Apr 1, 2010
77
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Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
First off let me give you my numbers... (warning not too competitive or impressive)

Overall GPA of 3.05
Psych GPA of 3.67
GRE score of 1390
no research experience
very little clinical experience
letters of rec from teachers that did not know me too well

Because of this I knew my chances of getting into a good school were slim to none but I still thought I'd give it a shot.

Originally I was willing to travel anywhere in the USA but then remembered I just got 3 dogs and my mom said if I didn't take them with me she'd get rid of them :( So I have been restricted to the Los Angeles area.

I applied Biola, APU, Univ of La Verne, Fuller Theological, Argosy in Irvine, and Baylor (I figured I could find a place that would accommodate my dogs wouldn't be too pricey in Waco, TX)

After 4 interviews (Biola, APU, Fuller and Argosy) I was accepted into Fuller PhD Clinical Psych, Argosy PsyD, rejected from Biola PsyD and I'm on the waitlist for the APU Pre-PsyD

Ideally, I would have liked to attend Biola or APU because their Christian approach is more in line with my personal Christian doctrine. So far it doesn't look like I'll be hearing from APU since its so close to the deadline.

So after all of that background info, here is my real question:

Would anyone advise I put off grad school for a year, get some research/clinical experience and then reapply for Fall of 2011? I have spoken to many of my undergrad professors and their answers have been a mix bag.

If anyone has been in a similar situation, I'd really appreciate any light you can shed in regard to my dilemma.

Thanks in advance!
 
Sep 6, 2009
13
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Psychology Student
I am with you, not as good GRE scores but have no experience and most of the teacher I could have got letters from are pretty much long gone. (Throwing this out there, anybody no how long you can wait to ask a teacher for a letter... like without seeing them for 2 years??)

I want to get into a program and I know I have promise and dedication, yet like you, other circumstances come up. Best of luck to the both of us!
 
Apr 1, 2010
77
15
51
Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
Before any talk about whether or not I should be considering graduate school based on my numbers, there were some major life events and career changing resulting in a lot of wasted time and classes I didn't need and just kinda checked out of life for a couple of years. Because of this my GPA suffered but I am by no means incapable of a graduate degree. I just didn't care in the initial part of my undergrad career. Obviously I'm paying for it now by not getting into a fully funded program, but would it be feasible to try to get into a masters program, work on a ton of research and do clinical observations with a family friend's private practice, are my chances of getting into one of those fully funded schools pretty good?

If not then I might just take Fuller's offer even though I'm not too thrilled about it :/
 
Apr 1, 2010
77
15
51
Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
I am with you, not as good GRE scores but have no experience and most of the teacher I could have got letters from are pretty much long gone. (Throwing this out there, anybody no how long you can wait to ask a teacher for a letter... like without seeing them for 2 years??)

I want to get into a program and I know I have promise and dedication, yet like you, other circumstances come up. Best of luck to the both of us!
My brother was out of school for about 4 years when he decided he wanted to attend a graduate program in architecture and still managed to get letters from his undergrad professors even though he had graduated 4 years ago. If you made enough of an impression and the professor remembers who you are, I don't think 2 years is at all too long to ask for a letter. :)
 
Sep 6, 2009
13
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Psychology Student
My brother was out of school for about 4 years when he decided he wanted to attend a graduate program in architecture and still managed to get letters from his undergrad professors even though he had graduated 4 years ago. If you made enough of an impression and the professor remembers who you are, I don't think 2 years is at all too long to ask for a letter. :)
Thanks! That acutally boosts my confidence quite a bit. I have been in a bit of slump latley due to the realization of life. I know a couple I did make an impact...gotta go searching ;)
 
Apr 1, 2010
77
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51
Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
Thanks! That acutally boosts my confidence quite a bit. I have been in a bit of slump latley due to the realization of life. I know a couple I did make an impact...gotta go searching ;)
Don't forget rec's from previous employers! My brother had one of them come from his boss since he had more relevant and current stuff to write about.
 

livetosail

livetosail
5+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2009
31
1
91
Pensacola, FL
Status
Psychologist
Considering your scores and relative lack of experience, and the fact that you are still an undergraduate and have already been accepted, I'D TAKE WHAT I COULD GET!

