tshielad

10+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2009
17
0
Status
Psychology Student
I am a senior in college (yay!) graduating in the spring.

I have wanted to be a psychologist for as long as I can remember. I hope to get my Ph.D in Counseling Psychology eventually. I had a really bad semester :( and now my gpa is about a 2.85 my psych gpa is a 3.11. I am a African American women that has volunteered at a help line advocate for about a year and a half, I did research for a semester and half of a summer and I am currently doing a summer internship. I have a work recommendation, a volunteer recommendation and a my research supervisor is a grad student in psychology who could recommend me. I am currently looking for Psychology professors to recommend me but honestly at my school the majority of people teaching psychology students are grad students so it is extremely had. I have not taken the GRE (this October) shooting for a 1400 :xf: and I am not sure if I am going to take the Psych GRE. What are my chances of even getting into graduate school?

any advice would help me! I'm the first person in my family going to graduate school so any information would help me tremendously!

also how many grad schools do people usually apply to?

thanks for any responses in advance!
 

psychmama

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2008
1,179
2
NYC Area
Status
Psychologist
Hi. Don't be too discouraged, because you have options. One option is to study really hard for the GRE and if you do well enough, apply to doctoral programs and see what happens. Another, perhaps more realistic option might be to apply to masters-level programs first. Doing well in an MA program in psych can offset a sub-par UG GPA and show doctoral programs that you can handle the work. Also, you could benefit from additional clinical and research experience, and doing the MA would provide this and also give you greater opportunities to get a recommendation from a professor who knows you well.

I'm sure you'll get a variety of opinions on this message board -- these are just my ideas. Good luck to you!:luck:
 

Quynh2007

the oracle of destiny
10+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2004
710
3
Status
Psychology Student
depends on when the bad semester is and why it was bad. Many schools will take it into consideration, although you may not make the cutoff for many schools since it is below a 3.0. What about your last 2 years GPA? If it is a lot higher, it might help.

If you do really well on the GRE, it could help as well.

I would say:

1) Do very well these last two semesters to try to get that GPA as high up as it can go.

2) keep doing your extra-curriculars.

3) do well on the GRE

4) If possible at your school, this coming year, see if you could take a graduate psych course or two and do well. This would show that you have what it takes to do well at the graduate level.

I agree with psychmama, this year, it may be a waste of money to apply to Ph.D. programs unless you are a very good fit, and the POI knows your situation and is willing to give your application a chance. I would apply to master's level ones, and find RA positions.
 

SourPatchKid

10+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2008
65
0
Status
Another piece of advice is that your recommendation writers really should be PhDs or MDs. Graduate students or people outside of the field won't be considered with the same weight as psych PhDs and MDs. Usually you will be asked for 3 recommendations, and I can see you maybe getting away with one person only having a masters or something. This isn't like college, you really need letters from people who are graduate level scholars in the field. So keep this in mind as you move forward and start thinking about who is going to write your recommendation. good luck!
 

Thrak

RU experienced?
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2007
304
1
Queens, NY/Edison, NJ
Status
Psychology Student
Which courses did you do poorly in? It may be one thing if you hit a roadblock in something like organic chem, quite another if it was a stats class.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
Status
Psychologist
I am a senior in college (yay!) graduating in the spring.

I have wanted to be a psychologist for as long as I can remember. I hope to get my Ph.D in Counseling Psychology eventually. I had a really bad semester :( and now my gpa is about a 2.85 my psych gpa is a 3.11. I am a African American women that has volunteered at a help line advocate for about a year and a half, I did research for a semester and half of a summer and I am currently doing a summer internship. I have a work recommendation, a volunteer recommendation and a my research supervisor is a grad student in psychology who could recommend me. I am currently looking for Psychology professors to recommend me but honestly at my school the majority of people teaching psychology students are grad students so it is extremely had. I have not taken the GRE (this October) shooting for a 1400 :xf: and I am not sure if I am going to take the Psych GRE. What are my chances of even getting into graduate school?

any advice would help me! I'm the first person in my family going to graduate school so any information would help me tremendously!

also how many grad schools do people usually apply to?

thanks for any responses in advance!

"I am a senior in college (yay!) graduating in the spring."
<-First Congratulations.

"I had a really bad semester :( and now my gpa is about a 2.85 my psych gpa is a 3.11."
<- This could be a pretty serious problem.

"I am a African American women" <- Don't count on this to help. A latina friend of mine, who used to say "I'll get in because I am brown. I am going to take your slot at school X" faced a very rude awakening. She didn't get a single interview.

"I have a work recommendation, a volunteer recommendation and a my research supervisor is a grad student in psychology who could recommend me." <- Make sure ALL recommendation letters are from Ph.D.'s, you need to find them out and make yourself known.

