For those who applied,either got in or not,what would you have done differently?

Ilovecows

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For all those people who applied - what was the worst part of applying - the most difficult? What would have have done differently?
E.g. Would you have started your PS earlier (when did you start?)
Would you have asked different letter writers (who did you ask - why?)
Would you have started studying for the GREs earlier? (when did you start, what do you wish you had studied, spent more time on, having now taken the test?)

Questions of that sort...

What advice would you give to us - those individuals applying for the first time for a Sept 09 start ?

Thanks (wanted to ask as early as poss so that it's fresh [I guess] in people's minds.)

Thanks !
Ilovecows (esp the brown one's w/ white spots)
 

RileyG

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I applied (and was accepted) this year. I retook the GRE at the end of the summer and started studying for it at the beginning of summer after spring semester was over. After I took the GREs, I knew which "tier" (so to speak) schools I should apply to and started working on my applications early.

I knew I was going to ask letter writers who were reliable, and I asked them at the end of September to write them and have them to be by the end of November (except for a few which were due at the end of Nov, so they had them finished by the middle of Nov)

I had all of my applications finished by the end of November and at the beginning of December, I called all the schools I applied to to make sure they had all of my materials.

Starting early made a HUGE difference for me. I was very relaxed throughout the application process, while my peers were CLEARLY stressed from mid-November through the rest of the semester.

So besides starting early, the advice I would give is to read through these SDN posts and really take the advice that is given bc these people know what they are talking about. However, after you have finished applying, try NOT to check this forum except once a day. You will obsess over it...you will stress about it. And all the obsessing and stressing doesn't help at all. So find a hobby to start in January :laugh:
 

psybee

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good question! i was just thinking about this.

#1 Everything Earlier

I started studying in July for my October GRE and November Psych GRE. Not bad, but in retrospect, and esp. if I was a student and maybe had a more flexible schedule, I would have done both earlier, so that if I underperformed, I would have had enough time to do them over. I did fine and was able to use my 1st time scores, but as the test dates neared I began to run over contingency plans in my head in case something went wrong and I got a 900, and since I didn't give myself any wiggle room (in the case of the Psych GRE, NO wiggle room) I had the extra stress of knowing if I did poorly I was kinda screwed. Also, the psych GRE is like a regular test, not the wierdness of the computer adaptive GRE. I got way too stressed out about it. If you've done well in your psych classes and tok a good ammount of them and do well on MC tests, you should be fine with a month or less of studying.

Also, whatever you can get done as early as possible regarding transcripts, do it. Most schools allowed you to send everything together in one packet -- the schools that asked that transcripts and LOR's be sent individually, I called them and asked if I could send them all together, and all of those schools agreed. Koowing that one packet had to get to my school on time (and that it was sent by me, with signature confirmation) and not my app, 3 seperate letters, and 1 or more transcripts took away some stress.

Also, ETS (the GRE people) is TERRIBLE. Awful. They lose scores all the time, don't send them, whatever. If your scores should have been in by November, call and make sure. Better, send them in October, so that if ETS screws up (and they will) you do not need to stress about them being resent.

#2 Research Schools early, well, and take notes

I wish I had kept a word document of my notes while i was researching schools, because once i figured out where i wanted to apply, i basically went back over the websites i had just examined to write the statements. The insiders guides and some of the other guides have helpful outlines for notes. Also, if you are checking out schools right now and making notes, you can start getting together the oh so helpful document that you can give your letter writers that has a few lines about why you want to go to each program, why that program is awesome, and why you are a good fit. My main mentor tailored each of his letters to my programs, and the quality of my letters was remarked on at several interviews.

#3 Talk to People

Contact profs, see if the program does tours, see if there are students that are assigned by the dept to answer questions from prospective students. You cannot get this kind of info from a guide or a website.

