Gender/Race and Admissions to Doctorate Programs

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by PsychBiker, May 12, 2008.

  1. PsychBiker

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    I am beginning to look at PsyD programs to apply to in the Fall and I have noticed the high amount of women in the programs. Does being a male help you actually get in? I have heard that many programs have quotas to fill, but I didnt think it would be by gender.

    Also, I am Middle Eastern (Iranian, but US citizen). Does that count as a minority? Are there quotas to fill as well? I usually check the Caucasian box, but for the best chances in apps, should I check the "other" box since I do not see a spot for Middle Easterners?

    Thanks for any help. :)
     
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  3. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Why would you want to be admitted to fill a quota? I would be insulted if the only reason I got in was my genitalia or my race/ethnicity.

    Mark
     
  4. PsychBiker

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    I doubt I would be admitted only on the basis of my ethnicity. I could see how some people would be offended by getting admitted because of the gender or race, however, I would not be.
     
  5. Ollie123

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    Unless I'm mistaken if they are actually trying to "fill a quota" they're violating US law and are in a heap of trouble, so I doubt that's the case.

    You are "technically" in the minority as a male, though I doubt it counts for much, if anything.

    Middle eastern, on the other hand, definitely places you in the minority category. I don't know that it would give you an advantage, but I can't think of any reason middle eastern wouldn't be considered a minority.
     
  6. scienceisbeauty

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    I didn't want to get involved in this...but...what you said kind of threw me off.
    Ok, for one thing -- you should check off whatever you most identify with. If Iranian then Iranian, if Caucasian then Caucasian.

    If you're checking off certain boxes only because you see that as some sort of "privilage" it feels somewhat unfair, and is probably PARTLY why some people are so averse to affirmative action things.


    You said you "usually check off Caucasian" - so you should do that for the applications too. Yes, surely you say you won't feel bad if the only reason you got in was because you were Iranian but just...grr...

    I have one friend who didn't get admitted to a program where she interviewed, and another girl who interviewed with her did get in. My friend said: She just got in over me because she was a minority.
    It ticked me off - she had this illusion that the only reason minorities get in is because they are minorities ...why would you want to propogate this fallacy?

    It just makes me...upset. I'm really in favour of affirmative action. I really am, but because you said : "I usually check off Caucasian" it seems like you're abusing the whole reason it was put into place.

    Just grr...
    and anyway they can't do the "fill a place for minority" thing anyway.

    Ok. I'm done.
     
  7. PsychBiker

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    Well sorry if I came off the wrong way. When I say I usually check Caucasian, its because there is no other box that matches my actual ethnicity, not even other. So I really have no choice but to pick that box. However, when the "other" box is there and not Middle Eastern, I am just assuming I should that I should check "other."
     
  8. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Just as a data point, this year we had one male applicant interview... He was not accepted.

    Mark
     
  9. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    I know that psychology is trying hard to "attract" more minority individuals to the field. However, to my knowledge, there is no preferential treatment or any lower bars for admission for these people. They simply want to attract highly qualified minority candidates to become interested in psych and apply to programs. Doctoral programs do not have "quotas" for race or gender balances.
     
  10. solar3000

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    I agree with this. First, no one is getting pref treatment based on gender OR "race". Please, get that idea out of the way because it's not true!
    the so called "minorities" are in no way better off than the rest. If they want to attract these groups, is because they are UNDERREPRESENTED and nothing more. They still need to work just as hard IF NOT harder than "whites" just because they need to prove that they can do the job.
     
  11. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    Hmmm. Perhaps you could explain that. Why would they need to work harder than Caucasians to "prove" their abilities. Who do you know that thinks they would need to prove that they can do the job over a Caucasian? I would argue that the issue is one of underrepresentation/disinterest in the field, not discrimination, stereotypes, or prejudice by anyone.
     
  12. ny1020

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    I just went through the application process, so I have limited experience. But, as a minority, I have to say that I don't think my race made a difference at all. At my interview, everyone had amazing credentials. I mean, I spoke to minority applicants who had clinical and research experiences that I didn't even think were possible as an undergrad. Trust me, there weren't there because there's a lower bar for minorities - it's because they were tip top candidates.

    My point is, if your application isn't competitive on its own, I don't think being male or minority or both will tip the scale in your favor.
     