That being said, your original post suggests a certain amount of... immaturity? Having dogs has absolutely nothing to do with you becoming a Psychologist. While I am sure they are important to you, I might suggest that your priorities are a tad out of order.

I left school with better everything than you, and have applied twice in the almost five years since then without even an interview. I have been working my tail off in fairly miserable conditions ever since I graduated to do whatever I could to get in to a program- not even a "good" program.

It is undoubtedly hard for you to appreciate what has come so relatively easy, but I would suggest you strike while the iron is hot and hope that you have the motivation and determination to stick it out.

I hope I didn't come across as too paternal, but you have a great opportunity that many on this forum that have been slaving away in labs for several years would jump at in a heart beat.

Good luck, and congratulations!
 
Mar 18, 2010
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Psychology Student
It's a tough decision and in the end its yours to make... I understand that Fuller has excellent program and does provide a Christian twist to the curriculum- it may not be the balance of theology and psychology you were hoping for (guessing here?), but it is still within the ballpark, right?

I guess the most helpful thing for me when I am placed in such decisions is to reflect on what it is I am looking to get out of the situation... Is there an opportunity for you to achieve what you desire from either Argosy or Fuller. If you are unsure about it- contact some of the professors at the accepted schools and lay out your dilemma and see what they say about it.

Good luck and remember whatever decision you make will be the right one in the long run!
 

lifesanillusion

7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2010
37
8
151
Status
Non-Student
Would anyone advise I put off grad school for a year, get some research/clinical experience and then reapply for Fall of 2011? I have spoken to many of my undergrad professors and their answers have been a mix bag.

If anyone has been in a similar situation, I'd really appreciate any light you can shed in regard to my dilemma.

Thanks in advance!

I think you have some marvelous opportunities to attend grad school NOW, and I would jump at them. Since you are already accepted, what you have to gain in getting more experience before grad school (if that is your ultimate goal) is questionable. You cannot be guaranteed acceptance at your top school just because you have gotten more research or clinical experience, as it may be your GPA or even something entirely out of your control that nixes your application there. I would accept at what you feel is the best school currently offering you a position. While I thought one of the last posters a bit harsh, I have to say that I, too, have higher GREs, GPA, both clinical and research experience, pubs, and great letters of recommend and I am waitlisted. Celebrate your acceptance and go for it! :D
 

RejectClinical

10+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
226
86
271
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So after all of that background info, here is my real question:

Would anyone advise I put off grad school for a year, get some research/clinical experience and then reapply for Fall of 2011? I have spoken to many of my undergrad professors and their answers have been a mix bag.

If anyone has been in a similar situation, I'd really appreciate any light you can shed in regard to my dilemma.

Thanks in advance!
It depends on how happy you are with your current acceptance. Do you like their orientation? Do they have a good match rate? Is there a good match between you and the school (or POI if that applies)? Do they have the training opportunities that match your career aspirations? How is the funding? If you have positive answers to these, then I would take your offer.

That being said, I didn't get into graduate school last year and was really upset. It made it easier in the sense that I didn't have to decide to take a year off...the decision was made for me. I definitely don't envy your position since this is a very hard decision. However, at the end of the application cycle, I asked a DCT at one of the schools I was waitlisted at what I needed to do in order to improve my application (his answer being research experience!). This year I got the research experience I needed and ended up in an amazing program--a program that would not have even thought to give me an interview last year. In the end, I'm very glad I waited a year, but you have to decide what is right for you.

If you're willing to move to Waco, Texas....I think you can broaden your search a bit when it comes to graduate schools--this would definitely help immensely if you are looking to reapply next year.

Good luck!

PS GREAT GRE scores!
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
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Psychologist
Would anyone advise I put off grad school for a year, get some research/clinical experience and then reapply for Fall of 2011? I have spoken to many of my undergrad professors and their answers have been a mix bag.

