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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. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    Hi Dr. ClinPsyAdvice,

    Was wondering...when one is applying to work with a specific prof, how concerned should one be about whether the prof is an assistant prof, associate prof, or full professor? What are the advantages/disadvantages to each do you think?

    Also, what would you think say, during interview to ask a professor about his or her research specifically -- as in, to ask something like 'what inspired you to come up with this particular theory X'? Or is that too "not about the school"?

    Thanks for your responses -- you're always so helpful!

    Ilovecows
     
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  3. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Tricky one! If you avoid the question, that also will be odd. So, be forthcoming (if asked directly), and make no apologies for it! I took a student once who had only 1 interview, and I am proud that I found the diamond in the rough! He is an awesome student, and I know that the reason for no other interviews could have been due to many, many other factors.
     
  4. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Actually, you will probably be asking (more than answering) more questions with the grad students. They ARE part of the interview process, so retain your professionalism. But also ask them about their experiences, pros and cons of the program, the advisor, etc. These are laid back interviews, but very important for you to get the info you need.

    As for the rank of your advisor....

    Pros of a Junior Person: they have lots of time for their students, they are motivated to publish a lot, they remember what it was like to be a student and are empathic, and they could become a rising star with you.

    There are many pros of a Senior person as well (experience, Star-Quality, resources, access to opportunities), but make sure they have some of the above pros too. A SuperStar who has no time for you and is greedy with opportunities is not going to help your career!
     
  5. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Tough one! I'd be as truthful, yet diplomatic as possible. If you can state your goals very clearly without saying anything negative about your current program, it would be best. In other words, your decision should be based on your goals and objectives more than about their limitations and weaknesses. Try practicing your pitch with some friends to help you find the most professional and diplomatic way to say this.
     
  6. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    See, I recall your saying that pubs are not that awesome. But then how is one supposed to distinguish a good applicant from a bad one?
    If after 3.5 some GPA and some 1200 GREs, doesn't make a difference, and if everyone has nice leters, and pubs are not that big of a deal....then what is it really that makes for a beautiful fit? The "perfect" applicant?
    Does it all come down to the personal statement?

    *So confused*!

    Ilovecows
     
  7. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    please see recent response on this same topic.

    as for asking about research, you can just ask, 'what have you been focusing on in your current research?'
     
  8. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    research experience and match!
    research experience and match!
    research experience and match!

    Very Important!!!!
     
  9. childphdapp

    childphdapp 2+ Year Member

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    Hi DrClinPsyAdvice,

    I had a few questions ... I recently got a rejection from a school and was really shocked because I thought the interview process went really well. In particular, interviews were scheduled to be 45 minutes, but both of my interviews lasted at least 1 hour and I thought I engaged my interviewers well. Looking back, I did notice that 1 professor kept going off topic (talking about his current students' achievements as well as some of the people we mutually know). Now I'm wondering if I wasted this valuable time "connecting" with this professor when I should have redirected him to my goals in grad school. How do you go about doing that?

    Expanding on that ... after reviewing your posts, I now realize I didn't sell myself well enough as an independent researcher -- when interviews are 20-30 minutes long, how do you convey independent ideas and show them that you will be a great graduate student (and not just a great RA pursuing graduate school too early)? I've noticed at a few interviews that the professors will gravitate towards one part of my letter/CV and will focus on that without giving me a chance to expand on my honors thesis or current research.

    Lastly, though I am trying my hardest to accept the earlier rejection, learn from it, and move on -- how do you suggest students cope with tough rejections with other interviews ahead? I don't want to be overly anxious/nervous at my upcoming interviews knowing that another top program already rejected me based on a poor interview.

    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  10. RileyG

    RileyG School of Hard Knocks 5+ Year Member

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    Hi DrClinPsyAdvice! I have another question.

    I received an interview invitation on February 3 for a school, but unfortunately I already had another interview scheduled for the same day and will have to do a phone interview. They said in person interviews are not required and were very open to doing a phone interview (the school is kind of in the middle of nowhere, so I am pretty sure they do alot of phone interviews). The professor who contacted me (who is not my POI) said they would get back to me "soon" (his word - he said soon) about arrangements for the phone interview. I haven't heard anything since February 3rd. Should I send him an email to check the status (it's been more than 2 weeks!) or just wait longer. The in person interviews are scheduled for early next week so maybe they are just waiting until those are over to do their phone interviews? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  11. ClinicalGal

    ClinicalGal 7+ Year Member

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    Hi DrClinPsyAdvice :)

    I was rejected from my top choice school, very bummed about it :( I was at least hoping for an interview because i had tons of email correspondence with the faculty member i wanted to work with - she also seemed very interested in my research and even wrote about how it would fit in with what she was doing.

