research project in one's PS. But then I've been told if I can find some new and creative ways to link two concepts together - that it's a fine idea to propose a research project. Which is right?

    My fourth question has to do with the contacting of faculty members

    #4 I plan to apply in 08 to start in 09. How soon can I contact faculty to ask if they'll be accepting new students? Can I contact the professor in the summer? I actually really really feel like my research interests match precisely a particular professor -- I'm actually even tailoring the current research work I do, so that it's even more reflective of a good match btwn myself and this professor. HOWEVER, I theoretically have the option of doing other research work that I'm also interested in but matches with a different professor -- I want to do the research work that best suits the professor I'll be applying work with, but it would be pointless (somewhat) to do that if they aren't even accepting students. What do you suggest? When's an ok time to contact them?

    My fifth question has to do with your answer to my last question re: the particular Psych courses taken in one's schooling

    # 5 Would it look bad to take a lower year course (say 2nd year course) in one's last few courses that will be looked at by grad schools? If I were to take a course in this upcoming summer (July 08) that's a 2nd year course (I'll be applying starting Sept '08), would they wonder why I did that ? Or would they not care?

    Thanks so so very much!
     
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  3. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Here are two threads worth checking out in regard to ranking:

    Clinical Psychology Rankings (Multiple Studies)

    Program Rankings
     
  4. Duckygirl

    Duckygirl Back on the saddle 5+ Year Member

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    Dear DrClinPsyAdvice~
    What if one's clinical experience was rather extensive, I mean in terms of it being an advantage or plus for an applicant? I understand that as an undergrad, student rarely have authentic clinical experiences for the reason aforementioned, but- what about someone who has spent a couple of years out of school working in a clinical setting? What about someone who has worked as a mental health technician (under a licensed, practicing clinician) and performed over 1,000 hours of assessment, and in addition, about half of that time, assisting with group therapy?
    And I know this must be fairly uncommon, but what about an applicant working in largely clinical setting conducting one's own empirical research, say on assessments or therapy outcomes? I know it's not like working in a productive university department lab, but what if a person doing research on his own in a clinical setting was actively working to conduct, publish, and present?
     
  5. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    #1. A post doc will have much more to do with how well you did in grad school and your internship then it will *which* grad school. In grad school, the most important task is research. So, when you apply to internship and post doc, your research productivity can be used as a sign of how well you did. Of course, internships also will look at your clinical competencies, and this will be determined by your letters of recommendation and specific prac experiences. In short, the post doc process involves many different types of possible positions that are filled based on many different types of qualification. But how well you did in grad school, no matter which school you went to, will be the most important factor.

    #2. Does not matter whether you put GPA on the CV. Usually people don't because it is not necessary. The amount of a fellowship also does not need to go on a CV. Seems unnecessary.


    #3. It is a great idea to talk about your understanding of the literature and perhaps even suggest some possible connections, hypotheses, theories. Proposing a whole project seems a bit much.


    #4. A lot of profs don't know whether they will be accepting students until very soon before the admissions process. They may be waiting on grant funding or a departmental budget decision to know. It is probably not a great idea to tailor one's experiences to a specific professor too much. They may prefer a student who will take them in new directions, or they may have begun working on something with a slightly different angle but have not yet published in the area or updated their website. In short, you should do what YOU are most interested in and explore your OWN interests!
    Don't over think this.


    #5. Doesn't matter at all.
     
  6. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Not a problem at all. I can't imagine someone having too much experience. As for conducting one's own research, that is fine as long as it is supervised by a researcher who can help the student make it the best project it can be. Working on one's own shows independence but also suggests that there may not be a lot of mentorship going on.
     
  7. aka42

    aka42

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    Dear DrClinPsyAdvice,

    To echo everyone, thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions! We really do appreciate it. I have 3 questions I was wondering if you could possibly answer and they all relate to interviews.

