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PhD/PsyD Could this work?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by devpsych99, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. devpsych99


    Jun 5, 2014
    Hi everyone. An opportunity recently presented itself and it has influenced my thoughts on my future options as far as PhD programs are concerned.

    I recently started a two-year masters program in psychology to get some more research experience (along with other experience) and guidance since my interests had slightly changed from clinical psychology to developmental psychology. I thought this masters program would be a good platform for me to work on my graduate school application and hopefully get some publications or poster presentations done. I should have at least one of these by the time I graduate. I got a position as a faculty assistant which means I get o do a lot of other things for my faculty advisor aside from being his RA which hopefully translates to an even better LoR.

    Anyway, the reason why I'm posting on here is because I interviewed for a volunteer position at another university (an Ivy located in another city) to work with a professor who has similar research interests and I got the spot! I like the developmental program at this school (though I need to learn more about it and this professor as well) and I would be interested in joining that lab if I ever got accepted into the program. I didn't even think about the possibility of getting accepted or even applying until my friend said "what if this professor really likes you and puts in a good word for you if/when you apply?" and I still didn't until I found out that my faculty advisor at the school where I'm getting my masters graduated from and is still very much involved with this Ivy AND he knows the professor that I would be working with (not personally though, more professionally in the sense that they know each others work and have met several times). My advisor also said he has a lot of other contacts at this school because he worked there as an instructor 2-3 years ago. He's someone who has a history of making big investments in his students, or at least that's what I was told by someone in the department.

    I know I don't have the GRE scores to get into this school even though I plan on retaking it this summer and my current scores aren't horrible. I also plan on having at least one poster presentation or publication or something in press by the time I send out applications so I definitely will have more research experience than I did when I applied to this masters program. I guess I'm wondering, if I volunteer at this other institution for the entirety of my masters program, build connections and rapport with this developmental psychology professor, and make a good impression, would that combined with my current advisor's connection to the same school do anything "extra" to help with the possibility of getting in or even getting an interview? They say it's all about who you know so do you think this would help "open the door" so to speak? I'm still going to do the work to boost my application so that I can get in somewhere, and I hope I do.

    Thanks in advance!
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  3. psychRA

    psychRA Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    In my experience, working (volunteer or paid) in a department where you plan to apply to their grad program can be a help or hindrance, assuming that it has an impact at all. In some labs/grad programs, working there as a research assistant is a great way to get your foot in the door, and POIs have a track record of taking on former research assistants as graduate students. In other labs/programs, there is an unspoken or even an explicit not to take on students who have already worked in the department. This may be due to a desire for students to have multiple different training experiences (rather than staying on at one institution), and it may be because that particular grad program attracts tons of stellar applicants from all over the country and they prefer to bring in new perspectives, etc.

    It sounds like volunteering in this lab will be beneficial to your application in general, even if you don't attend up attending that particular program.
    Jeina likes this.

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