    Unfortunately, i did not even recieve an interview. After the school extended interviews, i emailed the prof and asked her if i still had a shot - she said, unfortunately no...

    Is it inappropriate for me to contact her again to see what i can do to strengthen my application for next year? How can i ask this without seeming too forward (and thus wasting my time and money in applying again next year)

    Thanks so much!
     
  12. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    So sorry to hear the news. This is, indeed, very difficult to deal with.

    Remember that there are many factors outside of your control in this process, and many possible reasons for admission decisions that have nothing to do with you at all (e.g., funding, department politics, or even strengths that other applicants have that the prof didn't even realize they were looking for until they found it).

    To sell yourself as an independent scholar, it is sometimes good to ask questions about ongoing research, and then offer some ideas about what factors may be good to incorporate into the study design (e.g., Has anyone in the lab considered XX before?; Is this something that might be related to the XX theory? I wonder what it would be like to look at XX in this other population). These are the kinds of questions that help show your ability to think like a scientist.

    As for coping, remember that if you did not match there, then maybe it was not the place where you would have been happy. There is one thing worse than not getting into grad school: getting in and working with someone that you do not get along with. Now, that's 4-5 years of potential agony!
     
  13. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    You're right - they are probably so busy with the in-person interviews that they have not gotten to the phone interviews yet. An email now wouldn't hurt anything (it might convey serious interest!). But if you can wait a few days, that probably wouldn't hurt either!
     
  14. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    We may have talked about this issue before on this forum. The short answer is that you often can't get the type of specific advice you are hoping for when you ask for this type of post-rejection feedback. But if you do ask, maybe wait a little while until after the hectic part of the admissions season has passed.
     
  15. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    Was wondering: if someone has gotten all 80s and 90s throughout school-- would they see a 60/70 as something terrible if there were only one in one's last year? Is it worse because it's in one's last year? I'm just scared. I had a not nice prof for one course and I swear everyone said he was a mean grinch. The class average was 50.
    I am fearful he's going to screw over my life and chances.

    Thanxs,
    Ilovecows
     
  16. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    People rarely scrutinize the transcript - they just look at the overall GPA. Also, I am not sure why people always talk about their Psych GPA, because it rarely matters. The overall GPA is a measure of one's scholastic achievement.

    Perhaps more importantly, please take some caution as you move through this process to reduce your anxiety at every opportunity. This is a very stressful process, and it will be essential to quickly determine which aspects of your application you can control, and which you cannot. Although unsettling, it is important to let some of this play out on its own without becoming too fearful at each step. It will be good practice for grad school!
     
  17. deener84

    deener84

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    Hi Dr ClinPsyAdvice,

    Thanks SO much for your response re: the ranking of profs! Very good point about the pros and cons of both! Following from that response, I have a somewhat related question. Some schools require you to rank the professors you'd like to work with in your application, which I did for a school in particular. However, I now realize that I'd like to switch the professors I had ranked for 1 and 2, as I've heard really good things about professor 2 from people who have met her and her research is just as interesting to me (also prof 1 got his phd in 64 and is not publishing as much these days, which I hadn't thought about before). Would it be advisable to inform the professors this late into the game about my change of opinion or just wait and see who (if anyone) contacts me? I thought an email to prof 2 might also serve as a good reminder that I'm out there and very interested, because it is my first choice school and she is who i'd most like to work with (I found out the review process is rolling, which I wish I knew before submitting my app on dec 15th on the dot, and I haven't heard back about an interview yet, which might mean I didn't make the cut. However, sometimes they don't even interview you before accepting you (it depends on the professor), and since I'm abroad I don't know if that might be a factor as well).

    I'm scared that if I contact prof 2, prof 1 might get offended or something, since I don't know who is actually reviewing my application at the moment (it could be prof 1 and now I am hurting my chances, for example. Though i have a feeling it may be possible that he isn't taking anyone else this year.) I'm also not sure whether they'd appreciate being contacted before I have even been contacted for an interview, so I'm not sure what to do! I just want to do what I can to maximize my chances of getting an interview at this point! Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you again! :)
     
  18. lilies05

    lilies05 2+ Year Member

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    Thank you!