If anyone has been in a similar situation, I'd really appreciate any light you can shed in regard to my dilemma.

Thanks in advance!
I would, because I wouldn't want to settle for a program that is less well funded than you're capable of competing for. As long as you can get those experiences, I would definitely do it... the challenge is actually getting those experiences.

Possible suggestion. Go to a school that you can get your masters at (like a University of Texas - San Antonio) where you can take your dogs, be close to Baylor (3 hours) and be able to get both the research and clinical experience you want/need. San Antonio has a lot of options for getting this experience (so does LA for that matter.) I just like Texas a lot more. :)

Mark
 
Jan 14, 2010
149
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USA
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Psychology Student
That being said, your original post suggests a certain amount of... immaturity? Having dogs has absolutely nothing to do with you becoming a Psychologist. While I am sure they are important to you, I might suggest that your priorities are a tad out of order.

I agree with most of what you said except for this. She made a commitment to those dogs by adopting/buying them in the first place. It shows much more maturity than most adults even have that she isn't just dumping them because of a life transition and lack of ability to plan ahead. Her mom made it clear that she would get "rid" of the dogs (as if they are a piece of furniture) and the OP is doing her best in honoring her commitment. So, no, her priorities are completely in order and I respect her immeasurably because of that.

To be honest, I think she could look outside of her state... I'm moving cross-country with my dog and cat - it's totally doable. But if for some reason she simply cannot do that (financially whatever) than I'd rather her take care of these dogs than dump them on others.

Now I agree with you, however, that she should feel fortunate for the wonderful opportunity she has, having been geographically limited. However, if she honestly can't afford an unfunded program and thinks she can significantly improve her application for another year.... than maybe it's better to wait (esp. as she's straight out of undergraduate). Granted, it's funny to me when people apply to schools they have doubts about going to... I assume OP knew it was unfunded from the start, right?

And, as for the Christian slant, although it'd be great to find a program that fulfills that for you, it certainly does not mean that a program without that explicit focus or influence cannot still fulfill that. I would think you'd just have to be more proactive about supplementing your education.
 
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Apr 1, 2010
77
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Los Angeles
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Honestly I deeply appreciate all of your answers. Each and every one of them has given me a better view on my decision.

I didn't mean to come off unappreciative, I did have a unique personal statement and I wouldn't be surprised if thats what got me in. I honestly only applied to doctorate programs as a long shot because I knew how competitive they can be. Being admitted was a pleasant surprise it just didn't happen to be at one of my more preferred locations.

As for applying to schools that I was't too thrilled about, I basically did it for back up purposes. I was well aware that most save one (Baylor) of the schools I applied to were unfunded but after speaking to an MFT who owns a private practice, she told me not to be afraid of getting into debt. I felt better about taking on huge loans amounts (probably because I didn't expect acceptance) but now that its more tangible, the debt amount is pretty alarming.

I did look at Fuller because of its international recognition and its "Christian" approach to psychological training. After speaking to my pastor, he put Fuller at the bottom of his list regarding its religious perspective. Obviously I value what he has to say and trust that he would be right in what would ultimately be best for my spiritual well-being. But its not like I'm going to be brainwashed and forced to buy into everything they say. Several professors suggested that it would only help to strengthen my faith if I had to use more discernment in what I accept and choose not to accept.

Sorry, enough about the religion I know many of you on here don't care much about that aspect of the decision for graduate school but it was one of the more important factors for me.

And as for immaturity, that did sting a little. I had never had the opportunity to own pets and when I had the chance I jumped on it (3 dogs!!! I didn't waste ANY time) maybe without exactly looking 5-10 years into the future. But as another poster stated, I treat these dogs like my own children and I wouldn't dare consider giving them up just because it would be more convenient for me (selfish really). I'm trying to make the best of the situation I'm in and I realize it limits my opportunities but since I was actually granted this acceptance in the LA area, I am very grateful and should take advantage of it.

As for taking the year off, I may be able to get research experience but I really think that my GPA is what is holding me back the most. One professor suggested I delay graduation and repeat classes to boost my GPA but that wasn't something I really wanted to do.