#4 Interviews

be chill and be yourself at interviews, make sure you know the structure of the interview before you go, when you're looking at programs to apply to, if you have the time check out one of the interview question lists in the guides or on this site and try to answer those questions. Because they tend to be quite specific, they can really get you thinking about what you want from grad school in general and this program in particular, and content wise, get you very far along on your personal statement. And by the time you've written a personal statement informed by the interview questions you've answered, when you get an interview you'll be prepared already. Have a general idea of the research interests of all the faculty, not just your major prof(s). I had interviews where I was also interviewed by a random prof., or was also interviewed by a random student -- knowing the work of her/his major professor, even if they weren't mine, really helped convey my preparation and interest in thier program.

When you interview, do not be asocial, or competitive. sweet and dorky and nervous may very well get in if smart is also there -- cold and aloof and smart, not as likely. You are not competing against the others in a meangful way in interviews, because you cannot be them. It's all very qualitative at that point, so just be the best you you can be.
 

EquestriAnn

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I would have taken the GRE twice. I did pretty well but I think I could have done a lot better.
 

Ollie123

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Two things:

1) I'd have retaken the GRE. 1250 just plain doesn't cut it for the kind of schools I wanted to attend. I'm very lucky I got in where I did.

2) Left my happy little bubble for a more prestigious RA job (preferably MGH or Pitt). I think I'd have been more competitive if I had more research experience in my area and if I had shown a willingness to leave the area in order to get the best experience I could.

That being said, I still got in and am very happy with where I'm at so I'm not complaining:) Just things I'd have done differently if I had to go about it again.
 

Thrak

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Got in this time around (Social Psych PhD)

Things right:
- Honestly, I think I did the GRE properly (course in June, took the test in July).

- I had the right LOR, as far as I can tell, for being a non-trad (one prof, two
supervisors who have PhDs, one in Exper. Psy, the other in Sociology).

- Scouted out my programs early (I knew where I was applying in September).

- SOP was as polished as it was going to get, given that each program wanted to know something a bit different.

Things wrong:

- In an ideal world, I would have had more geographic diversity. I basically took a compass, centered it on midtown manhattan, and drew a circle. This was for family reasons. I think if geography wasn't a factor, I would have done better than 1/7 (though I'm ecstatic about that 1, and would have gone there anyway).

- Not apply just because of geography. It's more stress, for almost a guaranteed rejection. Despite the better acceptance rates, I had zero shot at CUNY because I matched up poorly with faculty interests. I never should have applied there.

- I was a bundle of nerves from Jan 1 through March 15. Compulsively checked this board and grad cafe for updates on each program. I almost drove myself nuts. It may be asking too much of the universe, but I should have had more self-discipline, and took breaks from checking a couple of days a week. Usually I'm a lot more easy-going.
 

LeeS

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I would tell future applicants not to worry too much about EXACTLY what you want to do. I know its hard to figure out what to write in your personal statement without a concise, clear goal but another way to look at it is to think about what skills you want to gain/improve on and how that will occur while pursuing a PhD and what type of general research concepts you are motivated to study. When I applied, I honestly couldn't tell you exactly what disorder I was interested in, which faculty member I had to work with or even my TOP school, I was all over the map...but I knew I was intrigued by marginalized populations, health program evaluation and multiculturalism and as such applied to schools in large metropolitan areas with joint study programs (ie MPH/phd, phd/JD, etc), clear diversity missions and large faculties working on these issues. I didn't focus on the nitty gritty of what I had to study but wrote my personal statement based on my long term plans and how my background lead me to applying and what skills I had to offer the field and why I would benefit/be an asset to the program.

Try not to take the rejection personally-we all read and hear how competitive it is but honestly, I am sure even the most humble of us do have moments where we think will beat the 5% odds and won't be the student facing no offers at all. Eventually the possibilty of rejection hits you, esp thru Feb and the fear and insecurity starts but REMEMBER all it takes is one offer...and if you don't have a lucky application in this lottery (and a major component is chance) than give yourself a break from it all for a couple of monthes before planning your second shot at admissions. Don't beat yourself up over it. Its not as personal as it seems.

