cheer12345

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Dec 3, 2007
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Hello,

Congratulations to everyone who has applied and been accepted this year! That is a huge accomplishment and we have a lot to be proud of. I have been fortunate enough to be accepted into more than one program this application cycle, but am now struggling to decide between my 2 finalists. I am seeking everyone's advice, but I'd like to do it without mentioning either school by name, so as not to elicit biased opinions!

School 1: Clinical Psychology Ph.D.
Pros: very balanced program (my interests are more clinically based), POI with very similar interests to mine- I don't particularly enjoy research, but working with him in this specialty would not be bad at all
Cons: large cohort size,

School 2: Clinical Psychology Psy.D.
Pros: interview day just "felt right", I really enjoyed the campus and especially the people I met, I felt very comfortable there; smaller cohort size
Cons: no faculty in the specialty I am interested in (though it is more of a side interest, I would be just as happy as a general clinician anyways)

Thanks for reading, and thanks for any advice! Best of luck to everyone as they make their decisions!
 

BuckeyeAlum

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Nov 2, 2009
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I know where you're coming from, as I had to make a decision between my two favorite schools!

1. Is there a major funding difference? Often, Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs are funded very differently. While money shouldn't be your only criteria, it def matters whether or not you plunge yourself into mountains of debt.

2. Is there one that you would regret turning down later? Thinking of it like this helped me out.

3. Think about where you see your career going. What program will prepare you for that the best?
 

Featheredwyngs

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I would go with School #1.

Although your interests are mainly clinical, a balanced program that can expose you to research in your area of interest can make you a better practitioner in my opinion. Just make sure you can still get the clinical training you want (through the program practica, internship, and future postdoctoral positions). Along these lines, various postdocs have mentioned to me that even if a program is slightly more research based, it is easier to transition from being a researcher into clinical practice than vice versa in the future (i.e, more career flexibility depending on how you look at it). Honestly, though, I don't know much about PsyDs, but, as the other poster mentioned, finances might be something to consider (especially long-term considering earning potential in the field).

I wouldn't worry too much about cohort size, as I've heard it's more your lab mates you should consider. And I think, depending on how you look at it, large and small cohorts both have their pros and cons (just like large and small labs). If you got along with the faculty and students during your visit, then size shouldn't matter too much.

Of course, as everyone says, at the end of the day, go where you feel you'll be happier :D (as you will probably be more productive there).
 
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cheer12345

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Thanks for your responses so far.

Just as an FYI, both programs are unfunded, so my loans and debt will be the same regardless of where I attend. I've already resigned to that fact.

Also, the Psy.D. does not require a ton of research, but we will complete a dissertation, so it's not like I'll be "avoiding" of that responsibility at either program.

Anymore suggestions would be much appreciated!
 

PsychPhDStudent

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Would you be able to get external practica related to your interest at school #2? I went with what "felt right" and the people make the program!
 

cheer12345

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Would you be able to get external practica related to your interest at school #2? I went with what "felt right" and the people make the program!
I do not think I could get any practica specifically related to my interests at School 2. However, at School 1, there is only 1 related site, and it is an optional 4th year practicum (which obviously I would do, but it would not help me much as far as landing an internship- I'd have already applied). Aside from that, School 2 offers 1 course in the specialty area, and all other experience in the area would be research-based.
 

MinxC

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Hi Cheer12345 - First congratulations!

I am making a similar decision (balanced PhD vs PsyD). Aargh, big life decisions :eek:

Everyone has made great suggestions. I would also add:

-If you know your desired career (i.e. hospital, CMHC, private practice, university, etc.), ask psychologists who work at that location for their opinions. Psychologists tend to be uber helpful people. I asked two mentors... In turn, they asked the entire committee who selects interns and postdocs at a university teaching hospital. [ BTW I am interested in peds & would be happy to share the feedback that I have heard for this setting]

-In general, I have heard that a PsyD from a "reputable" program will in no way impede a clinically oriented career. As I work at an Ivy League teaching hospital that is VERY research oriented, I was totally shocked to hear such unbiased responses. Obviously, you will face more obstacles if you suddenly develop a passion for research.

-If you are unsure of your desired career, perhaps the flexibility of a PhD would be beneficial.

-You mentioned having an "interest area". Perhaps you could ask professionals in the field whether a clinical experience or a research experience in your interest area would be more beneficial for your desired career outcome. It's possible that the research experience might provide more time exposure to your area of interest. Do you know the career placements of former students who had similar interests? Each school should have some form of disclosure data (I think).

Take your time with the decision. I have been sitting on my offers for some time & have FINALLY developed clarity (darn the agonizing process). Best of luck :luck: You will make a great decision :thumbup:

C
 
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Oct 14, 2009
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You didn't mention whether or not you might want to teach at all. I get the feeling from friends and relatives who have gone through doctoral programs that your chances of getting into a university (as either a "research-oriented" professor and a lecturer) after finishing a doctoral program might be higher if you earned a PhD as opposed to a PsyD. I recommend asking professors, though. (I will start a research-oriented PhD program this fall, so I'm not the best source of information on this topic.)