I know I made a lot of bad decisions in my early career as an undergrad but once I was sure psychology was what I wanted, I really went for it with all I had. Things can only get better in graduate school since I would essentially be starting with a clean slate. :)

And PsychApps2009 I really admire your dedication to your pets and I'm glad you were able to find a solution where your pets can come along! I bet it would have been possible for me but it would add to my financial burden (my mommy is letting me live here rent free!)

Anyway thanks again for everyone's advice. I feel I will take Fuller's offer as long as I don't hear from APU first.

Regarding Fuller's credibility, does anyone know anything about that? I've tried to search for reviews online and have not found what I'm looking for. Same goes for Azusa Pacific. How good is this program?
 
Jan 14, 2010
149
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USA
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Psychology Student
As for applying to schools that I was't too thrilled about, I basically did it for back up purposes.
I just re-read what I wrote and think I worded myself poorly. I think we all apply to schools we have doubts about and hope that with interviews we can assess them better. What I meant to say was more along the lines of 'applying to schools that you know you won't go to' (this is with an old thread in mind). I applied to back-up schools, that I had doubts about, with the idea in mind that if that was the only school I got into, I'd most likely be willing to go unless something huge changed my mind (post-interview). Granted, I don't think this applies to you (and your explanation about the unfunded part and how you considered it make sense) so I apologize if my phrasing seemed unfairly critical ;).

And PsychApps2009 I really admire your dedication to your pets and I'm glad you were able to find a solution where your pets can come along! I bet it would have been possible for me but it would add to my financial burden (my mommy is letting me live here rent free!)
Aw thanks. I have pretty strong opinions when it comes to animals ;) and I consider my pets in everything I do; but I also have the support I need to take my pets with me (financially and from my family). So I completely understand that it would be hard on you and I think you made the right choice in choosing to honor your commitment to your dogs while still finding programs that will further your career and you could be interested in (with religious components). Like I said, I commend you for that (and congratulations for getting accepted!).

Sorry I can't speak about Fuller. You have a little bit of time to decide - but don't feel pressured to take the offer if it is really not what will suit you best. It's good that you're appreciative, but only you know in your gut if its right for you or if you can shape the experience into what you hope it to be. If you truly think it is your GPA though and not lack of research experience etc. etc. and are smart about handling debt (i.e., student loans), I would consider the program seriously. In a way it's all a bit of gamble, just make the smartest most informed choice you can. :)
 
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Apr 5, 2010
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Hi, I am applying for the MFT program in APU. I am invited for a group interview next week. I am not familiar with the interview process and have no idea what to expect. Can anyone provide any help? THANKS!!!
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Hi, I am applying for the MFT program in APU. I am invited for a group interview next week. I am not familiar with the interview process and have no idea what to expect. Can anyone provide any help? THANKS!!!
Well I can't speak for the MFT program but the PsyD interview day went like this:

Breakfast and Intro
Assigned itineraries, this will determine the order of the following events
Tour of the school
Interviews with 2 members of the faculty
writing sample (they actually made us write a small sample regarding a topic they provide)
and then Lunch and faculty intros

I know the MFT program is not affiliated with the PsyD so they might handle things differently
 

BuckeyeAlum

5+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2009
87
2
91
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Psychology Student
Is it really your dogs that is holding you back? I'm not saying anything about the importance of pets in one's life (that is something that varies so much by person), but I think that you could find many locations around the country that are dog-friendly. (Heck - if you find LA to be dog-friendly, you'd be amazed how easy it is in other cities!) People all over the US manage to have dogs as well, so moving out of LA w/some dogs might require a slightly more complex housing search, but it won't be "Mission: Impossible!"

Also - while I can see that a school's religious affiliation and viewpoint is important to you, is there any way that you can supplement what a school may lack in its similarity to your beliefs? While grad school is a busy time, surely you will be able to attend church and join a group affiliated with your religion (twenty-something group, Bible study, etc.). Just because a school doesn't hold religion as a high priority does not mean that you can't continue to incorporate it as a big part of your own life.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Los Angeles
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Thanks Buckeye! I appreciate what you've said. You are completely right, it would not be impossible to bring the dogs with me but it would be more difficult. Had I been better prepared (I just decided to apply for the Fall very last minute) I probably would have considered it. That is my fault but because of the short amount of time, it didn't seem feasible.