    ~lily
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  19. RileyG

    RileyG School of Hard Knocks 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks Dr! I will try to hold out a couple more days...
     
  20. horizonspsych

    horizonspsych

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    Hi,
    Thanks in advance for any words of advice you are able to offer me. I have a 3.34 gpa and I am interested in a phd programme. I am committed to pursuing this path and I've been involved in volunteer, internship, and research positions. However, I am a second semester junior and I am really worried about my low gpa. I feel as if I don't have a chance as many of the programs seem to list incoming gpas of 3.8 . I know there have been other posts about similar concerns over gpa and that the advice is often to pursue extra research positions. I was wondering about whether it is realistic to expect to overcome such a low gpa and how often that is possible? Does it help to invest time and money in a masters and if so what type of masters? Thank you.
     
  21. pointzerofive

    pointzerofive 2+ Year Member

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    Hello and thank for your diligence in responding to this thread.

    Currently, I'm in a clinical psychology M.A. program and I will be applying to clinical psychology PhD programs this fall. I have a 3.9 GPA and I am working on several research projects. Recently, we submitted a paper to a respectible neuropsychology journal and I am listed as third author. Interestingly, the 4th author of the paper is the professor over the lab at my #1 PhD program choice. I am also volunteering at a state vocational rehabilitation center for individuals with TBI. My practicum placement will be at Vanderbilt U next spring.

    Here is my concern. My undergraduate overall and psych GPAs are 2.9 and 3.6 respectively. My GRE is a 980, which I plan on taking again this summer before I apply to programs. However, during my undegraduate career I was on 4 research teams for a total of three consecutive years. One of those teams yielded a paper (in prep) where I am listed as 2nd author. At the same time, I also worked as a tech on a psychiatric inpatient unit which further solidified my passion for the field of clinical psychology.

    Taken together, how do you think admissions committes will view my application? Will they focus on my relatively low undergrad GPA and GRE score? Or will they see significant changes and motivation as evidenced through my M.A. GPA and research?

    Second, how should I address my shortcomings in my personal statement? I in no way wish to hide my relatively low GPA/GRE. It has been a long, bumpy road to get where I am and I wouldn't trade the experience (although, mybe some of the stress and tuition money would be nice to trade?).

    Last, how would you personally evaluate an application with the above data? Specifically, what really sticks out to you?

    Thank you again for your time! :)
     
  22. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I sent 4 recommendations to most schools, and I asked them if it would be a problem because I knew one of my best letter writers might not get his in on time. Nearly every single program stated that this was fine.

    So don't be fearful of throwing an extra letter at them. Every program that offered to interview me had all 4 letters of recommendation (14 programs).

    Mark
     
  23. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    The way to overcome a low GRE is two fold... Have a high final 2 year GPA, and have astronomical GRE's (something above 1400 ought to do it.) If you have a 3.4 GPA and a 1450 GRE, your GPA is not going to hold you back.

    I would rather have a 3.4 GPA and a 1450 GRE, than a 4.0 GPA and a 1300 GRE.

    Mark
     
  24. clinpsychapp

    clinpsychapp

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    Hi Dr. ClinPsych,

    Thank you so much for answering our questions! I have a question regarding interview bloopers. I may be over-thinking this one, but I am getting really nervous about a potential mistake I made at my interview this weekend.

    I interviewed at a place where I knew one of the grad students well because we were in undergrad together, and it was very natural for us to joke around and be generally friendly with each other.

    When I was waiting in the hall for one of my interviews, this grad student and his current mentor (who also happens to be the chair of the admissions committee) were standing out in the hall too. We were all sort of chatting, and then I decided that I had something really "witty" to say. I started to say it just as this professor also began to speak. We both stopped, and then me, being rather idiotic and a little nervous, continued to interrupt her, and the whole thing sort of fell flat, even though they both smiled and didn't seem overly put out by it.

    I didn't actually interview directly with this professor. All my actual interviews went very well (I thought). My POI told me that I was a perfect match with her current research. SO, am I totally anxious over nothing (and over something that I can't take back now anyway), or is there a possibility that something like this would reflect negatively on my application?

    I am really trying to hold back on asking my friend what he thought of the incident, because it seems somewhat inappropriate in light of the admissions process.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  25. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It does seem a little late in the process for PhD programs. I suppose an email expressing interest never hurts, however. I doubt that Prof #1 will be insulted. Good people are worth fighting for, and if they like you, they will recruit you anyway.
     