  13. Quynh2007

    Quynh2007 the oracle of destiny

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    i plead the fifth...

    but, I would say, my only weak point in my application was my GRE (1330 - Verbal 580 I think). and maybe no honors thesis, but I was involved in 2 research projects for most of my collegiate career. and I went straight from undergrad.

    I would say, my disadvantage thus far is my inexperience with pushing out publications (working on my masters and 2 other research projects, so we'll see what happens next year) and presenting at conferences (again, maybe next yr). as far as classes, we are all equal and help each other.
     
  14. joetro

    joetro Senior Member

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    I really don't know how much of a factor that ethnicity/race is, but it is something my department looks at when the statistics come out about the incoming class. Also, 3 years ago the class was all women - now each of the past 3 classes have included at least 2 men. Maybe that's purely a coincidence, or maybe there have been efforts to interview or accept men. In any event, I'd think that gender is much less of a factor than race, as it isn't included in the APA disclosure.
     
  15. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!

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    it just seems like it's all so complicated. i know at my interviews you had white canidates who were interested in studying minority pops, and of course non-white canidates who were not especially interested in looking at race through thier work. so who adds more diversity to the program? it can be tricky.

    i've worked at several non-profits that were all staffed by white women. it was not intentional, not by any means, but simply there are a lot of caucasian ladies who want to work in that area, and it was wierd because on the one hand we'd all agree that we needed to have some not white, male staff, since the pop.s we worked with were very mixed racially and ethnically and gender-wise, and it just seemed wierd that our staff was not diverse at all, but at the same time, most of our canidates were -- white women, and of course we wanted to hire the best canidate, period. what do you do in situations like that?
     
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  17. Thrak

    Thrak RU experienced?

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    I don't have any hard evidence, and when you're looking at something like PhD programs in psychology, where theoretically the biggest factor that gets you in is "fit" it's hard to make generalizations. I'd be lying if I told you that I thought race/ethnicity and gender meant nothing at every program. I think you have to look at a program and its recent history. If every year, a program gets qualified applicants from a diverse pool, and every year it's 7 white women between the ages of 24 and 27 who get in and nobody else, at some point, people will start asking questions.

    The problem (if it's a problem) is when you're dealing with "fit," once you hit the basic quantitative requirements (GPA, GRE scores, acceptable LOR, a well written SOP), everyone's theoretically on an equal playing field. You could be picking the white guy because you want more white guys in the program, or because he's the best "fit." Who can say otherwise? If you're writing something on a dry-erase board, and you open up a pack of new markers, it may mean something that you chose the blue one, or it could just mean you just needed a marker that wasn't out of ink.

    Remember, this isn't law school. You can't look at all the accepted students and say well, if the standardized test score is X points or less lower than the other accepted students, we can still tip the scales for them if they're of R race or G gender or S sexual orientation or O country of Origin, and easily be called on it. In psych, the Caucasian man with the 1550 GREs and 3.97 GPA with three publications on eating disorders could lose out to the Latina with a 1250 and 3.68. Was it racial? Sexist? Not if the Latina is interested in PTSD and has worked in a VA hospital on the topic, the faculty member she applied to was taking students and the one the guy applied to wasn't.

    I'm a white man, straight, married, nearing 31, committed childfree, vegetarian, child of an immigrant. Did any of those demographic characteristics help me to get into my program this year? Hurt me in getting into others? Who knows? I was the only guy in the interview stage for my program. Everyone else interviewing was extremely well-qualified. I consider myself extremely well-qualified. Maybe they wanted to have men represented in the incoming class. Maybe my research matched up better with faculty. Maybe my name was the one drawn out of the hat.

    But, to answer your question, psychbiker, yeah, I'd check the "other" box. A lot of times, the question is just for reporting aggregate applicant data to the feds or the university, or for fellowship/scholarship opportunities.
     
  18. Psyched77

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    PsychBiker,

    Sorry you've gotten such a negative reaction. I understand what you're trying to say, & I am in favor of Affirmative Action. (My 2nd major was in Sociology, with an option in diversity, so don't even get me started.) To say it in a way that doesn't ruffle so many feathers: Yes, check "other," because according to the lists you're given, you are indeed "other." (It's all complete B.S., since race is a crock anyway...a social construct.) I understand why you haven't been checking "other." Who wants to be "other," "n/a," or so "abnormal" that they're not listed? Who would like the idea of not even having their race appear on the race lists? Anyway...sheesh. All that said, Affirmative Action DOES take place at some schools, despite the claim above that it can't. (To further avoid feather ruffling...) That doesn't mean that an unqualified applicant would get in, but schools (even those without AA) are often seeking diversity. So, if it comes down to you & one other applicant who has nearly identical credentials, they might use your "diversity" ;) as a tie-breaker.