Because of my view that "it only takes on offer" only apply to schools you would LOVE to go that way if an offer comes in, you won't be disappointed and feel that your compromising by choosing your "only" option and if you get more than one offer better still! I can't stress that enough, don't apply to any schools you would be conflicted to accept offers from you don't want to be facing a major internal dilemma if they/it is the only offer you are given during that application year. Take into consideration everything about the school prior to applying, location, funding, research and ask yourself if you really want to go there if you hesitate, save yourself the application fee and the future stress, it will cause if ironically its the only school you get an offer from. I am so thankful that I only choose schools I wanted to go, getting an acceptance from any school I applied to was a joyous occasion.

Final piece of advice, if you are lucky to have more than one offer don't bend to any pressure to make a decision before you are ready, even if it means holding out until April 14th. (Obviously, the "only hold on to 2 offers" rule does apply). It can get quite high pressured as both you and your potential mentor want the right fit and conversations can get awkward and uncomfortable but-all this will be forgotten when you do make a choice or alternatively the waitlist candidate accepts the offer you gave up. Don't feel guilty for taking your time to think about whats best for you.
 

DiZzY187

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excellent advice LeeS.

I think I wouldn't have applied to as many schools as I did(28). I had a fee waiver and desperately wanted to get in, no matter where it was. Now looking back, I realize I should have research the schools more in depth which is really hard if you don't have a limit on the # of school you're applying to.

For my next round of this process(I was only accepted one place, but they offered no funding so I rejected them), I plan on really researching the schools and making sure that the fit is there. Nomore applying just to applying. Also I plan on taking the psych GRE because being without it really narrowed down the schools I could apply to.

Also the interviews and everything aren't that big of a deal, now looking back. They really just want to get to know you as a person. So I think, now that I've been thur the whole process already, it will definately help me for the next time around.
 

moonflwr

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This was my second time applying and I got into a clinical PhD program. My advice would be pretty similar to others. One thing I definitely would have done differently is to apply to schools that I actually might have as shot at getting into. I applied to a lot of top tier programs without the qualifications of the people they usually accept. Because of this I received a lot of rejections which was terrible for my moral. I also would have started saving for travel expenses earlier, those interviews can be so expensive!

I think its important to sit down, make a plan and try to stick to it as best as possible. Set your own deadlines and give yourself rewards for meeting them. Realize that there comes a time when the decision is out of your hands. If you've prepared the way you should have then everything will work out just fine. Having said that, NOBODY does everything perfectly :D.

As for the GRE's, I got an 1160 the first time so I retook it before applying and was able to bring my qualitative score up 100 points (same quantitative though, lol, I'm just terrible at math). I didn't take a class, I just learned 500 new vocab words and that helped tremendously.

That's my 2 cents :p
 

ny1020

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Ditto everyone's advice. Start early - I took the Psych GRE in April, GRE in Aug, had my LOR packages out in early Sept, got them back by late Oct. Was able to send everything out in one package.

What I regret is not budgeting more for the process. I didn't save enough for interviews (I budgeted for 3 interviews - when I got more than that, I started to freak out about money). Try to save as much as possible, because there are always more costs than you think (this school didn't get your GRE's score, that school's fee is $125!, you can't stay with a student during interviews and have to pay for a hotel, etc.)

Good luck!
 

PsychappA

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I ended up getting into a Clin psych Ph.D. program that I am very happy with, but there are definitely things I would have done differently if given the chance just to save myself a lot of stress:

1) Applied more broadly. Others have mentioned this, but this is the #1 thing I wish I had done. I applied to all very top tier programs. I thought of myself as a pretty strong candidate, so I figured I was justified in applying to all top programs. Again, in the end I got in, however, my confidence took a big hit when I was receiving fewer interveiw offers than others I knew. I believe that if I had applied to a few more schools that were a little lower then I would have gotten more interviews, thus boosting my confidence. Also, I limited myself a little by geographics. I applied mostly on the East coast, but in the end am going to school on the West Coast.

