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PhD/PsyD Applying to Post-Doc via Snail Mail? Really?

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

  1. sike

    sike 7+ Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm applying for post-doctoral fellowships, and my site list is roughly evenly divided between submitting application materials via (a) APPA CAS and (b) e-mail sent to the post-doc director. However, one site appears, based on my read of their brochure, to request the application materials to be sent via snail mail. I reached out yesterday by e-mail to confirm with the director that this is correct, but have not yet heard back.

    Has anyone else seen such a request in their post-doc application submission instructions this year? Am I simply reading the brochure wrong? They actually requested an official graduate transcript, which makes me think that I'm not off-base here. I just want to be sure before requesting that my recommenders submit via this method.

    Copy and pasted from brochure (with identifying info removed to protect the site in question):

    "To apply, send a detailed letter of interest, CV, three letters of recommendation, an official graduate transcript, and two deidentified sample neuropsychological assessment reports by [Date] to: [Name/Title/Department/Site Name/Site Address]

    Maybe they will send interview invites via telegram? ;)
     
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  3. NeuroLady

    NeuroLady

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    I haven't seen this at all, but wow.
     
  4. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    My postdoc was not that terribly long ago and they were all snail mail. Some sites would just rather not use APPACAS, although I'm surprised that they won't also allow pdfs of everything sent electronically.
     
  5. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    IIRC, mine were mostly snail mail circa 7-8 years ago too. I walked uphill, both ways, to the post office in the snow, barefoot. These youngsters and their electronics, I tell ya.
     
  6. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Could be worse. You could have been like @PSYDR having to chisel his in cuneiform on marble slabs ;)
     
    Therapist4Chnge likes this.
  7. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    Was it the stone age yet at that point? I didn't think they had evolved to the point of making tools yet.
     
  8. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    It's over! You should have communicated by courier! (I kid...)
     
  9. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist 10+ Year Member

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    Cuniform was written into soft clay, not chiseled into marble! (god I need a life).

    I do remember being so broke that the postage for internship was actually a financial concern.
     
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  10. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    HA! But honestly, I do remember debating when sending out grad school applications, a bunch of chock full envelopes; "Do I send these out the cheap way through the USPS, or shell out to go with FedEx/UPS who I trust more to get the package there?"
     
  11. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    At the time that I applied, I think I spent $15 per application packet I mailed out for 2 day shipping and so that I could get delivery confirmation.
     
  12. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Whoah, look at moneybags over here! I bet you were the rich kid in college who used 2 packets of ramen seasoning with his soup.
     
  13. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    I actually didn't apply to that many. What I remember is that there were a couple of sites that charged a small application fee, but there was no system in place were you got charged per application like they have now.

    WTF ramen seasoning in your soup? Keep that **** on the ramen - where it belongs!
     
  14. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I think most of my schools had like a $25-50 application fee on to of the packet I had to send. And, I like a little soup with my ramen, not just straight noodles. Oriental flavor FTW!
     
  15. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    Oriental is strong, but creamy chicken and beef were definitely eaten at a higher rate in my dorm room.
     
  16. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Beef was my #2, never really cared for creamy chicken.
     
  17. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    You must have never tried it with some sriracha on it.
     
  18. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Hmm, maybe I'll have to try a taste test soon. Try that after I round up all of the new, weird flavors. Haven't had bagged ramen in probably a decade at this point.
     
  19. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Yes!!

    I went with FedEx bc it was less anxiety provoking.

    Speaking of...I remember laying out my internship apps on my roommate’s pool table, arranged by due date. I made up checklists for each app and highlighted what was missing on top of manila folders with copies of my APPIC app and sealed LOR with signatures written across the flaps. Back then there were some crazy supplemental requirements, so I had a separate highlighter color for the apps that required extra paperwork.

    I applied to maybe 15 sites and they literally took up the entire (blue felt) pool table. I felt like a bag lady hauling in 6-8 bulging packets at a time to USPS to mail out to my sites. I couldn’t afford FedEx, so i tracked my priority mail packages like a hawk. Ugh...I do NOT miss that process.
     
  20. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Lime shrimp is one I think...surprisingly good!

    Back in college I was all about Chicken cup o noodle with various hot sauces, if I wanted to get crazy i’d chop up fresh veggies and add them to make a franken-soup of awesome.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  21. enduroevo

    enduroevo 7+ Year Member

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    I am personally struggling with this as well. Several of my sites required my to snail mail apps. So frustrating! And also awkward to need to ask your letter write for a copy of their letter
     
  22. Psychologizing

    Psychologizing 2+ Year Member

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    Last year (when I applied), a couple VA sites asked for mailed applications. When I reached out to them, they said their brochures were outdated, and provided up-to-date submission information.
     
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  23. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    Am I the only one that remembers pre-addressing a bunch of envelopes (with postage) and personally dropping off and picking up materials from letter writers in a very organized way? It wasn't particularly stressful. Life is easier with email now being the norm, but the sites that want snail mail just might want you to do all the printing/organizing for them.
     
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  24. sike

    sike 7+ Year Member

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    Update!!