  26. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    You can submit more than 3, although 6 is a bit too many. For PhD programs, submit letters that will attest to your research experience. It probably doesn't matter whether these letters are from the recent past, or distant past, as long as you have at least someone who can discuss your current functioning.
     
  27. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    So in the last response, you very clearly emphasized that research experience and match were the most important features....
    But ... I was wondering, for myself...I have a ton of research experience, but in extremely diverse areas. Should I take an extra year and devote it soley to research that is similar to the stuff I'll be planning to work with in grad school or do you think...I'd be ok even if my research experience were all over the place?
    I know someone else asked a similar somewhat question.....but ...in this case it is deciding between applying nxt year or applying the year after...
     
  28. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    A Masters is a good way of demonstrating that you can engage (successfully) in grad level work. But these are usually general psychology masters programs and sometimes expensive.

    An excellent research experience with a very strong letter also can help. But if the GPA is very low, it still will be very hard to beat out all of the other applicants with higher scores.
     
  29. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It is very hard to answer this kind of question without all of the information. But to be perfectly frank, those GRE and GPA numbers would probably bode poorly in the admissions process. The best thing would be to have a professor who knows your research to make some personal contacts with your potential mentors and make a personal plea for you - explaining why you would be a great student. This happens all of the time and can really help people get a second look when normally they would be ruled out due to low scores
     
  30. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It will be fine! All of the terrific things about your application, your glowing letters or rec from respected people in the field, your positive interview experiences with other profs at that school, the excellent match, and the positive evaluation of you by your friend in the program will not be outweighed by one single awkward moment.
     
  31. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    This is a difficult decision to make, and one that you have to decide based on what feels right for you. If more research experience will help you clarify your interests and learn more, then it can be very worthwhile. But be careful about over-strategizing this process - the outcomes are based on so many factors outside your control! You will drive yourself crazy worrying about factors that ultimately may explain only 2% of the the variability in the outcome!!
     
  32. scienceisbeauty

    scienceisbeauty 2+ Year Member

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    I have a 3.54 GPA and I have one 65% in a course in my final semester. I have yet to take the GREs. I have a first-authored pub, letters that (I'm anticipating) will speak very highly of me. I have a lot of research experience.
    Is it worth my time to mention at all why I got a 65% in a course?
    I know you very recently responded to another poster that the transcript is rarely scrutinized, but say if it were...is it worth my time to explain the 65%?
    (I feel at ease admitting such a bad mark because the other person did and because this forum is private)!
     
  33. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    No, I would not call attention to it.
     
  34. Ilovecows

    Ilovecows 2+ Year Member

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    Hey Dr. ClinPsyAdvice,

    I was looking through this thread and your responses to me, as well as to others...and I realized just how much stress you took off this whole thing. I understand now how much is sometimes up to "chance" or "factors out of my control"....and that makes me feel ironically less tense. I just gotta do the best, rather, my best, instead of worrying about small little glitches - it's not a make or break thing. So thank you. Sincerely.

    - Ilovecows -
     
  35. Psych298

    Psych298 2+ Year Member

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    Dear Dr. ClinPsych,

    Thanks so much for answering all of our questions! I had a question about the proper etiquette for this situation. I got accepted into my first choice program and would like to accept the offer, but I have another interviewing coming up. Would it be ok to cancel the interview? If so how should I go about doing that?

    Thank you!
     
  36. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The way I handled this was to send an e-mail to whomever offered me the interview and let them know that I was accepting an offer to another university, but I wanted to thank them for considering me for their program, and to let them know that I would not be attending the interview, and hopefully another great candidate would be able to take my spot.....something to that effect. I'd probably follow-up with a phone call, just in case they don't check their e-mail as often....as it could help out the next person on the waitlist.
     
  37. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    I agree with what Therapist4Change said above. Perfect!
     
  38. SpoiledKiwi

    SpoiledKiwi 2+ Year Member

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    Hi Dr. ClinPsych,

    I noticed you mentioned in a previous post that it was common for advisors to put in a good word to their colleagues on behalf of their students. Do professors do this without you asking them to, if you mention you're applying to work with professors they know personally? Or would I have to ask? Even though I know my mentor thinks highly of me, I wouldn't know how to go about asking him to do such a huge favor for me.
     