"I have not taken the GRE (this October) shooting for a 1400" <- Be careful in thinking you can score this high, take a practice test, it may be very humbling. This is not the SAT. I do hope that you can nail that, as I know nothing about you, you may be underestimating your ability to score well on this test. I hope so, because a solid GRE score can significantly help you.

"I'm the first person in my family going to graduate school"
<- This is probably a more significant factor than race or ethnicity. Schools seem to be very positive about getting new blood into the graduate school ranks.

My advice is to get that GPA up, even if it means taking a few courses in underwater basket weaving. It needs to be above a 3.0 in order to not stick out like a sore thumb on your graduate school applications. You also didn't state what schools you had your eye one, which would give us an idea of how realistic your goals are.

I wish you the best of luck, start studying now for the GRE. You're gonna need every point you can get unless that GPA is higher. Finally, if you cannot gain admission, doing your masters and carrying a stellar GPA and producing publications can really turn this around for you.

Mark
 

Cmvramirez

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2009
90
1
Status
Psychology Student
I'm going to give you my experience, hopefully it will serve you well. Like you, I screwed up in undergrad & came out of there with a low GPA. Unfortunately, since you're in your senior year, it's going to be extremely difficult to come out of that with a 3.0.

I took several graduate level courses to bring up my GPA & show that I was capable of the coursework. I then proceeded to a MA & bust my butt to come out with a GPA in the 3.9s, worked hard at my practicum, did volunteer opportunities, & anything else I could muster. I worked hard on my GRE, but it still wasn't as awesome as I would've liked. I wrote stellar essays, had multiple people look over them, & applied for 8-10 schools (I think it was 8 for me). I ended up with offers from 3 excellent schools, so I know it's possible.

I really would recommend that you take the MA route first to build your reputation up & to show that you're capable of doing grad level work. The bonus is that you'll come out with clinical experience, research experience, & a high GPA if you work hard at it. Work hard on your GREs, do whatever you can to salvage this year, & best of luck to you! :luck:
 
Jul 13, 2009
42
0
New York
Status
Psychology Student
I agree whole heartedly with Cmvramirez... doing well in an MA program will show schools that your bad semester was just a fluke and you'll have a better chance of getting accepted to a really good school. Like you, I've always wanted to be a psychologist long before graduating from college so I know it sucks not going straight into a PhD program like you may have always planned for but you're really young in comparison to the majority of applicants and a year or two of research/clinical experience (and a high grad school GPA) will make you a more competitive candidate. The application process is stressful and expensive so I (personally!!!) would wait till you are in the best position possible to apply. Good luck with whatever you decide!!
 

kh1264

10+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2008
64
0
NC, NYC for school
Status
Psychology Student
I am a senior in college (yay!) graduating in the spring.

I have wanted to be a psychologist for as long as I can remember. I hope to get my Ph.D in Counseling Psychology eventually. I had a really bad semester :( and now my gpa is about a 2.85 my psych gpa is a 3.11. I am a African American women that has volunteered at a help line advocate for about a year and a half, I did research for a semester and half of a summer and I am currently doing a summer internship. I have a work recommendation, a volunteer recommendation and a my research supervisor is a grad student in psychology who could recommend me. I am currently looking for Psychology professors to recommend me but honestly at my school the majority of people teaching psychology students are grad students so it is extremely had. I have not taken the GRE (this October) shooting for a 1400 :xf: and I am not sure if I am going to take the Psych GRE. What are my chances of even getting into graduate school?

any advice would help me! I'm the first person in my family going to graduate school so any information would help me tremendously!

also how many grad schools do people usually apply to?

thanks for any responses in advance!
Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Like the previous posters stated, you need to bring your GPA up and, therefore, taking grad level courses or going for your Master's would probably be the best solution to this problem. Unless you can reasonably and most definitely explain your GPA it will be a rather huge impedement to your goal of being admitted to a Ph.D. program. Getting your Master's will definitely help in the long run if you are seeking to gain admittance to a Ph.D. or Psy.D. level program with some funding.

Also, in your apps, you should play up the fact that you would be a first generation grad school student and that your past experience doing all the things you stated above shows your dedication to getting involved in the field...yada yada yada. I, too, am a minority female applicant but I focused more on the fact that I throw myself into my work and was the first in my family to go to college, let alone grad school. I think the admissions committees like to see long term dedication and commitment to research and the field, clearly to make sure you're ready for 5-7 years of the torture they're about to dish out :rolleyes:.

Make sure you study as much as you can for the GRE (do not underestimate that test) but don't place all your weight of acceptance on it, as you need to be a complete package to be appealing to admissions committees. Take time in your essays to explain what was significant about your various volunteer and research opportunities (learned skills or furthered your knowledge about counseling/disorders, created a paper or poster out of your research, etc.). Also, I recommend reading over the threads on this board...they certainly helped me out!!

Also, most people probably apply to around 7-10 schools. I applied to only 6, got into 3 (and obv. choose one :D) but I think the norm of the posters on this board leaned towards 7-10, or even more. Good luck!