And about the religious affiliation, I would still be very involved in my church but my main concern was about my career in psychology being contradictory to my beliefs. That is why I found it essential to attend a school that integrates religion with psych so that I can use the most of my education and learn how I can praise God while serving Him in the field of psychology.

But you are totally right, it wasn't impossible or necessary to attend a Christian school in the LA area and I would have loved to live in another part of the country but feared the expense of moving and living elsewhere. Although that too may have been offset by the lower tuition or even a fully funded program I might have been accepted to.

Hindsight is always 20/20 :(
 
Jan 14, 2010
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USA
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Psychology Student
And about the religious affiliation, I would still be very involved in my church but my main concern was about my career in psychology being contradictory to my beliefs.
I hope this is not inappropriate of me to ask (esp. on this forum) but I'm curious about this. I consider myself to be strongly religious but have never felt a conflict with a career in psychology (even if I have with few colleagues). You definitely don't have to reply - and if you do, I assume a very general explanation would be most appropriate (so nothing gets too personal) - but I always like to educate myself about different perspectives! :) [PM me if you like too].

On another note, although hindsight is 20/20 - you made the best decisions that you could have at the time with the information you had.
Do you know what you think you might do yet (i.e., if going to a program, how are you deciding)?
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Los Angeles
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I hope this is not inappropriate of me to ask (esp. on this forum) but I'm curious about this. I consider myself to be strongly religious but have never felt a conflict with a career in psychology (even if I have with few colleagues). You definitely don't have to reply - and if you do, I assume a very general explanation would be most appropriate (so nothing gets too personal) - but I always like to educate myself about different perspectives! :) [PM me if you like too].

On another note, although hindsight is 20/20 - you made the best decisions that you could have at the time with the information you had.
Do you know what you think you might do yet (i.e., if going to a program, how are you deciding)?
Oh no I don't mind at all. I just feel that psychotherapy is something that seems it can be done similarly and as effectively as a counselor or pastor at one's church. It just seems like I am going the secular route and fear that I may not be honoring my faith.

Other careers are more separate from their faith although never entirely. You can be a surgeon who removes tumors and help save lives, or choose to be a plastic surgeon augmenting breast size. The latter does not seem to be in concordance with Christianity but there are still those that argue helping people feel better by improving their appearance is doing God's work.

Soooooooo, because psychotherapy has a lot to do with helping to heal patients emotionally, mentally and even spiritually, I just have this looming fear that somehow I am doing something contrary to my faith. I am slowly getting over this but its still there, I don't know. Maybe its the school's of thought in psychology that I am not too thrilled about (psychoanalysis is notorious for its sexual references.)

Hope that clarifies it and if not ask me again and I'll try to answer all of your questions. I honestly don't mind :)
 
Feb 3, 2010
22
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Los Angeles, CA
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Psychology Student
Soooooooo, because psychotherapy has a lot to do with helping to heal patients emotionally, mentally and even spiritually, I just have this looming fear that somehow I am doing something contrary to my faith. I am slowly getting over this but its still there, I don't know. Maybe its the school's of thought in psychology that I am not too thrilled about (psychoanalysis is notorious for its sexual references.)
MiJac- As I have mentioned to you, I empathize with your concerns in regards to the integration of Christianity and psychology. And, while reading these posts, a book came to my mind, 12 "Christian" Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy .

If you find yourself with extra time, this quick and concise read touches at the heart of navigating the integration question. It helped to give me a clearer perspective. It was also encouraging that the authors, Cloud & Townsend, are Rosemead grads :)

Please keep me posted on your decision!
 
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BuckeyeAlum

5+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2009
87
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Psychology Student
I was posting those previous ideas in case you end up deciding to give it a try in a year or so. It's great you got in as it is! However, as you have mentioned, you may feel better about amping up your experience and getting into a program you love (that also might be funded!).