  39. neuronerd1

    neuronerd1 5+ Year Member

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    Hi Dr.,
    Thank you for your advice on my last question. I emailed my POI and got some helpful news about my place on the waitlist (#1 and keeping my fingers crossed).

    Now, for my #2 school, I had a preliminary phone interview with a current grad student. It went well and she said that I should look out for a second preliminary phone interview call from another member of the lab. Only after this call could I be invited to interview in person. It's been more than a week since call #1 and I am starting to get anxious. I already emailed the current grad student that I talked to with thanks and times that would be good for the next call (a week ago). No reply. Should I email the POI or try to be more patient?

    Thanks so much!!!
    - NN
     
  40. AlairaK

    AlairaK 2+ Year Member

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    Hi, Dr. ClinPsy!

    I have a question for you about acceptances!

    I have been accepted to two schools so far (and one last interview coming up shortly), but am not sure about a few things in the process.

    School A: Enjoyed the program and people more thoroughly, was offered a substantial stipend.

    School B: Did NOT prefer the program to School A, but I believe it is more highly ranked, and I was offered between $2,000.00-5,000.00 MORE per year (the range depending on a fellowship for which I was nominated but which has not gone through).

    I have two questions regarding this.

    1) I have been advised by many people that I should consider calling School A, informing them that I WANT to attend their program, but was given a larger stipend by another university, and politely asking if there is anyway they could increase my offer. I am not sure if this is kosher? Is it bad form to attempt to negotiate a stipend?

    2) What are the most important factors in deciding upon a clinical Ph.D program? I am mainly interested in deciding which university will aid me in my professional career more greatly (as in internship matching, etc.) I have asked several people what factors into internship matching the most, and have received several different answers. Some say it is clinical experience, some say it is research and publications, other say it is the school ranking, and still some say that ranking is a non-issue entirely. I have no idea how to base my personal ranking of these two institutions academically. Obviously familial and regional factors play in, but how do I know which school will benefit ME more?


    thank you so much for all your help to everyone.
     
  41. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    1. No, it is not bad form to tell school A that you are having a tough time deciding and the School B offered you a larger stipend. You would like to know if there is anything else that you should consider prior to making your final decision. For instance, is there any flexibility in the stipend or are there other fellowships that you might be eligible for?
    (I am sure that DCT will tell you how to approach this better than I did.)

    2. The most important factor, assuming that both are quality institutions, is your happiness. I just talked to someone who dropped out of a Ph.D. program today because she simply wasn't happy and the $25k stipend plus full tuition remission was not enough to keep her there.

    3. Obviously if one School is Yale and the other is Dirtwarter College, yes, you might see a difference in career trajectory. Especially true if you want to pursue an academic career.

    Mark
     
  42. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    It will likely happen automatically. Profs talk about students just like students talk about profs! If you mention a strong interest, then hopefully the prof will do it for you. Asking them to do it may be a bit presumptuous.
     
  43. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    a polite, respectful note can't hurt
     
  44. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    There are many factors that should weigh into your decision, but $2000 should probably not be one of them. This is a training position, not a job. You are shooting for the opportunity to learn, rather than to get rich. While grad school can be expensive and it is difficult to live off of small stipends, it seems incredibly short sighted to make a decision at this point in one's career based on money.

    Which site will offer you the best training? This can be determined equally by: 1) the prestige level of the school, and thus the CV-value of that pedigree; 2) the type of training experiences available at that school, noting that prestige does not always equal good training, or good training in your interests; and 3) the mentor, including their reputation as well as your chance to get work done with them. If you maximize 1-2 of these three things and tank the third, you will end up worse off than if you went to a place that was 'OK' on all three. In other words, if you go to a great place and don't produce, that will reflect poorly on you. And if you go to a terrific place but don't get trained in your interests, you will be unhappy. Conversely, working with a great mentor and producing will overpower the reputation of the school.

    This is a decision that will affect the next 5 years of your life, and the trajectory of your career. Consider all of these issues very carefully because they will have an impact that lasts much longer than $2000 (including loan interest!).
     
  45. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    ps - i would not ask for a higher stipend at the initial place. you may mention that you are deciding between many factors and if they ask you to elaborate, you can. But even in this situation, asking for more money seems to communicate that your priorities are not in order in this process. (Of course, if it is a very expensive location and the stipend is low, that is more reasonable. But if it will not make a world of difference financially, then you risk looking like someone who equates salary with ego).
     