Best wishes!
 
Mar 8, 2010
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I actually see a large cohort as a positive thing, provided the program has the resources necessary to foster the growth of every student. I worry that with very small cohorts you have less of a chance to find good cohort buddies!
 

phillydave

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It sounds like your heart is with school #2. And as I'm always a fan of writing out the pros and cons, maybe a larger, more private list of the pros and cons of each might make your decision easier? It's also interesting that in your pro of school #1 there's a con listed within it! Gooooooood luck! :)
 

McClinas

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-In general, I have heard that a PsyD from a "reputable" program will in no way impede a clinically oriented career. As I work at an Ivy League teaching hospital that is VERY research oriented, I was totally shocked to hear such unbiased responses. Obviously, you will face more obstacles if you suddenly develop a passion for research.
I would like to share my experiences on this point. I currently work as a research assistant at a very prestigious hospital, it's arguably the finest children's hospital in the nation. Our clinical/developmental disabilities division is well known for publishing top-notch research and providing quality clinical care (assessments, therapy, etc.). We have roughly an equal number of clinical psychologists with PhD and PsyDs. Those with PsyDs are not looked down upon AT ALL! I was talking with the clinical director the other day, who has his PhD, and he said that he prefers candidates who have their PhDs for more research-oriented positions, but when he is looking to hire someone that is going to be doing more assessments and therapy, he insists that he has no preference for a PhD vs. a PsyD. I think it really all depends on what you want out of your training, and if you are interested in research and part of you wants to pursue a research-related career, and at least keep those doors open, it probably would be more prudent to go the PhD route.

To respond to the debate of cohort size, I personally would prefer a smaller cohort. While a larger class may = more potential buddies, I think there is real value in a smaller cohort, which will probably be a closer-knit, more cohesive group.
 

hamsterpants

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It sounds like your heart is with school #2. And as I'm always a fan of writing out the pros and cons, maybe a larger, more private list of the pros and cons of each might make your decision easier? It's also interesting that in your pro of school #1 there's a con listed within it! Gooooooood luck! :)
+1. I picked up on this too.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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You didn't mention whether or not you might want to teach at all. I get the feeling from friends and relatives who have gone through doctoral programs that your chances of getting into a university (as either a "research-oriented" professor and a lecturer) after finishing a doctoral program might be higher if you earned a PhD as opposed to a PsyD. I recommend asking professors, though. (I will start a research-oriented PhD program this fall, so I'm not the best source of information on this topic.)

Best wishes!
It depends on the university, though there are still some areas where there is a preference for Ph.D.s. There is also the mentorship consideration when it comes to teaching, as many graduate students don't get as much guidance in how to do test construction, write a syllabi, pick out texts, etc. It often is an extension of TA'ing, but the skillset is actually quite different. I had to seek out additional mentorship in these areas because I didn't want every class I teach for the first time to be a battle with the material. Of course, I am picky about curriculum stuff in general, so I end up redoing it anyway....but I do it much more efficiently now. :D
 

MinxC

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More from me (sorry to seem overbearing :p)... I and other SDNers have mentioned the flexibility of a PhD (which is true in terms of entering academia, research oriented careers, etc). However, the PsyD program that I am considering allows students to take classes in the university's business school. I have heard that other universities combine law & psychology. While a clinically oriented career can sound limiting, this overlooks the diversity of non-academic positions (i.e. consulting, advocacy, etc.).

Again, congratulations. It sounds like you have two great options!

That's the last from me, I promise.
 

psich

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Mar 27, 2009
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Like others mentioned, it appears that your heart is really set on school #2. Since the main difference between the two is that the first school has a POI with closer interests to your own while the other does not, ask yourself if you can live 5+ years doing research which doesn’t really resonate with you in school #2. In other words, since you said you aren’t too inclined toward conducting research anyway, would you be willing to settle for conducting research with little interest to you in a comfortable place, or would you rather do research in an area you like the most but with a greater number of students? I would also consider the implications of obtaining a PsyD (for example, if you get it from a “degree mill” or from a reputable university-affiliated program) and how that may affect your career goals.
 

cheer12345

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Dec 3, 2007
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Thanks for your help! You have all been fantastic!

First, yes, I am absolutely leaning towards School 2. However, nothing is finalized at this point, which is why I started the thread in the first place.

Second, re: teaching....I would definitely love to teach, but it does not have to be at a large, state university. Since I do not intend to make a career out of research, just being an adjunct lecturer at a smaller school would be great for me. I could still do that with a PsyD, right?

@MinxC- please don't hold back! Post as often as you want- all suggesstions are helpful! (The business school option is a great thing to look into- I know for sure School 1 offers this.)

Psich- with regards to the reputation of each school, both have fine reputations and are part of University Psychology departments, so that is not an issue (I am very lucky!).

Again, thanks for everyone for your guidance, and I look forward to reading more about what you have to say!