While reading your posts regarding religion, I had two thoughts:
1. Who says you have to do psychodynamic therapy? There are other kinds of clinical treatments that you might like better (CBT, ACT, etc.) that don't make you feel like a hypocrite. The psychodynamic orientation is often affiliated with dreams/sex drive/etc., but many other psychological orientations do not. It's worth checking those out...

2. If I were you, I wouldn't feel bad about wanting to pursue a field that overlaps with the work of a pastor. It's true that many clergy are involved in counseling their parishoners, but they are not extensively trained for this and the specific therapies involved. Your desire to delve deeper into clinical training does not mean you are being un-Christian. Plus, many programs that do not push a certain religious culture have faculty that incorporate aspects of religion into their research.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
I was posting those previous ideas in case you end up deciding to give it a try in a year or so. It's great you got in as it is! However, as you have mentioned, you may feel better about amping up your experience and getting into a program you love (that also might be funded!).

While reading your posts regarding religion, I had two thoughts:
1. Who says you have to do psychodynamic therapy? There are other kinds of clinical treatments that you might like better (CBT, ACT, etc.) that don't make you feel like a hypocrite. The psychodynamic orientation is often affiliated with dreams/sex drive/etc., but many other psychological orientations do not. It's worth checking those out...

2. If I were you, I wouldn't feel bad about wanting to pursue a field that overlaps with the work of a pastor. It's true that many clergy are involved in counseling their parishoners, but they are not extensively trained for this and the specific therapies involved. Your desire to delve deeper into clinical training does not mean you are being un-Christian. Plus, many programs that do not push a certain religious culture have faculty that incorporate aspects of religion into their research.
When I referred to psychotherapy I meant any form of therapy techniques (sorry I just meant psycho=mind therapy=healing) I kinda thought it would be interpreted as psychodynamic however I did not mean that.

And I don't feel bad for overlapping religious counselors. Its more like I'm not comfortable offering healing in terms of "talking" therapy for the fear I may be leading someone incorrectly. I'm not sure how to explain it which is why I'm more inclined to work in neuropsych because I feel the span if interpretation is significantly narrower.

I'm not making any sense LOL
 
Apr 1, 2010
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So I have accepted officially to Azusa Pacific's PsyD

BUT!!!!!!!......

I'm getting cold feet about the debt. It is estimated that tuition alone for the degree would be $76000 and the financial support they provide is very little. So I'm wondering if it would be wise to take a year off, work in a mental health setting with my BA and be an RA for one or maybe 2 faculty members.

Would this realistically be enough to get me into a fully funded or at least generously funded PhD or am I better off just taking what I got and hope that I'll get some sort of loan repayment.


HELP MEEEEEEE

I'm kinda freakin out.
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
192
0
91
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Psychology Student
i dont think anyone can make that decision for you. open up excel and do the math. use average debt, average salary, and project 10..20.. 30 years into the future. look at what you have to do for loan repayment and if you're cool with that. there should be very little hoping in the equation. personally, I would take a year or even two off if i were in your situation. i think research expereinece is more imp't than clinical. best of luck.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Los Angeles
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research experience is important if I am getting the degree to become a researcher/scholar. However, I am pretty much 95% clinical 5% research. I hear good arguments for both sides and have made lists of the pros cons for both and I'm still in the same boat.

I wouldn't be so afraid of the debt if I had a better job outlook regarding salary specifically. I hope I'm making sense.

So many of my professors have told me that I'm selling my self short by going to a PsyD (essentially giving up). I don't want people to see where I got my education and think little of me.

Am I making this decision harder than it needs to be?
 

KillerDiller

10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2007
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Post Doc
research experience is important if I am getting the degree to become a researcher/scholar. However, I am pretty much 95% clinical 5% research.
I know that other people hold differing opinions, but I firmly believe that research is absolutely essential to practice at the doctoral level. So much of what practitioners do (diagnosis, treatment selection, treatment evaluation) relies on an ability to understand psychometrics and the empirical process. I don't know how people navigate without it. If Azusa Pacific doesn't include research in their training, I'd stay away and try for somewhere else.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
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So I have accepted officially to Azusa Pacific's PsyD

BUT!!!!!!!......