    P.S. To everyone freaking out about the thought of AA (especially the one who kept saying that it made them angry), FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR more "freebie" spots in higher education in general are given to children of alums or children of rich/powerful parents (something like 25% at the more prestigious schools) than are given to people on the basis of race (something like 1%). The uber rich don't represent 25% of our country, & "ethnic" minorities represent FARRRR more than 1% of our country. If you should be pissed about anything, it should be about the greater likelihood of getting bumped by some rich kid who is getting a free ride through life. You're definitely more likely to get bumped (for school, jobs, etc.) by a white person with "connections" than a person of color. Here in the U.S., we just don't call the white dominated power plays "Affirmative Action."
     
  19. Psyched77

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    P.S. I just woke up & may not be entirely coherent. Sorry! Race issues are just near & dear to me. Thrak's post is pretty solid though.
     
  20. naiman

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    I've heard ethnicity might increase chances indirectly via language - with Spanish-speaking applicants given a leg up, especially in large cities with lots of immigrants from Latin America. It's done in the interest of the research and its funding.
     
  21. Quynh2007

    Quynh2007 the oracle of destiny

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    I agree. I hear stories ALL THE TIME from Vanderbilt Admissions every other day (during that time of the year), it is an alum or rich parent who is threatening to sue because their kid didn't get in (or were waitlisted, and more often than not, they get in after that "call"). Don't get me wrong, I often scratch my head at some "minority" students who have gotten in as well, and wondered how considering they have been in school for 6+ years (including academic probation, leave of absence), and still have yet to finish. I find th e # of them alarming at my undergrad and now here.
     
  22. HeyJude

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    For the current study I'm working on, middle easterners are supposed to be catagorized under "white." I wouldn't be suprised to find that this is techinically the correct choice for you.
     
  23. noneotherthanoz

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    i've been told several times that being a guy helps. especially when it comes to child clinical.
     
  24. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!

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    okay this shows just how ignorant i am, but until i started working on my study. i didn't know that hispanic was categorized as an ethnicity. makes sense - there are balck and white cubans, dominicans, etc, i just thought of "hispanic" as another racial group, like white or black.

    in my defense, many of our subjects added "hispanic" to thier 2 choices of race on the demographic questionairre, and then also filled out hispanic under "ethnicity"
     
  25. solar3000

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    I think what most people are saying is "you are a minority, therefore, you will get pref treatment REGARDLESS of your qualifications"......Well, everyone who is afraid that the one minority out of 200 applicants per school is going to steal your spot, should CALM DOWN. These so called "minorities" are not getting in just because they are "minorities". They have to be just as competitive as EVERYONE ELSE.
    Someone asked earlier as to why a person who is a minority would feel like they have to work harder than everyone else to prove that they can do the job. Well, look at what everyone is talking about? Everyone is talking about being afraid that this one person (out of 200+ applicants) will steal their "god given" spot. People wrongly assume that minorities aren't qualified or smart enough to get accepted based on their intelligence...
    this is why I feel like most minorities have extra weight on their shoulders because everyone thinks: Minorities= not smart+ get pref treatment based on color.
    I hope this makes sense. Again, everyone should calm down about all this. Minorities have to work just as hard as everyone else.
     
  26. solar3000

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    In Mexico alone, there are over 40 "ethnic" groups. So the term "hispanic" is just a bad way of bumping up a lot of "races" into one label. I could go on and on about how I disagree with the whole concept of "ethnicity" but I won't go into detail.
     
  27. psychwanabe

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    Wow that was quite a reaction to your post PsychBiker! I took a Diversity class this past year and all of these issues came up. One big question to me is why there isn't a category that you fit into on university applications. Shouldn't that be the one place in which all ethnicities are available for identification?

    I know that my program really tries to have a diverse incoming class, however they will not accept students with lower stats just because of their minority status. Having said that, I believe that a lot of programs are focusing on trying to attract more diverse student populations, but they can only admit those who apply! My program tries to reach out to other schools and get the word out about our program, but the applicant pool is still largely caucasian and female.

    I think you should identify yourself however you are comfortable. But I also think that if your stats are a fit for the program, the fact that you are Middle Eastern may give you an edge. Why not use it?
     

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