2) Worked on selling myself. I did what a lot of people do, which is essentially write a general personal statement and tack on a paragraph at the end describing why I was interested in a particular school. If I were to go back, I would try to adjust my personal statement so that I was really selling myself to the particular school from beginning to end. I don't think I was exteremely convincing about my interest in all the schools I applied to.

3) Prepared myself more (mentally) for interviews & worked on my confidence. As I mentioned, my confidence took a bit of a blow during this process. I was told (more than once unfortunately) that my lack of confidence was apparent when I was interviewing. It's amazing, I spent SO much time working on the paper aspect of the application, but spent so little time working on my confidence and presenting myself well.

4) Let go of some of the OCD-ness. There were times when I got so caught up on stupid little things in the apps that they took me way longer than they should have, causing me to pull all-nighters and having to FedEx apps in last minute. In the end, it would have been better to ease up on some of the perfection & just get the stupid things in earlier.

5) Taken the GRE earlier. I took it in September, then in October. Unwise. I ended up having a down to the wire ETS issue with them getting my scores in on time.

6) Given myself a little break during app season. I worked 3 jobs while applying. Not smart. I thnk if I had given myself a little more free time during the application process I would have been less stressed.

Hope this is helpful! Good luck!
 

psychwanabe

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I got in during my first round, but I've been preaching to any undergrad who will listen about what I learned and should have done differently.

1) Start studying for both GREs a lot sooner than I did. It's HARD.
2) Match, match, match with your POIs. Don't focus so much on the school, focus on matching your interests with the lab you want to get into.
3) Pay attention to the classes you're taking in UG. Don't just take the psych class that fits into your schedule. Make sure you get a Tests & Measurements class, Bio, Personality, Neuro, Cognitive, etc. Take the core subjects (even though your program may not require them all) and don't worry about the fluff stuff unless it fits what you want to do in the long run.
 

Sarahanne

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I decided to not take the GRE Psychology, and looking back I think it would have helped my application significantly. Also, I wouldn't have waited so long to retake the GREs. I took a course over the summer, and kept telling myself I would give myself a month to study and then take it in August...it didn't happen until October. But on a positive note, I knew by that time what schools I was applying to and saved money on four schools I was sending my GRE to.

I wish I had known what schools I would have gotten an interview at so that I didn't waste my time (and money) on applying to all the other schools that I didn't hear from! :laugh: On a similar note, knowing what schools have no application fee helps too. To name a few, Drexel University, UAB, and UT Southwestern all had no application fee. I think fit is important, but if you can save some $$ in the process, why not?

Ask someone to mentor you through the process. I asked someone who was just admitted into a program for advice, and it was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off for PS and where to apply to, it also helped because she had very similar research interests to mine-so she pointed me in the right direction as far as which schools to apply to, what people to network with, etc. Also, I asked my current boss/faculty advisor, to mentor me through the application process. He gave me priceless advice on how to make my application stronger, networked for me, and its so nice to have some cheering for you on your behalf.

If you order your transcripts early, it can be much less expensive. For one of my schools, if you ordered more than 5 transcripts in a month, then you had to pay like $5 more per transcript. And it adds up! One other thing I also found helpful was creating a template and printing up the address labels of the schools I was applying to, and sending the address labels to my schools I was requesting transcripts from. It was helpful because then I knew that each address was spelled out correctly and each one was accounted for. And then i could just print up another sheet for all my letter writers' envelopes, and for any other packets I was sending in the mail.

I think for me, the hardest part of each application was clicking the submit button. I had all my applications filled out, checked them three times for accuracy but had the hardest time submitting them before the deadline. Have the resolve to know that you are a worthy applicant.

This was also my second time applying, and I'm happy to say that I was much more successful this year. I gained admission into my top choice clinical psychology ph.d. program.
 
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Ilovecows

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Did you guys feel like there was anything that "hurt" your application that in the end didn't end up having such a negative effect or v.v. thought would be ok, but you think now looking back might have sunk your application?