    1. I have a low GPA (3.1-ish) but have nevertheless gotten a couple of interviews. Should I expect to defend my GPA at my interviews or will it be overlooked since I'm past the sorting stage? I'm worried because honestly I don't have a sob story or specific reason to explain...I just didn't do so hot my freshman and sophomore years.

    2. In our personal statement, everyone explains their research interests although often in a broad manner. At the interview stage, how in-depth should students be concerning their future research? Should we have our own project ideas ready to bring to the table with backing literature and hypotheses or will professors just be expecting us to work off of what they are studying in their own lab?

    3. Finally, just from your experience what are some things students have done to shoot themselves in the foot at interviews?

    Thanks again!
     
  8. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I've interviewed people in the past for my program and I've definitely seen a few common mistakes. Some people come off as too sure of themselves/arrogant, and do not seem like they would gel in an environment that requires people be open to learning and sharing ideas. Other people have done a poor job of presenting themselves, whether they don't speak enough or they just don't give clear answers. As an applicant, you aren't expected to know exactly what you want to do, but you better be able to speak to your interests and show that you've taken some time to look further, and understand what each area entails. The final mistake is not having at least a handful of good questions to ask during the process. I could always tell when someone was completely winging it, and that isn't someone I'd particularly want to be stuck with if we were doing group work and/or had deadlines.

    So in short: flexibility, communication, and proper planning.
     
  9. childphdapp

    childphdapp 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks again for all of your feedback. I was wondering if you could provide some insight on whether programs will ask what schools (a) you applied to (b) have received interviews for and/or (c) have been offered admission to during a formal in-person interview.

    I have received a good amount of interviews and have had the awkward "I'm sorry I can't make it on X day because I've already committed to interviewing at X school" -- things have worked out so far in that I can still visit most of the campuses, but one of the schools did ask me who their competition was (over the phone). Does this stuff also come up at the actual interviews and does it ever look BAD that you have a good amount of interviews?

    My concern is that some schools might think I am considering TOO many schools and therefore might not offer me admission because they don't think I will accept because I have received an interview at a more prestigious institution.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance ...
     
  10. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    #1 - you probably won't be asked about the gpa at the interview. as you say, you already have been selected based on credentials. now you are just being evaluated on match

    #2 - this is an important and tricky question. It is expected that your research interests will become better formed throughout the application process, so some level of specificity is good. However, you don't want to have the title for your Dissertation already! This varies a lot by professor, but I believe that some general familiarity with the literature in your area of interest, and some sense of what interests you on a specific level is good. This should be balanced with an openness to the current research in the lab so you can benefit from the new environment and build upon ongoing efforts. Having broad interests and just saying that "everything sounds great - you are so excited - it all would be of interest" is too broad, and coming up with your own idea that is completely independent and dismissive of ongoing projects in the lab is, in most cases, too specific.

    #3 - have many, many questions prepared to ask!!!! you will be leading most of these interviews rather than answering questions asked of you. Asking questions is a sign of interest and of an educated consumer in this process. You can convey flexibility in your responses to info you get, but ask detailed questions about your training opportunities, career paths commonly taken after grad school, mentor style, etc.

    Some applicants shoot themselves in the foot also by coming off a bit entitled, rude to students and staff, or just generally so nervous that they forget to express some excitement and enthusiasm.
     
  11. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It is indeed very awkward when people ask those kinds of questions. Usually, they are not doing it to make you feel uncomfortable, but rather to determine, 1) are you applying to other like-minded programs (i.e., are you a match to this kind of program; 2) what is their competition for getting you when it comes to offer time. It is never a bad thing to have too many interviews. A competitive applicant will get lots of attention in this process, and it just a sign of you being awesome.

    I'd answer these questions with some confidence, but also with a statement about why the specific program you are interviewing at has some special qualities that make you interested. You should not lie or tell everyone that they are your #1, but you can identify a strength of each program and offer some reassurance that you are seriously considering it. If you are not, turn down the interview and let someone else take your slot!
     
  12. childphdapp

    childphdapp 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks, that was very helpful!

