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Experience with psych

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Questionairre, May 29, 2008.

  1. Questionairre

    Questionairre 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    I have researched school psychology and read the threads concerning this subject. I don't think the question I have has been addressed, so here goes:

    To what extent must one have experience working with children to be a competitive applicant to a school psych program (PhD)? I realize that most PhD psych programs require one to have research experience, but is that also true for the field of school psychology? I am concerned because the only experience I have working with children is from short term volunteer work I have done interspersed through undergrad and grad school. I do have research experience, but it has more to do with health/medicine than it does psychology or youths. My undergraduate degree is in Psychology, and I currently am working towards a Masters degree in Public Health. My GRE score is somewhat high. I just don't want to waste my time applying if I don't meet minimum requirements. Thanks :)
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  3. schoolpsych

    schoolpsych 5+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    I applied to school psych PsyD and PhD programs this past fall. I wasn't really asked about my experiences with children, which was slightly surprising. However, I was always asked about my prior research experience (which had nothing to do with school psychology). I got into everywhere I interviewed, so I don't think it is necessarily an issue if you have minimal experience with children and unrelated research experience. Thus, I think you would be fine if you applied, but you should check with the schools you are applying to first to see if they have any specific requirements.
  4. paramour

    paramour 7+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    I know a number of individuals in school psych programs who had very minimal to no experience with children prior to their admission or if they did it was not directly relevant to the area (e.g., coach fo a girl's soccer team). However, I am uncertain as to whether all of these individuals are the norm or exceptions, so as already mentioned, I would suggest checking with the programs that you are interested in. G'luck!
  5. PsyDGrrrl

    PsyDGrrrl Head Shrinker 7+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    I also know someone who had very little to no experience working with kids who got into a (master's level) school psych program. What got him in (because he had no background in psychology) was his expertise in linguistics and speech and language disorders, which is a major component of what school psychs do. So if you have a background that is relevant to the job (not just the clientele you will have), I think you can be a competitive candidate.
  6. PhDshallsee

    PhDshallsee 5+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    I applied and got in with a good bit of experience with children, but highlighted little to none of it.

    If it's a PhD program, they're really more concerned about your research experience, with or without children. I spent far more time talking about that than I did my work with children.

    I know some Masters programs ask you to shadow a school psychologist, but don't know of any phd programs that ask you to do the same.
  7. sicologia

    sicologia 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    As some of you already know, I've earned a master's and a specialist degree in school psychology and have found that the students who excelled in the program typically had some experience or were continually working with kids (in schools, mental health centers, and as ABA therapists, etc.). I am now currently in a PsyD program for school psychology and it was a huge criteria and draw for me to be working in the schools as I work toward my doctorate.

    I think it would be a shame to work towards a career in a field that you may not be certain you like working with the population you're serving. For me, school psychology sort of called me. I pursued it because I wanted to work with children and adolescents where they are most accessible and where they spend most of their time. Kids present a variety of problems while in the school setting.

    To the OP, good luck and keep us posted what you decide.
  8. Questionairre

    Questionairre 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. They have made me feel a little less apprehensive about applying to the program.

    I am certain that I would enjoy working with kids full time. I do have some experience working with kids, it's just that I don't feel that it is a lot. Most of the volunteer work I've done in the past has been with kids between the ages of maybe 8 and 14. For the most part, those were all day-long sessions held on a weekend that taught the kids math and science and helped them earn merit badges for boy scouts. My latest experience has been mentoring kids in a high school, but that was only for about two weeks. I'd love to continue volunteering with the high school students, but I am pressed for time, as my days are full with work and school.

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