Or even were you right about somthing really hurting your application but you got in anyway/didn't get in because of it?

And, perhaps even more importantly: what do you think made you stand out as a candiate, what do you think 'got you in'? What made you stand out from the rest?
 

blindchaos

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Have the resolve to know that you are a worthy applicant.
Did you guys feel like there was anything that "hurt" your application that in the end didn't end up having such a negative effect
Going into it (second time around), I thought there was a LOT that hurt my application. My impressions of myself as an applicant were: General GRE scores were decent at best, subject was bad, undergrad GPA wasn't terribly good, minimal research experience, and "switching" from counseling MA to clinical PsyD/PhD. I set my bar pretty darn low from the get go and while that helped in making me feel great about the outcome in the end, I kinda put myself down from the start and didn't really feel like I was a worthy applicant (I tend to be very self critical - analyze what you will :laugh:)

Anyway...I'm not saying have a big head and think you're the greatest thing ever since sliced bread, but have confidence in who you are and what you DO bring to the table. Don't focus solely on the "bad stuff" - sure everyone has stuff they can improve on, but there's good stuff there too! It was a fun learning experience and I'm very thankful for it. Two years ago (my first time around), things didn't happen the way I had planned and it hurt like none other and I thought maybe this was meant to show me that I didn't belong in this field but after the anger/hurt feelings faded away, I went back to a "things happen for a reason" way of thinking and while the past two years have been more challenging than I had ever anticipated, I'm thankful for them because I learned and experienced things I never would have gone through had things gone the way *I* had planned and I think a lot of those things helped to make me a stronger applicant and more confident as a person.

*steps off of reflective soap box*

Work on the things that can be improved but also be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. If it doesn't happen the way you planned the first, second, third, nth time around, keep trying for it if this is what you really want! Can't remember where I heard this first, but I like the "We plan...God laughs" motto :)
 

psybee

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Did you guys feel like there was anything that "hurt" your application that in the end didn't end up having such a negative effect or v.v. thought would be ok, but you think now looking back might have sunk your application?
i got 2 W's my 1st year of college - i was worried about them, and wondered if I should mention them somewhere, but everyone said no, and it seems like I didn't hurt because of it (i did apply to balanced programs, so once again, if i was applying to Penn, maybe it would have been a problem). with that caveat, it also took me 9 years to finish school, due to serious and repeated family illness, including SPMI. that i did mention, which was tricky, but i think i did the best job i could have doing so. maybe that was a factor at the 3 schools i didn't get interviews at, maybe not, but it may have made me stand out in a good way at other schools, since i ultimately persisted. in my statement i also briefly tied in how my art major, strong liberal arts background,and several years of totally non psych/ed work all told a story that lead, irrevocably, to my destiny as a clinical health psychologist:D. i think my PS ended up being very strong but very unique, and like i said earlier, may have gotten my in some places and not in others.
 

PsychappA

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I'm not saying have a big head and think you're the greatest thing ever since sliced bread, but have confidence in who you are and what you DO bring to the table. Don't focus solely on the "bad stuff" - sure everyone has stuff they can improve on, but there's good stuff there too!
I agree with this, definitely. As I previously mentioned, I let the whole process affect my confidence, which was reflected in some of my interviews. Ultimately, I ended up getting in to the school where I felt most confident at the interview. One thing I had to do several times and I recommend is write a list of everything that makes you a kick-a** candidate. This will boost your confidence and will get you in the right mindset to "sell" yourself. Talk to people who think that you are a great, well-qualified candidate and be mindful of why they think that.

I would say that lack of confidence was the one thing that hurt me the most that I wasn't expecting. In the end, there is no such thing as a "perfect" candidate. I know people who got accepted who had awful GRE scores, a less than perfect academic career, and wore a tank top to interviews (I kid you not). What matters the most is that schools see that overall you are competant and interested. The trick is believing it yourself and skillfully demonstrating it to them.
 