    In your response to aka42 regarding questions to ask during interviews, you suggested asking interviewers/POI about their mentoring style. This is a question I wanted to ask at interviews but when I was practicing w/ my supervisor (she has 30 years faculty experience, but is not in a departmental position -- she takes interns/post-docs in her position) and she advised me not to ask that question because some people might find it off-putting and not even know how to respond. What do you think about that? I think it is true that the best person to ask about a POI's mentoring style is their current graduate students ... so should I avoid asking that to the POI him/herself?

    Thanks again.
     
  13. dlpfc

    dlpfc 2+ Year Member

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    Dear DrClinPsyAdvice,

    I think I have a rather unusual question for you. There is a slight chance that if I get any acceptances, I may have to turn all of them down due to a personal matter preventing me from starting grad school in '08. In this case, I would definitely reapply the following year to a lot of the same POIs. Do you think that if I reapply to a POI who I had rejected an acceptance from the previous year, my chances of being considered will go out the window? Also, please note that during this year in which I would not be attending grad school, I would be improving my application with a full-time RA position.

    Your help is very much appreciated!
     
  14. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It is true that students will be the best resources for finding out about a faculty member's mentoring style. As for faculty responses to this question, this is a great example of how much variability there is in faculty member's preferences and styles during the interview process. Many faculty would find this to be a perfectly appropriate question - you will be working together for 4+ years and it will be important to know whether there is a good fit in the working styles between the student and mentor (level of structure, availability, independence, etc). But some faculty may not have a strong sense of their style and may be thrown by the question. The bottom line is to ask the questions that are important to you worry less about the strategy of asking these questions. If it is a fit, then it will work out.
     
  15. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    If you feel like you may not be able to accept a position this year, you should withdraw or at least let faculty know up front. It is important not to 'hold up the system' by holding acceptances that other students may be waiting for. Faculty may deliberate strongly about a decision and some may be disappointed if the decision was made moot by a decision to delay for a year. On the other hand, many faculty will be understanding that a personal matter may change your availability for this year, and will be happy to reconsider you for next year. Bottom line: communicate very clearly throughout the process so that no one feels duped or surprised. If you handle things professionally and with consideration of how your decisions may affect others, then I would imagine that most people will be understanding and supportive (and happy to reconsider you next year).
     
  16. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Althouh I'm not DrClinPsyAdvice, I thought I might chime in here. When I was in graduate school, I know of at least 2 people who were in similar situations. In both cases (one at my graduate program and one at a similarly competitive research-oriented program), the faculty member was willing to defer the student's acceptance to the following year. In each case, the student notified the faculty early enough after their acceptance that they were able to arrange for this, and that the faculty member was able to offer the current spot to somebody else.

    Of course, this would be very program specific, and funding specific, but it is not unheard of.
     
  17. LilBunny

    LilBunny 5+ Year Member

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    Hi

    I have a question regarding formalities for offers. This is for developmental psych programs. I received a call last week from my POI at a school with an offer for admission. I enthusiastically thanked him and set up a time to discuss at a later date. This is very early on in the process and I have interviews with 2 other schools. What is the proper way to tell my POI that I can't make a decision yet. Its definitely a school I would go, if the financial aid is sufficient. I know its not appropriate to hold on to more than one offer at a time, however, if I were to get accepted to one of the programs I will be interviewed at, then I would relinquish their offer. Is there any appropriate way to put the final decision on hold?

    Thanks!
     
  18. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

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    I'm not sure if developmental has a different timeline than clinical, but I believe they HAVE to keep any offers open until April 15th unless the applicant turns them down.

    I'd just inform them you are still waiting to interview at other programs and cannot make a decision until you have seen the other programs. That's what I did - its expected so I don't think anyone would take it badly. If anything, I'd be a little worried if a student accepted right away even if they DID have other interviews since its pretty hard to know what school should actually be your first choice before visiting. Even had I gotten into Yale or Wisconsin-Madison I'd have waited to interview with say - Montana (not to pick on them) before committing to an acceptance.
     
