Feb 23, 2010
22
0
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
Hi all,
So, quick background. I have a BA in English/History with a 3.7 GPA and GRE scores in the 1300s, plus a 700 in the Psych GRE. I've worked almost 3 years doing mental health-related research at a VA hospital and have presented a project I did myself.

That said, this is my second time applying to Clinical Psych PhD programs. This is also my second time being rejected. So, understandably, a little disheartened over here.

Does anyone have any advice what I should do from here? Has anyone else applied three times or heard of someone applying three times and been successful? Should I go for a Master's to prove that I know what I'm doing?

I'm pretty much on the verge of giving up. :(
 

kbean

7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2009
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0
141
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Pre-Psychology
How many psych classes did you take as an undergrad? Despite the fact that you did very well on the psych GRE, maybe programs are worried that you don't have the psychology background that people who majored in psychology do. Obviously, it's possible to get into these programs without a psych major, but I think it's probably a little tougher.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
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The Beach
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Psychologist
In your position, I'd want feedback from the programs I interviewed with to get a better idea of my weaknesses. At face value it seems like you'd be a solid candidate, though there are so many other factors that can influence a person's chances of acceptance. I'd wonder if my choices of programs were a good "fit" for my application. I know I mention "fit" a lot in my posts, but it truly is vital to the application process, because a program and mentor are committing to you for 4-5+ years.

People definitely apply multiple times, and many good candidates come up against someone else who was just a little bit better, though in subsequent years they get multiple offers. I can think of an SDN user who had to apply multiple times, but he eventually matched to a great program.
 
Feb 23, 2010
22
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Status
Pre-Psychology
@kbean:
I have 9 credits in psych, but no courses like abnormal psych, developmental psych or social psych. Only Intro to Psych and Neuropsych. I was considering taking those three essentials.

@Therapist4Chnge:
That's good advice, though I did that last year and apparently it didn't matter (They told me to get research experience, I did, and they still rejected me). You've heard of people applying three times and getting their choice?
 
Feb 22, 2010
64
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Psychology Student
@kbean:
I have 9 credits in psych, but no courses like abnormal psych, developmental psych or social psych. Only Intro to Psych and Neuropsych. I was considering taking those three essentials.
That seems like a significant gap in your preparation for graduate study. The rest of your stats are very strong, so I would definitely take those classes and then reapply.

Also, what is your personal statement like? Is it tailored to each school to show fit? Does it present a coherent picture of your research interests and academic background?
 

kapinkkidowski

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2009
144
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Cambridge, MA
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Psychology Student
The psych courses might be a problem. Are you getting interviews and then getting rejected or are you not getting any interviews at all? If you are actually getting interviews, then its probably not that you don't have enough psych classes. I think your general numbers (GPA, GRE, etc) play a much stronger role in getting your foot in the door and arent as important once you've actually interviewed.

Fit is also very important, as therapist 4 change said. Also, how competitive are the programs that you applied to? And how many did you apply to? Five schools with a 3% acceptance rate don't give you much of a chance, even if you're a really strong candidate. This applies as well to limiting yourself geographically. Schools in desirable locations (i.e. NYC, LA, Boston) are more competitive just because it'd be cool to live there. Applying to a wider range of places gives you the best shot.

Another pointer is to take another look at your personal statement. Maybe the fit and everything else is there, but you're not selling yourself properly and making it clear. I'd suggest Donald Asher's "Graduate Admissions Essays: How to write your way into the Graduate School of your choice" as a guide. It is not specific to psychology, but has osme examples of psych essays, and has a lot of do's and don'ts, as well as writing exercises to help get you started.

One more thing, I personally know several people who applied three times, and got in the third time (as well as several SDNers who were third timers this year), so I dont think its very uncommon; this is just such a difficult process!
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
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Psychology Student
Some ideas:
1) Take Abnormal, Research Methods, and Statistics for sure, plus anything else you think might help.
2) Do you have any clinical experience? Research experience is usually more important, but a bit of clinical experience won't hurt.
3) What kind of "research experience" do you have? Is this "I enter data 40 hours a week" or is this "I coordinate a major behavioral study for well known faculty members, am preparing presentations, etc.". Research experience is important, but it needs to be GOOD research experience for it to get you in. I don't know if this is the case for you, but I know plenty of people apply thinking "2 years of RA experience is great", but they were really only minimally involved during that time and can't say much about the research.
4) Related to #3, who are your letter writers, and how confident are you in their letters?
5) What kind of schools are you applying to? How many schools? Are you picking them based off fit or location?

These are all important considerations, and unless you are limited in where you can apply, they are all correctable problems. I wouldn't give up yet. Its not like you are blacklisted if you don't get in, and reapplying with a considerably improved background is always a possibility.
 
Mar 17, 2010
30
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0
Status
Psychology Student
@kbean:
I have 9 credits in psych, but no courses like abnormal psych, developmental psych or social psych. Only Intro to Psych and Neuropsych. I was considering taking those three essentials.

I would say that is your weakness right there, the lack of courses in psychology. Remember you are competing against other applicants with similar GPA's and GRE scores (mine was actually wayyy below your score and I got into a masters and doctorate program with it - I'm not saying this to brag I really WISH my GRE score would have been higher but I am saying that perhaps they weigh the courses above GRE scores? I don't know?) and such that have BA/S's and some even MA/S's in Psychology. I would say either take some more psych classes as an undergrad OR apply to MA programs? Maybe? :) Good Luck!!!!!

If this is what you want. Don't give up!