I'm getting cold feet about the debt. It is estimated that tuition alone for the degree would be $76000 and the financial support they provide is very little. So I'm wondering if it would be wise to take a year off, work in a mental health setting with my BA and be an RA for one or maybe 2 faculty members.

Would this realistically be enough to get me into a fully funded or at least generously funded PhD or am I better off just taking what I got and hope that I'll get some sort of loan repayment.


HELP MEEEEEEE

I'm kinda freakin out.
You're smart to be worried about the debt... So this is how you must be thinking (at least this is my opinion.)

You need to be thinking strategically, if I incur this debt, how will I pay it off?

If you cannot find a path that you have a high probability of securing, then you should get some research/clinical experience. Your numbers are pretty good, while I would like to see a higher overall GPA, your GRE compensates sufficiently for many good program IF, and I say IF, you have the rest of the package looking competitive (which other than than the paucity of research experience sounds like you do.)

I would not discount clinical Ph.D. programs as many great clinicians come from Ph.D. programs. Don't fool yourself into believing that Ph.D. students only want to be researchers... that's a fallacy.

Mark
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
192
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in an immediate sense, research expereince makes you a more competeive applicant. in a longer term sense, see killerdiller's post. this is independent of your interest in generating research.

what I hear you saying... :)... is that you're concerned about program prestige. that's something you have to settle for yourself. program prestige's impact on your career will probbaly be a function of your goals. if you're going straight into private practice it's not so important compared to other factors. other career paths it's more important.

my advice is to take time off, get expereince that will make you a more competetive applicant and re-apply to appropriately competetive programs.

:luck:
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Status
Psychology Student
After reading many of your posts I am being reminded that working on my research experience can only increase my chances into a more prestigious and well funded institution. This idea has been one I have been fighting only because, as you may have heard plenty of young people say, I feel like I'm wasting time or running out of time. I am letting go little by little about the whole pressure to finish as soon as possible, but when I entertained the idea of taking a year off, I realized I would have no source of income and that would be devastating. With car payments, phone bills, pet expenses, food, etc., I have to have money coming in. So far I've managed to get by on financial aid and very small loans, but my brother reminded me that if I don't go into a school right away, I will not be able to defer the loan and will be required to start paying back my debt.

I've heard that you get a six month grace period to pay the loan back from graduation date but I'm not entirely sure if thats accurate. Also, thats assuming I'll be working at a place that will pay me enough to pay my living expenses as well as my loans.

If having a bachelor's will land me a job that can compensate me enough to handle this, I would definitely take the time off to be an RA. However, if I do have to pay the loan back right away, I will not be able to. Also, what if I can't get a job or find one that pays enough? I'm kind of in a bind here and the only way to immediately relieve it is by entering the PsyD. But the consequences of that could mean decades of debt.

And about my research stance, I meant I wouldn't want that to be my main focus in my career (actually conducting original research). I do of course realize the importance of being well-versed in research methods and didn't mean to sound like I discarded its value.

And Azusa Pacific's program does have research components to its program but its not like anything you would find at a top tier school.
 
Nov 28, 2009
44
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Pre-Psychology
the grace period depends on the loan type. if you're talking about stafford loans, for example, then you DO have a 6 month grace period. you need to look into your loan type and whether or not they are eligible for grace period. even if they are not, talk to the lender ... they may allow you a grace period exception even if it's not standard. also, you can apply for/request a "forbearance" (i think that's what it is called) if you aren't able to pay your loans due to income issues. this is probably pretty common given the economy right now.

if you have in fact become comfortable with the decision to delay for a year or two in order to go the funded phd route, then i don't think the "i will have to start repaying my loan if i don't return to school now" should stop you from delaying. also, it depends on the loan type, but if you enroll in the income based repayment plan, you will only pay 15% of your discretionary income toward the loans ... so, no matter what you make (e.g., low paying RA job), the payback amount will be adjusted so that a vast majority of your earnings can be used to support yourself.

finally, taking on a whole lot more debt simply to avoid paying back current debt seems somewhat misguided. i think that worry is driving you to make a decision when there are options to address your immediate loan repayment needs and still allow you to ultimately support yourself until you enter a funded program.