  19. hopelesspsych

    hopelesspsych

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    Professor,

    I have a little bit of a sob story for you: I graduated from a reputable undergrad institution (Canadian) with an honors degree, 3.84 GPA (3.91 in psych), 710 psych GRE and 1240 GRE (ouch, I know), I also have one poster and 2 publications under my belt.

    I applied to 10 American phd clinical programs and 1 Canadian. So far I have only received 2 interviews, one which I alreadly bombed horribly. My question for you is should I throw in the towel for this year and make plans for next year (internship applications, etc). This is a huge shock to me as I had fully planned on starting grad school next year. My next interview is at a fairly top-notch school and my chances for getting in are slim to none. Should I bother to spend the money on flight and accomodations to go out there (it will be quite expensive).

    Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
     
  20. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    At that point, it is more about fit. You made the big cut and will now have an opportunity to show them that you are a good fit for the program and your POI.

    Look at the counter side, would you want to wonder if you gave up an opportunity to attend a top-notch program because of the initial cost?
     
  21. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    Hi Dr.ClinPsyAdvice:

    Thank you for being such a help to students on this forum. I have no questions right now as I look through others' posts, but I just wanted to leave a note of my appreciation.
    I can see that others feel very lucky to have you.

    I'll post a question soon - I'm sure :)
     
  22. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

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    Yes, yes you should. Schools don't invite unqualified candidates for interviews. Likely the reason you didn't get many invites is that your GRE didn't make the cut - we have similar credentials (except I didn't have publications) and I applied 13 places and only got 3 invites.

    Go, definitely go. If you want to justify the cost of flying out there, tell yourself its probably less than the cost of reapplying next year;) It obviously doesn't guarantee you'll get in, but the interview is basically starting over anew. My credentials weren't nearly as good as some of the folks I know applied to my lab, but I got accepted over them.

    And don't fret about a bad interview. Even the best interviewer will have an occasional bad interview - it could have just been a lousy fit. Or maybe the school is lousy at interviewing people;) Its not you, its them!
     
  23. rollomayfan

    rollomayfan 2+ Year Member

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    hopelesspsych,

    I'd echo everyone else's advice and go -- even if, as they say in the book "Getting In", you need to borrow money. Just go.

    Keep in mind that just because your GREs/GPAs aren't the highest, it doesn't mean you don't stand a chance. Your statement of purpose counts for a lot, as well as your clarity of research direction and career goals, and even your research experience.

    From what I've read and learned on this forum, they're just looking for a good match -- so go there and convince them you're a good match.
     
  24. kyril

    kyril 5+ Year Member

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    Hello DrClinPsych,

    Thanks again for your time and effort!

    Here's my question - I have heard/read about POI's and other professors asking applicants during the interview what the first sentence of their dissertation would be (Clinical Psych PhD programs). What is your opinion on asking a question like this?

    Because I'm not sure if I even feel honest preparing an answer to this question (I'm getting ready for interviews). I have a research area, specific questions, even, that I would be interested in investigating, and a population that I am committed to working with, but honestly, I hope to be influenced by the faculty I work with as well as my clinical training. I don't presume, with just a BA and a few years of research experience, to know what my dissertation will be before I have any advanced training. Perhaps I should start presuming?

    I come from an arts background, and I can't imagine being asked what your MFA project would be, although one might be expected to know the concepts, ideas, forms, and even processes you plan to investigate throughout the program. Research wise, I am at that place.

    Many thanks, again,

    K
     
  25. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Sorry - I do not know much about Developmental. But my understanding is that an offer is good until April 15. Hopefully anyone extending an offer to you before then knows that you may consider the offer until then.

    But definitely check with someone developmental to be sure that this is true.

    Good luck!
     
  26. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It only takes 1 interview to get in! Cheer up - the next one may work out very well! They clearly are interested in you!

    If it doesn't work for this year, get those GREs up and try again. Sounds like you are on the right track!
     