  46. lavalubby111

    lavalubby111 2+ Year Member

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    Feb 15, 2008
    I'm semi new...but I've been reading this thread. And I had asked before for someone to verify the DCT is the DCT -- this was done very nicely. Now, another question.
    Who is MARK?

    Isn't this a forum for asking a prof? Is Mark a prof but not a DCT? I'm confused. Why is there conflicting advice?

    LavaLubby111
     
  47. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    2,262
    19
    Nov 19, 2007
    Mark is just your average person, no one special. Feel free to ignore my advice. I'm just vocal. I'm just a first year graduate student in a clinical psychology program, my perspective is that I just went through this whole process twice, most recently about 1 year ago.

    I don't think the advice was all that conflicting. Happiness over the next 5 years and career trajectory being very much along the same lines. We differed over discussing the stipend slightly, but honestly, that should be the last issue. The DCT read it as a 2k difference which is noise and I agree, I read it as a 5k difference which is substantial when most graduate stipends are between 12k and 16k per year. I have seen a number of my peers who went to various graduate programs successfully negotiate higher stipends precisely because the cost of living was high. (NYC versus Ann Arbor, for instance.)

    I think the main reason I jumped in was that I had JUST gotten off the phone with a friend from school who dropped out because she wasn't happy in the program. $25k wasn't enough to keep her happy, and that was the point I wanted to drive home. If you need more money to attend a program and you don't ask, you won't get it. If you just want to be greedy, well, that's not gonna play well either. And finally, if you don't want to be there, the money isn't going to keep you there!

    I think everyone knows the difference between me and the DCT, I was just trying to be helpful. Sorry if you had a problem with that.

    Mark

    PS - If you look under my screen name you'll see it says Psychology Student.
     
  48. DrClinPsyAdvice

    DrClinPsyAdvice SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

    487
    26
    Jan 22, 2008
    Mark has had some great advice! Most importantly, although I am happy to offer advice, please know that mine is just one opinion. It is always great to get multiple opinions on these tricky issues!
     
  49. masters4life

    masters4life

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    Feb 24, 2008
    First, thank you for taking time to help all of us here, I know you must be very busy, and your time is greatly appreciated.

    I hope my question does not come off as whiny, so I apologize if I have trouble conveying the proper tone. When I got rejected from all of my grad programs in my undergraduate, I did my research and made a game plan - I went and earned my Master's in clinical psychology (3.7 GPA), I have 1200 GREs, I have taught 3 college courses independently (2 psych courses, and 2 of my classes were as a payed adjunct), I have 5 first-authored manuscripts either published or in review with another 4 in preparation (all should be out within the next two months), I have approximately 6 poster and paper presentations (all but one are first-authored), I have 3 psychology-related articles in nationally read magazines, I picked up a job as a behavior-therapist for children with autism, served as a RA for the Mayo Clinic, served a practicum working with behavior problems in children, and earned three outstanding letters of recommendation (with one professor proclaiming my likelihood of becoming nationally famous for my work (I humbly disagree, but appreciate it!)). I applied last year, and obviously things did not work out so well, but this year I have not even received an interview. At this point, the entire faculty, as well as myself, are left scratching our heads. I never expected the clinical programs to be beating down my door, but I would anticipate at least some recognition for my work.

    So, now my question for you. What advice do you have to better my chances for next year? I understand you don't have access to my personal statement, information regarding match, etc., but with my research background, I hope you would give me the benefit of the doubt and credit me with doing my research before applying to maximize my chances. Do I have too much experience? Is it possible for professors to see my application as indicating it may be difficult to "re-train" me to their methods? What little feedback I've had seems to center on my vitae looking better than the average graduating clinical student - is this disadvantageous?

    Okay - a bit too lengthy (sorry) But I do appreciate any advice you have. Thank you in advance.
     
  50. Boston2k

    Boston2k 7+ Year Member

    78
    6
    Feb 5, 2008
    Where did you apply? How many applications? Which professors fit your interests? Did you match yourself to certain POIs in your PS? Any items that could be considered red flags in your application? This info might also help answer your questions.
     
  51. masters4life

    masters4life

    4
    0
    Feb 24, 2008
    13 applications - and as was stated in my post, yes I took the time to attempt my best at matching with professors with similar interests, and no, there were no standard red flags - that I know of anyways - and my packets were screened by faculty members.
     

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