:luck::luck:
 

futureapppsy2

Assistant professor
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Have you considered applying for funded MA programs (probably next cycle)? It might help off-set your low-ish GPA, which could get you screened out at a lot of university-based PhD and PsyD programs.
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
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i feel for your situation...

an idea that struck me, you could take a minimal number of credits at a college to keep loans in deferrment?

doing this, you could also potentially find professors to conduct research with, TA with, and get letters of rec from. my first move would probably be to contact professors at colleges as a prospective student interested in conducting research with them.

you'd still be able to work a FT job. (i would be remiss if i didn't mention to be careful about mentioning school or asking for special flex-time during a job interview)

the above is pretty much what i did to first break into psych..

best,
j9

p.s. i think that you should consider seeing a financial planner, debt counselor, or sitting down seriously with someone with a good financial mind you can trust and discussing your options from a financial perspective. i understand your situation because I racked up UG debt too. it wasnt till years after graduating that i started running my finances rather than the other way 'round.
 
Last edited:
Apr 1, 2010
77
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Psychology Student
So I just found out my loans are deferred until June 2011!!! so thats good right? My first payment wouldn't be due until July 2011. So now that I don't have to worry about the loan payment issues I can go back to focusing on doing research and getting a job. What jobs that are related to mental health would be available to a BA in Psych without much formal experience?

I know this might be asking too much from you guys with all of your advice but honestly I've asked these questions elsewhere and can't seem to get any answers. You guys are actually starting to break it down into digestible pieces so thanks!
 

futureapppsy2

Assistant professor
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Dec 25, 2008
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So I just found out my loans are deferred until June 2011!!! so thats good right? My first payment wouldn't be due until July 2011. So now that I don't have to worry about the loan payment issues I can go back to focusing on doing research and getting a job. What jobs that are related to mental health would be available to a BA in Psych without much formal experience?

I know this might be asking too much from you guys with all of your advice but honestly I've asked these questions elsewhere and can't seem to get any answers. You guys are actually starting to break it down into digestible pieces so thanks!
Possible jobs: psych tech at a psychiatric hospital/psychiatric ward in a general hospital, group home worker/relief worker, case manager for a mental health agency or group home, therapeutic pre-school teacher or teacher's aide. Really, though, if you want to aim for Clinical PhD programs or the "better" PsyDs (Rutgers, Baylor, etc), gaining strong research experience is fair more important. You can also try to find an RA job with clinical duties.

Double-check to see if your loans will stiill be deferment if you don't go to school.

Godd luck! :luck:
 

EEL119

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Dec 7, 2008
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Pre-Psychology
Regarding Fuller's credibility, does anyone know anything about that? I've tried to search for reviews online and have not found what I'm looking for. Same goes for Azusa Pacific. How good is this program?[/QUOTE]

Hey there,

Good luck to you with whatever you do. I only have one suggestion, and that is to get in touch with current students of Fuller's program you are interested in, and get it straight from the horse's mouth. I did that to find out more about the program I am starting this fall. Not all info you hear is accurate. I heard bad things about my school's match rate, so I researched & got in touch to ask students about placement. After speaking to several students, I found out that most of what i had "heard" and found online was not accurate, and the APA match was MUCH higher than what was posted online. I also received a LOT of good advice by networking this way : ) ! One good point that was made to me: Limiting yourself geographically will limit APA placement.

Maybe it sounds like cheap advice, but I agree, do what is best for YOUR life.... that's what everyone should do! What works for them. If keeping your furry friends with you fits your lifestyle, then do it. I am betting more than one psych grad student in the world maintained having pets while in school, so it can be done : ) GOOD LUCK.