  27. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    THANKS!
     
  28. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    That sounds like an awful question for an interviewer to ask, and for exactly the reasons that you specify. Don't worry about this at all - it seems like an urban legend. And if you should happen to get asked such a question, you can respond with the very sentiment and reasoning that you described here. It is well stated and conveys a terrific openness to learning in grad school.
     
  29. EquestriAnn

    EquestriAnn 2+ Year Member

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    DrClinPsyAdvice, I am actually not applying for a clinical PhD, but rather Behavioral Neuroscience in the Psychology Department, but I think you could still be of assistance if you would be so kind. If a person has a significant discrepancy in their application, should they address it during an interview? I have great research experience, LOR, SOP, pretty good GREs, but a low GPA due to my first two years. During those two years I was recovering from an eating disorder, and then I changed my major and my grades went way up. I think that if I get asked directly about my GPA, I should just tell the truth and emphasize that I recovered 3 years ago and never relapsed and am just doing phenomenally, but I'm not sure what to do if they don't ask. I feel like I should mention it just because it explains the only red flag in my application, but I don't want it to be used against me. Since I don't want to be a clinician, do you think it is better to briefly and positively explain what happened? I have 2 interviews so far, one of them at a school that I am really interested in, the other not as much. I am just worried that my POI at the great school is interviewing many other people with high GPAs and he might choose them over me and I want to do everything in my power to not let that happen! I really appreciate any advice :D
     
  30. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Once you have been selected for the interview, they will no longer be evaluating you on your credentials. At this stage, it is mostly about your match to the program and advisor. I doubt that this issue will come up during your interview, but if it does, an honest, brief answer should be fine.

    Sometimes applicants think that there is an issue that stands out as a giant red flag on their application, but honestly, it may go completely unnoticed by the folks reviewing it. It's important to remember that any perceived weakness is in the context of many, many strengths. Don't focus too much on your 1 weakness and instead focus on all of the great accomplishments and strengths you have that got you the interview in the first place
     
  31. kiwish

    kiwish 2+ Year Member

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    Everyone should read that twice, from interviewing people all day long today... the ones who were worried about their interview made me worried.
     
  32. Hain Adam

    Hain Adam 2+ Year Member

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    I have another question. When it comes to programs that accept or reject people based on applications alone (the ones that don't have interviews), what do they base their decisions on? Do GRE scores and GPAs have a higher weight in those programs' admission decisions?
     
  33. bluelight44

    bluelight44 2+ Year Member

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    Dear DrClinPsyAdvice :

    Thank you very much for your support and help at this forum. I also have a question about interview:

    It is said that the interview is usually used to verify whether the candidates and professors are a good "match", so my question is what this "match" points to specifically? If the research interest is not necessarily exactly the same, so would the "match" thing involve theoretical orientation, personality, life value, attitudes, background, etc?

    Any opinion is appreciated!
     
  34. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Yes. All of those things play a role.

    Just imagine that you are stuck on a desert island for 4-5 years and you have to co-exist with 2-3 other people. It'd be really helpful if they could get along, shared some similar ideas, while still being able to be their own person....since an exact clone could get annoying. It'd be helpful if you spoke the same 'language', but it is also good if you could communicate with others if they visited your island. Skill sets are important too. There are certain ones that are universally helpful, and others that may be a niche area that could be a benefit to the group. Resources are important, so anything you can bring with you helps, but also being able to gather other resources helps.

    So in a nut shell......try and get prepared for some island living. :D
     
  35. brightness

    brightness 7+ Year Member

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    I have two questions:

    1) Does it matter what field you get your research experience in? Right now I am working in an animal behavior lab that does a lot of strict behaviorist research. I'm working as a lab tech; weighing animals, putting them into the skinner boxes, ect. Next semester I was planning to take a direct U-grad research with this professor, doing some type of reinforcement something or other research....(I haven't been doing this for that long!)

