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PhD/PsyD Advice requested [volunteering, etc.]

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by C81115, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. C81115

    C81115 Levi

    Aug 30, 2017
    Florida, United States
    Hi, everyone. I'm a psychology undergrad student at Rollins College in Florida, though I am willing to relocate to anywhere in the U.S. I'm looking for some advice about applying for APA accredited Psy.D/Ph.D. programs. I've spent a decent amount of time looking over these forums, so I understand average GRE and GPA requirements, though where I'm having difficulty is knowing how to gain research and volunteer experience in this field. Where do I start? I've been told to try volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, though what about volunteering at mental health facilities--does anyone know how I would start that process? Please take a look at my background that I've highlighted below to give me any other pointers.

    Thank you in advanced! Your help is much appreciated.

    Some background:

    My current GPA is 3.75. All A's except a B in Biol and a C+ in Stats. I've posted my transcript to far below. I'm at the halfway point, and I have mainly psychology classes ahead of me.

    Transcript: [each class is four cr.]

    200 Cult Anthropol: A
    110 Public Speaking: A-
    322 Islam, Culture & Politics: A
    101 Business & Innovation: A
    200 Into to Liberal Arts: A
    260 Foundations of Leadership: A
    261 Citizenship Action: A
    200 The Healthcare System: A
    101 Intro to Psych: A
    300 Expo Writ Persuasive: A
    306 Modern Humanities: A
    101 Health & Wellness: A
    103 Biology: B
    301 Psy Research Methods: A
    304 Statistics C+

    Total Credits: 58
    Cum GPA: 3.75

    Fall 2017:

    211 Social Psy
    310 Psychopathology
    343 Psych of Relationships
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  3. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist Psychologist Faculty 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2013
    I'm sure most of this is covered in the WAMC thread (which you should read carefully as it has good information in it), but I'll still recap some quick thoughts.

    The types of experiences that many are looking for in the application process is research experience. Research lab experience builds knowledge of the types of skills that will be useful during graduate school, both for thesis and dissertation as well as for working on advisor projects. Your C+ in stats suggests that is an area that is more difficult, and you will want to offset that with demonstrable evidence of skills in research methods beyond just a course grade. Course grades are harder to weight in an application because those who apply (as you know) tend to have good grades across the board. This effort to demonstrate research skills can be a more difficult endeavor in smaller schools, particularly those that are liberal arts teaching focused and not research focused. I would explore what labs are active in your school, if those labs regularly produce publications/presentations, and then what other universities are in the area nearby you that do achieve those things (if yours does not). Research lab experience is very much a deal maker in terms of my interest in a student.

    The clinical experiences (Big Brothers/Big Sisters/Etc.) are great in many ways. They exposure you to working with people and sometimes that involves learning about ideas that are core to clinical practice. However, the level of skill that you are likely to learn is not particularly high. You don't have the training yet for those higher level skills, thus why you want a graduate degree. This is one of those things that I like to see, but that isn't a deal breaker or a deal maker.
  4. C81115

    C81115 Levi

    Aug 30, 2017
    Florida, United States
    Your reply has given me some great pointers and I will definitely be looking to focus on research lab experience. Thank you for your insight!

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