    So I e-mailed the director, and he said that either "snail mail" (his term but I completely agree) or e-mail was fine. I'm glad to get the clarification and I will happily e-mail my application now. It's just annoying because had the brochure been clearer, it could have saved me from writing this post, reaching out to other applicants for advice, and lots of hand-wringing about whether or not e-mail the training director or to just mail the dang application already.

    But then I would have missed reading your entertaining responses. :) And yes, when I applied to grad school (I applied more than once between 2006-2010), I recall the hard copy stuff... Like many technologies, hard copy has its pros and cons. My advisor was just saying to me today that she preferred writing letters in the old days -- when she got to the end of the pile of letters, she knew when she was done. But with electronic submission (and students now applying to 15+ sites, she said she just continually gets e-mails requesting uploads of letters for multiple students and she has difficulty keeping track of what she needs to do. Anyway, it did make me smile to think about the days when professors signed across the sealed envelope. Ultimately, I think that either way, we end agonize about something -- regardless of technology. Back in the day, because tracking my materials via post-office tracking was apparently insufficient for me, I always included a self-addressed, stamped post card -- and I agonized over what post-cards to buy that seemed "professional" enough.

    Anyway, I'm glad I heard back from this director, but I wish brochure-writers would take the time to clarify their instructions. Another site brochure requested "official undergraduate and graduate transcripts" but then lines later noted that they could not accept any materials by mail (and does not use APPA CAS). Both of my alma maters allow electronic delivery of transcripts (although one school noted that this method would not be notarized). So I reached out to the training director just to be sure, but am waiting to hear back.

    I consulted with fellow applicants, and some said that for such sites, they are just mailing the transcripts to the sites for good measure since their institution doesn't charge for transcripts. One of my institutions doesn't charge either, but I also assume that sites don't want to receive unsolicited hard copies of transcripts... Basically, I don't want to get "dinged" for not following instructions when I was actually just trying to hedge my bets in case I was wrong in my understanding of unclear instructions.

    While I await this training director's reply, don't mind me -- I'll just be writing a note to myself:

    Dear Future Self,

    Hello self! If you are ever a training director (congrats if you are, BTW!), please re-read your own brochure as if you were an applicant and consider the following questions. Are your application instruction clear? Are they contradictory in any way? Is the technology by which you instruct them to submit materials outdated? It may take about 15 minutes, but it would potentially reduce some confusion and frustration for some already very stressed out folk. Thanks!!!

    Sincerest Regards,
    Younger Self as A Post-Doc Applicant
     
  25. Spydra

    Spydra 2+ Year Member

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    Glad it worked out! I haven't even reached the post doc stage, but after the hell of applying to programs that insisted on so many materials be snail mailed I decided never again. If a program/internship/post doc isn't willing to use technology in their application process then I question how willing they are to use it everywhere else. A low tech place is just not for me.
     
  26. sike

    sike 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I had the same thought when I initially was under the impression that this site was requesting the materials by snail mail. But I think that this was an issue of not updating their brochure (although the training director didn't explicitly admit that), as WisNeuro encountered when applying to post-doc. We are told repeatedly and emphatically in application preparation presentations for grad school, internship, and post-doc to proofread our materials. I would kindly ask that training directors do the same!! Not doing this on our end, however, is perhaps slightly more consequential than not doing this as a TD... ;)
     
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  27. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    If you saw the amount of documentation that needs to be put together for APA/APPIC/Internship/Postdoc/local policies/etc/etc, you'd understand how such things can slip through the cracks. A few typos/minor outdated information is fairly commonplace when you have hundreds to thousands of pages of documents. Oh, and you don't really get an offset of time to do this work for the most part. You still need to hit your productivity numbers. I get that it's frustrating on the applicant end, I have gone through the process. But, I think some people are in for a rude awakening when they finally get to the other side and wee what it takes to keep this machine rolling. You'll begin to have a lot more empathy for the machinists.
     
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  28. sike

    sike 7+ Year Member

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    True, true. Not looking forward to that rude awakening, I have to say. I admittedly have very little understanding of how the sausage gets made. And I'm applying to lots of VA's, where the red tape and administrative gobbledigook is plentiful. Early in my training, I saw getting my doctoral degree as the point in which most of this sh*tstorm ends, but I've learned -- as I've gotten to peak behind the counter (of the metaphorical sausage shop? IDK...) -- that just changes form to some other version of too much work, too little time/resources, with all sorts of new pressures and bureaucratic nonsense. Live and learn, I suppose: No end in sight to said storm. *Sigh.* Margaritas, anyone? :highfive: Happy Friday, folks!!
     
  29. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    My level of empathy for applicants is significantly reduced now that I’ve been a reviewer for enough years.

    I do agree about the brochures though. Clarity can help on both ends. The UG/Grad transcript thing probably reflects a specific VA’s policy and while they should clarify if electronic delivery is ok, you might have some random TD in there that was given the position without any time carved out after someone else left, and they’ve got tons of other stuff to worry about.

    At the postdoc level, people want you to figure it out and to be reasonable. Ask a question if necessary.
     
  30. Hawkeye11

    Hawkeye11

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    I paid to overnight mine because I had to to make the deadline. My program really should have taken that as a sign...
     

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