    2) Does research done in classes count for anything? I am taking an applied research methods course where we do an original research project, but it is not officially IRB approved (it stays on campus so it doesn't have to be IRB approved)
    Also, I am taking a "Directed Undergraduate Research" in which we create an original research project. If I get 'real' IRB approval, will it be possible to publish this? Would anyone want to publish something from an undergrad? I'm just wondering if it wouldn't count because its a class....
    3) How do you decide what your interests are? I'm interested in assessing developmental disorders, particularly cognitive disorders, as well as substance abuse/eating disorders. Is that specific enough?
     
  36. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Yes and No. Most important is that you have research, however, if you apply to work with someone who uses an animal model you will be at a huge advantage. Obviously anytime you have experience doing exactly what a lab is currently working with you add value. Other times, let's take acting as a research assistant doing MRI work and they have no one with that background, it can be helpful to bring in people who understand different technologies within the field.

    NOPE. Really it doesn't count. (My opinion)

    Undergrads can and do publish, if you publish it's a big deal. So yes, work hard, get IRB approval and all of a sudden you have real research that can translate into at least a poster presentation if done well.

    DCT will have a better answer for this, you probably want to pick one area as a primary interest area and other as adjuncts. You will want to have some examples of research questions that you might be interested in pursuing. An example would be how emotional states affect eating behaviors and do these states contribute to the etiology of eating disorders? It doesn't have to be super specific, but something fairly general. Another example would be stating that you are interested in developing assessment instruments for the earlier detection of autism or ADD/ADHD. Not really specific but they are ideas that you can build a program of research around.

    Mark
     
  37. brightness

    brightness 7+ Year Member

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    Thank you. :)
    So you are saying that working with animal models is GOOD? Our lab works with rat models of ADHD and also addiction to alcohol/stimulants. I figured since it was working with animals it wouldn't count for much in applying to clinical programs, so I wasn't sure if the experience I was getting was worth much.
    My research next semester (which is an independent study class for credit, but not really a "class" in any structured sense) will be either with the rats or the pigeons...but I haven't had a chance to really talk to the prof to see what options I have for research.
     
  38. thewesternsky

    thewesternsky 10+ Year Member

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    It depends what kind of research you're interested in conducting in grad school. Mark was saying that it could be a great advantage if you're applying to clinical profs who do animal research.

    ANY research experience is better than no research experience, but I'd imagine it would help if your research experience leads logically into what you'd like to pursue in grad school. The DCT will hopefully be able to give you a more confident response. :)
     
  39. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 22, 2008

    yup- GRE, GPA, Research experience, and basic match to program philosophies usually play a big role in initial decisions
     
  40. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Yes, the match can include any of these. Typically, the advisor has some ongoing research. It will be important to know whether the student feels like this is a project they would like to contribute to. Then, it is also good to know what the students' own interests are and whether these are directions that the advisor would like to pursue.

    Match on the program values, orientation, and style also is important.

    And perhaps most intangible is the match between the student and advisor personal styles. You will be working together for 4 years or more, and you want to pick someone you work can work effectively with and who meshes well with the vibe of the lab
     
  41. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #1. Some advisors look for applicants who have general research experience and understand the basics of the scientific method, standardization, etc. Some look for folks with a background in their own area of work. It really varies quite a bit.


    #2. Any research counts, if you are learning from it. Not sure where people got the idea that applicants must have pubs or presentations. That is very rare and typically is not reflective of the student's independent work anyway. So, this is not a must for a research experience to 'count.' Anything that helped you learn, learn to think, and learn about science counts, and should be described as such in a personal statement.

    #3. As you read articles and look over prior work in a specific area, you might find that you have your own questions and ideas. Cultivate these ideas and think about what study you would most love to do if you had unlimited resources. That is often a good exercise for determining your interests. They don't have to be too specific, but a little more specific that what is written above would be good.
     
  42. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 19, 2007

    Lots of great researchers and theorists have used animal models. I could provide you a list, but it would be extensive. Names like Skinner, Cooper, Festinger, Schachter, Miller, Young... The list goes on and on!

