Apr 6, 2017
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  1. Pre-Psychology
I'm looking to apply to several CSU MFT programs for Fall 2018, and I am trying to figure out if I am a competitive enough candidate to even apply. My interest in CSU is primarily because of location and lower cost.

I graduated from UC Merced in 2015 with a BA in Psychology, 3.3 GPA. I have not been working since I graduated. I have been volunteering with Crisis Text Line for over a year, have more than 200 hours of crisis counseling experience with them, and can get a letter of rec. Remaining letters will come from profs, and I'm not sure how strong they will be. I haven't taken the GRE yet, which is obviously a big missing component for some schools.

I have narrowed down my Top 8 CSU choices:
  • San Jose State (Clinical Psychology) No GRE
  • Cal State East Bay (Counseling) GRE
  • Sacramento State (Counseling) No GRE
  • San Francisco State (Clinical Psych or Counseling) No GRE
  • Sonoma State (Counseling) No GRE
  • Cal Poly SLO (Psychology) GRE
  • CSU Stanislaus (Counseling) GRE

I haven't been able to figure out how competitive each of these schools are, or how competitive I would be. At this point, I want to know if it is even worth applying, since my GPA isn't awesome, and my only clinical experience is through online volunteering.

Background: I have chosen the MFT route because it seems to fit my interests more than MSW. Additionally, I am highly considering applying to a PhD program when I am done with my master's. I have decided to do master's first because I am definitely not competitive for a PhD (no research) and I want to get a usable degree ASAP at this point. I am also afraid of entering a PhD, regretting it, and leaving with nothing to show for it. This way, I will have 2 years to figure out if the PhD is what I really want to do.
Jul 24, 2017
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  1. Pre-Psychology
I am curious about the SF State Clinical Psych masters as preparation for a PhD as well. The idea of getting a terminal masters that will prepare me for licensure feels like nice security if I don't get into a funded PhD program. I am an older student and am somewhat bound by geography so my options are fewer than if I were open to anywhere in the country. I am averse to spending a ton of money on graduate school when I can get funding, so long as the research I am doing is engaging and interesting to me.

Their website says: "Most students go into some form of clinical practice after obtaining their MFT license. Roughly a quarter or less of the graduates of the SF State Clinical Psychology Master's Program continued on to doctoral programs, either directly after obtaining the master's degree or after a year or more. Usually this is done to gain experience in research or teaching. However, this master's program does not prepare students for doctoral training in research oriented programs." So where are those quarter going? Maybe I am just scratching the surface but most funded PhD programs I've encountered in my research are research focused. Perhaps Counseling Psychology PhDs? But even those I've seen seem to have a research element.

Not sure where you live but I recently started writing to local labs and have had a good response so far, so if you want to get research experience before applying, it's not impossible (assuming you have the time). I am in the Bay area so I am lucky to have a lot of places to choose from.
Aug 23, 2017
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  1. Psychology Student
Hey if anyone else is looking at MFT programs in California, you might want to check out www.mftcalifornia.com. You could determine how "competitive" the schools are by looking at the size of the incoming class maybe, or by looking at the minimum GPA required. I've also found that most programs (especially the CSU schools) have people who work at the departments who are happy to answer any questions and are really honest about stuff like that. At the info night for my program, CSUN, the speaker talked about how they don't just look at any one metric to determine whether someone is a good candidate, but that they do get applications from competitive candidates (like from UC schools) so that's why the minimum GPA is relatively high (2.75). Hope that helps!
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