Jon4PsyD

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Well I applied to all Psy.D. programs for Fall 2006 admission and got in nowhere (not even an interview). I'll be applying for Fall 2009 admission this winter and am hoping things go much differently.

Basically:
#1)Do your research and get on these schools early. I was getting advice from a crappy advisor who made me too confident about the process, giving me an "Oh you'll definitely get in there," response to every school I mentioned. So listen to others, but do your own self-research, apply early don't wait until the last second as I did, and don't apply if you're not ready.

#2) Know your focus. I am so happy I did NOT get into a Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program right now. After completing my Master's & now working on my CAGS I know what my focus is, more of what I'm interested in, and what types of research areas I'm interested in. Through some practicum experience I also learned what clinical settings I enjoy working in and which I'd rather never work in again. This graduate work has been a great eye opener for me.

So we'll see how it goes three years later. One of my professors in my Master's program summed it up well by telling me (not that I'd get in at every school I threw out there) but by telling me that applying to Doctoral Programs in Clinical & Counseling Psychology is very much like running in a political campaign. You have to sell yourself as a person, you have to show why you'll be an asset to those considering you, and you have to show strong evidence through experience that you can get the job done.

Words of wisdom:)
Jon
 

73BARMYPgsp

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It's been a while since I am now a 4th year, but I will say this-

I did not prepare for the GRE and it was the only thing in my application packet(s) that was not really competitive. I am pretty sure it is why I got into a professional school and not a decent university. Now that I am almost done, it is too late to think about the what if scenarios, however, it is kind of a thorn in my side to occaisionally have to defend whether or not I have a real PhD to likes of Jon Snow.

So, taking the GRE more seriously is mine.
 

cara susanna

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As for the GRE's, I got an 1160 the first time so I retook it before applying and was able to bring my qualitative score up 100 points (same quantitative though, lol, I'm just terrible at math). I didn't take a class, I just learned 500 new vocab words and that helped tremendously.
May I ask what your original verbal was and what you raised it to? Also what your Quant was?
 

moonflwr

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May I ask what your original verbal was and what you raised it to? Also what your Quant was?
Sure, I got a 550 verbal and 610 quant the first time and a 650 verbal and same quant the second time. There was no improving on that math score, I was lucky to break 600 the first time. Luckily, I'm kick a** at stats :laugh: Okay, well at least better than algebra.
 
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Ilovecows

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Jon4PsyD said:
applying to Doctoral Programs in Clinical & Counseling Psychology is very much like running in a political campaign. You have to sell yourself as a person, you have to show why you'll be an asset to those considering you, and you have to show strong evidence through experience that you can get the job done.
OHHH I like!
 

meme1218

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I would have retaken my GREs to have a higher score. I did get accepted but not fully funded because my score is lower than the cut off!
 

scienceisbeauty

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[poke]
 

Ollie123

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applying to Doctoral Programs in Clinical & Counseling Psychology is very much like running in a political campaign. You have to sell yourself as a person, you have to show why you'll be an asset to those considering you, and you have to show strong evidence through experience that you can get the job done.
I like it, but he forgot one very important part.

You have to come across as a genuine, likeable human being during interviews and not say embarassing things. Just like campaigning;) No matter how much it seems like you can get the job done, you probably won't get accepted if no one can stand you as a person.

Just be careful not to forget the -et on the end of asset and you'll be fine.
 

blindchaos

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I like it, but he forgot one very important part.

You have to come across as a genuine, likeable human being during interviews and not say embarassing things. Just like campaigning;) No matter how much it seems like you can get the job done, you probably won't get accepted if no one can stand you as a person.

Just be careful not to forget the -et on the end of asset and you'll be fine.
Excellent point! That makes me think of one applicant I saw at several interviews...I believe it was her third or fourth time around and she had gotten multiple interviews every year but never got in. Later on in the interview days, she openly bashed the school and/or her interviewers in front of other faculty and current students (this happened at all the interviews she and I had together). I know she didn't get into at least two of the schools we interviewed at together - not sure how she did overall this time. I'm guessing this person had good stats/SOPs/LORs/etc to get so many interviews each year but she was a totally different story face-to-face.