    A fair amount of contemporary work is still done using animal models. So, yes, there is nothing wrong with research using animal models. Look at articles by Dr. Neil Grunberg for examples of a lab that is built around the animal model with an eye to human application. If you can get some work with human subjects, it would provide a more rounded application, but the nature and results of your research may be more important than the research model itself.

    Mark

    PS - In a note of clarification, I was referring to projects done in typical "research methods" classes that nearly all psychology undergraduates take as "not counting" because from my observation most programs want more research experience than this.
     
  43. neuronerd1

    neuronerd1 5+ Year Member

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    Feb 16, 2007
    Dear Dr. ClinPsyAdvice,

    Thank you so much for answering our questions! This is a big help for everyone since the process is so complicated.

    I have already interviewed at my #1 school almost 3 weeks ago now and I have not heard back from my POI. I really felt like it was a great fit between me and the program/POI. Is it too early to contact this professor? Any adivce about what to say in a post-interview inquiry email?

    Thanks!
     
  44. psyclova

    psyclova

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Dear. Dr:

    Thank you so much for your time!

    My question is: what are some kisses of death to avoid during an interview for both phd/psyd??
     
  45. immortalavalamp

    immortalavalamp 7+ Year Member

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    Dec 18, 2007
    There's actually a really funny article on that. http://www.humboldt.edu/~campbell/GradSchoolAdviceArticle.pdf

    Mods: If you don't like the link, please delete.

    I know I'm not DrClinPsyAdvice, but it's a fun read.
     
  46. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    21,138
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    The Beach
    Faculty
    I don't have a problem with the link, it looks interesting.
     
  47. Boston2k

    Boston2k 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 5, 2008
    I wanted first to thank you for coming here and answering questions in such depth. It's extremely noble of you, and I have found it very informative.

    I have a question for you. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was a teen, and it was the first thing that got me involved with psychology, and it's a major motivator for me to enter the field. However, I like statistics, reading, scientific debate, etc. - I could be an engineer, astronomer, or sports journalist if I weren't doing this.

    I know there's a huge aversion to the applicant who wants to "help people." How would be best to address this in the context of the ubiquitously-asked question, "why psychology"? I feel almost as if I have to hide my motivation as a former patient looking to become a treatment provider behind my interests in statistics/psychometrics and other reasons that would make me a good candidate for admission.

    Thanks again for answering questions here so thoroughly.
     
  48. dontknowitall

    dontknowitall 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 24, 2008
    New York, NY
    Hi Dr --

    Long time reader, first time writer!

    I have one paper that is in press with the PI I work with currently. I have an alternate theory about the data we found. I presented this to my PI and she disregarded it because it goes against some of her other grants/ work. When I am on an interview and my POI asks me to tell him/her about my publication should I bring up this alternate theory? The publication can be difficult to understand or at least difficult for me to explain at times because I don't have a good reason for why we found what we did. I feel this theory brings it together. However, I am afraid of doing this because I feel it may appear as if I am overly critical of my PI or somewhat rebellious or possibly arrogant that I would know more than such a well known researcher. However, I feel very strongly about my theory and I believe it is interesting and well thought out. What is your opinion of this? Thanks! My first interview is on Friday!

    Thanks again for being so generous with your time and advice!
     
  49. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    21,138
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    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    Faculty
    Here are some things I thought were worth mentioning.....


    There is a TON of good information in the document, some of it is obvious, other things are not as obvious.
     
  50. Hain Adam

    Hain Adam 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 15, 2006
    This statement was also very striking, because a lot of people do this:


    It’s a kiss of death when I read a personal essay
    that describes an applicant’s life-long goal of serving humankind
    and has a paragraph tacked on to the end that “personalizes”
    the essay for the particular school to which it was sent.
     
  51. brightness

    brightness 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 18, 2006
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Hey, Thank you DrClinPsy and everybody else who replied to me! You definitely gave me some more insight to this process; it is very complicated!!
     

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