Oct 1, 2016
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Pre-Psychology
Hello all!

So this is a very intimidating time in my life. I graduate from Undergrad in December and right now I have a 3.38, so I expect that by the time I graduate I will have somewhere along the mid 3.4's. My Psych GPA is ~3.6, and my minor (Business) is ~3.5. Freshman year I started off badly, with around a 2.7 or 2.9, so I've improved greatly and have made Deans List for the past 2 years.

I know my GPA is deadly to my application, but I'm taking the GREs in a few weeks and hope to score atleast > 85% percentile for the regular and 95% for the psych. These expectations are coming from practice tests, so as long as I dont screw up....

I have 3 years of research experience, and now I am running my own study in the lab which will be completed by December.

I also have experience working with children with autism, and volunteer experience in a clinical setting. I am starting an internship at another outpatient clinic soon so that will be added onto my application as well.

Throughout college I've done multiple internships in various fields, but I'm focusing on highlighting my psych background.

I thought it was impossible for me to get into PhD programs, so I was mostly aiming for Psy.D but recently I've been considering the PhD option. Is it worth it for me to apply? Do I even have a chance at getting in?

Also, any other ideas on how to strengthen my application?
 

psych.meout

2+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2015
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Pre-Psychology
It kind of depends. Some programs have hard cutoffs for GPA, so you would be cut from consideration if your GPA isn't high enough for them. At others where there aren't hard cutting scores, you need to do really well on the GRE to compensate and your GPA isn't so low that awesome GRE scores won't help compensate for it.

As far as your research experience, three years is good, but it's not just about quantity, it's about quality. What did you actually do in that research? Was it just data entry or did you perform more substantial tasks like doing the lit review and developing the protocol or writing the actual manuscript for publication? Did you see the studies from start to finish or were you partially involved for just part of several studies across those three years? Did you get published or have a presentation at a conference?

When you say your study will be completed, do you mean you'll end data collection then or is that when your manuscript will be finished and submitted for publication or you'll be presenting the results at a conference?

Also, don't consider unfunded PsyD programs, because you don't think you'll get into any funded programs. It would be far better to take a gap year to shore up you credentials than to saddle yourself with massive debt in an unfunded program.
 

MCParent

Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2012
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Psychologist
At 3.4 you won't trip cutoffs at most (any?) programs and you'd be within the range for accepted classes at most places. You can check your desirable programs online; many will list incoming class GPA/GREs.
A trajectory from 2.7 to 3.8 (or whatever you pulled after year 1 to get it back up) is better than a flat 3.0, because the former demonstrates you're capable of strong work and just had a rough first year as many many people do while the latter says you're just capable of mediocre work and show limited improvement.
 
OP
P
Oct 1, 2016
3
0
1
Status
Pre-Psychology
It kind of depends. Some programs have hard cutoffs for GPA, so you would be cut from consideration if your GPA isn't high enough for them. At others where there aren't hard cutting scores, you need to do really well on the GRE to compensate and your GPA isn't so low that awesome GRE scores won't help compensate for it.

As far as your research experience, three years is good, but it's not just about quantity, it's about quality. What did you actually do in that research? Was it just data entry or did you perform more substantial tasks like doing the lit review and developing the protocol or writing the actual manuscript for publication? Did you see the studies from start to finish or were you partially involved for just part of several studies across those three years? Did you get published or have a presentation at a conference?

When you say your study will be completed, do you mean you'll end data collection then or is that when your manuscript will be finished and submitted for publication or you'll be presenting the results at a conference?

Also, don't consider unfunded PsyD programs, because you don't think you'll get into any funded programs. It would be far better to take a gap year to shore up you credentials than to saddle yourself with massive debt in an unfunded program.
Thank you so much for your input! Definitely helped calms some nerves. I think my research experience will definitely help bulk up my application a little- I have done multiple lit reviews, received awards for my research, trained new RAs, developed the protocol and coded the program on MediaLab for my own study. (Tbh, I don't think I've given myself enough credit for all this on my resume/CV so thats something I should consider as well.)
 
OP
P
Oct 1, 2016
3
0
1
Status
Pre-Psychology
At 3.4 you won't trip cutoffs at most (any?) programs and you'd be within the range for accepted classes at most places. You can check your desirable programs online; many will list incoming class GPA/GREs.
A trajectory from 2.7 to 3.8 (or whatever you pulled after year 1 to get it back up) is better than a flat 3.0, because the former demonstrates you're capable of strong work and just had a rough first year as many many people do while the latter says you're just capable of mediocre work and show limited improvement.
Thank you for your response! Really helped me. Do you know if they check the whole transcript and evaluate the difference in semester by semester grades, or just look at the numbers for overall and psych? Should I mention in my personal statement the cause of the grade disparity between semesters?
 

MCParent

Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2012
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Thank you for your response! Really helped me. Do you know if they check the whole transcript and evaluate the difference in semester by semester grades, or just look at the numbers for overall and psych? Should I mention in my personal statement the cause of the grade disparity between semesters?
Different people might do it different ways. I read transcripts but I know people who feel like the total/psych/last 2 years data are sufficient.

I probably wouldn't mention it in a personal statement unless it's a quick mention in the context of a larger narrative of finding what you want to do, personally.
 

EmotRegulation

5+ Year Member
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Apr 11, 2012
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Thank you for your response! Really helped me. Do you know if they check the whole transcript and evaluate the difference in semester by semester grades, or just look at the numbers for overall and psych? Should I mention in my personal statement the cause of the grade disparity between semesters?
I read the whole transcript, because it's pretty common to see people who didn't do as well in the first few years and then figured things out. I also wouldn't suggest mentioning the grade discrepancy in your statement, BUT if you have a mentor who knows you well and can speak to the grade discrepancy on your behalf, that would be worth doing.
 

EmotRegulation

5+ Year Member
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Apr 11, 2012
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Psychologist
I forgot to add that it's for exactly this reason (people not doing well freshman/sophomore years) that many programs ask for the GPA in your "last 60 hours."