On that note, I think most people know this already but just in case...students frequently have a say in the admissions process. Some schools have current students fill out forms on each applicant they interact with, others say talk with so and so if you have anything especially positive or especially negative to share about an applicant, etc. Also - these could be your future classmates/research team members!
 
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Ilovecows

Ilovecows

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What is a "good" amount of time to study for the GRE Generals? I'm scared.
 

Thrak

RU experienced?
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Depends on a lot. How were your SAT scores? How are you generally with math? Reading? Vocabulary?

And are you taking a course to prepare?

I took them three times. Twice was in the days of stone and chis... I mean, paper-and-pencil. Both times, I bought a book, did some problems, didn't take it as seriously as I should have. My average was low to mid 600s for each section. Five years later, I took the CAT version. I took a condensed course from the Princeton Review, essentially did nothing else but work and study for the GRE, read vocab words and definitions into a microphone, made them into MP3s, and listened to them on the commute to work and back and when I was falling asleep or driving to the store. The result was 730V, 720Q, and eventually an acceptance to a great PhD program.

If you're starting from an ok place, and can devote all your free time to studying, I'd say three months is a good amount of time. I started the condensed course in mid-May, and took the test in early July. From my own biased perspective, it's easier to learn the math concepts and strategies than the verbal. You can only learn so much vocabulary and improve your reading comp so much in a short amount of time.

Plus, it depends on the range you're shooting for. It's obviously easier to get from a 520 to a 620 than from a 670 to a 770.
 

hermionephd

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Jan 23, 2007
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This is my second time applying. Things I did differently:

* Got names from my major professor, people she'd be willing to call or introduce me to at conferences
* Realized that "match" doesn't just mean what you want to do, it means what you have already done
* Went to a national conference in clinical pysch and actually met a lot of the people I'm applying to work with, it also probably looks good that I presented there (worth the money - get a credit card if you must!)
* Called schools to make sure my materials had been received
* Took the subject GRE so I wouldn't be limited to only those schools which don't require it

But most importantly, I went into it this time really knowing what I want to do. I don't think people who have no clinical experience (and by clinical experience I mean seeing actual clients under a PhD's supervision) can really really really know whether they want to do clinical work. I had plenty of volunteer experience as an undergrad, but it is WAY different from having somebody come to you as their counselor/therapist. Having my master's has allowed me to determine which programs out there are actually good matches in general for me in terms of the research/clinical work balance.

This is the second time applying for me as well as for two other friends and we all feel MUCH more prepared this time around than last.

:xf:
 

cara susanna

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Yeah, I met a few of my POIs at a conference where I presented, and it was nice even just to see what they were like as people. Plus the conference was amazing and I loved every minute of it, even if my feet got super sore. ;)

The problem is it's hard to get an opportunity where you can see clients in that sort of setting, especially for people applying right out of undergrad.

This is my first time applying, however, so no real advice yet. ;)
 
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NeuropsychLady

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I agree with everyone that says start early. I began emailing POI's and studying for the GRE in the summer. I studied in coffee shops with internet to get myself focused and out of the house.

Most valuable for me...I emailed the POI's I was interested in working with, and attached my CV. I asked if they had time to chat (also indicating that I realize they are quite busy), as I was quite interested in their research area and wanted to know more specifically what they were doing.

I received such positive feedback, and ended up chatting on the phone with 6-7 POI's (some 15 minutes, others over an hour...they were very generous and kind) and one even invited me to visit the school to meet with her in person.

This gave me the opportunity to see what specifically they were interested in (as research interests are too broad in their faculty descriptions), and also if their program fit my interests. It also gave me insight into their personality and conversation style - in case I interview or work with them in the future.

I was also able to find out the POI's that were not taking students, or were not a good match for me. This saved me the time and cost of applying to those schools.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
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Don't get discouraged and be ready to apply a second year... Don't accept at a school you don't really want to go to.

Mark