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"Help me decide" mega thread

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by IcedBennu, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Eh, USF is accredited on contingency, which means that all they gave to do is provide an initial round of distal data and not royally screw up. Wright Inst's rep is bad enough that I'd just choose whichever was cheaper if forced to choose between only those two options.
     
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  3. freeprozac

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    Would you guys choose a PhD program with limited funding or would you try again next year, in the hope of getting into a fully funded program?
     
  4. psych.meout

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    How limited is "limited?"

    I'm relatively conservative when it comes to these things, so I'd err on the side of going for a fully funded program. Grad school is difficult enough without worrying about accruing debt at the same time. I have only a tiny bit of debt from undergrad, so it would be even more important to avoid adding to it if I had substantial debt from undergrad.
     
  5. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Me, personally? I would never accept anything that wasn't fully funded. I enjoy being debt free, and the thought of retiring early if I so wish.
     
  6. freeprozac

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    If they fund a third of the cost.
     
  7. psych.meout

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    Ok, but how much is that 2/3 they aren't funding? How much is that added up across four or five years of grad school? How much is four or five years of worth of living expenses on top of that?

    Without even seeing any numbers, I'm guessing that it's easily going to be more than $100,000. This is just untenable based on the salary data for practicing psychologists.
     
  8. merkadoe

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    I have been accepted to both programs as well as the forensic tracks in both and I am currently incredibly torn between the two programs.

    My background: I am graduating this May with a MA in Forensic Mental Health Counseling and am seeking a PsyD with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Also, I am going to one school or the other and am not looking for "you should wait a year and apply to PhD programs" or "neither school is good, don't bother."

    Both are APA accredited, have similar EPPP pass rates (87% and 89% respectively), and have forensic concentrations.

    My problem is that while WSU seems to have the more established well-known program, I can't see myself enjoying living in Dayton for the next 4-5 years. Their facilities are older as well, which is kind of a downer. However, their APA internship match rate is higher (but inflated due to internal matching) and for the past three years every student has gotten a paid internship. Also, the cohort size is around 25-30 students.

    With Pacific, I really liked how the program is set up and the amount of help I would get with my dissertation (not a fan of research). Their APA internship and paid internship rate is lower than WSU, but not enough to instantly turn me off as I have heard that most students who don't get matched refuse to leave OR or WA, which I have no problem doing. Their building is basically brand new and they are constantly trying new things to make the program better (so I'm told). Not to mention the area, Portland specifically, are incredibly tantalizing to me and theres many more opportunities for self-care.

    However, the program would cost me about $30,000 more to complete than WSU, and the cohort size is around 50. Obviously, a cohort size that large is concerning, but only around 8 students are accepted into the forensic track and I have no reason to believe I wouldn't get the opportunity to build significant relationships with forensic professors.


    Obviously advice from anyone who knows anything about either program would be great, but I am hoping to find someone who is currently attending or has graduated from either program to provide some insight.

    Thanks!
     
  9. merkadoe

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    I have been accepted to both programs as well as the forensic tracks in both and I am currently incredibly torn between the two programs.

    My background: I am graduating this May with a MA in Forensic Mental Health Counseling and am seeking a PsyD with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Also, I am going to one school or the other and am not looking for "you should wait a year and apply to PhD programs" or "neither school is good, don't bother."

    Both are APA accredited, have similar EPPP pass rates (87% and 89% respectively), and have forensic concentrations.

    My problem is that while WSU seems to have the more established well-known program, I can't see myself enjoying living in Dayton for the next 4-5 years. Their facilities are older as well, which is kind of a downer. However, their APA internship match rate is higher (but inflated due to internal matching) and for the past three years every student has gotten a paid internship. Also, the cohort size is around 25-30 students.

    With Pacific, I really liked how the program is set up and the amount of help I would get with my dissertation (not a fan of research). Their APA internship and paid internship rate is lower than WSU, but not enough to instantly turn me off as I have heard that most students who don't get matched refuse to leave OR or WA, which I have no problem doing. Their building is basically brand new and they are constantly trying new things to make the program better (so I'm told). Not to mention the area, Portland specifically, are incredibly tantalizing to me and theres many more opportunities for self-care.

    However, the program would cost me about $30,000 more to complete than WSU, and the cohort size is around 50. Obviously, a cohort size that large is concerning, but only around 8 students are accepted into the forensic track and I have no reason to believe I wouldn't get the opportunity to build significant relationships with forensic professors.


    Obviously advice from anyone who knows anything about either program would be great, but I am hoping to find someone who is currently attending or has graduated from either program to provide some insight.

    Thanks!
     
  10. CatsFan

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    I’m not a current or former student of either program, but a former student of Wright State did tell me that she didn’t think their training in assessment was that great, which might be concerning for someone interested in forensics.

    ETA: Although my knowledge of these programs is somewhat limited, I think they’re pretty similar, reputation and outcomes wise. If you are willing to pay the extra 30k and you think you’d be happier at Pacific, I say do what will make you happiest.
     
    #959 CatsFan, Mar 18, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  11. merkadoe

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    That is good information to know. Thanks for the reply!
     
  12. freeprozac

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    The tuition is around 45,000, with around 15,000 funded if you spend extra hours doing research for a lab. Plus the cost of insurance, living expenses, etc etc. I also think it's absolutely astonishing.
     
  13. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    45k a year, or total? If it's total, maybe. If it's per year, there is absolutely no way I would ever consider it. Under any circumstance. Unless they could guarantee that I would somehow make 250k/year in my job.
     
  14. Therapist4Chnge

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    Just to clarify....”paid internships” shouldn’t matter. APA-acred internships are required to pay their interns and students should only apply for APA-acred internships. The vast vast majority of programs don’t even allow students to apply to internships that aren’t APA-acred.

    Graduating w/o an APA-acres internship can and does significantly limit the clinician for future jobs.
     
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  15. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    Mod Note: Merged into the "help me decide" mega-thread
     
  16. freeprozac

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    Per year! And not including living expenses such as rent, insurance, books, etc.
     
  17. psych.meout

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    If you have to do extra work to knock down just your tuition costs to $30,000/year, it's definitely a bad idea. You're looking at >$100,000 debt from just the tuition and then significantly moore from living expenses, fees, insurance, conference travel, internship apps and interviews, etc.

    You should definitely decline the offer and reapply in a year or two. I know that it sucks to have to defer gratification for so long, but, trust me, it will be worth it. You'll be saving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and likely get better training and career opportunities from it.
     
  18. Amarysso

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    Hi everyone!
    Re-posting since I didn't get any responses first time around.

    I am lucky enough to have two offers - from both Adelphi and LIU Brooklyn - and I am trying to assess how to make this decision.

    Both programs are very comparable in price, so my decision will be based on other factors such as the quality of supervision and training, as well as the opportunities 'afforded' by going to that school- particularly in terms of placements and future career paths.

    I would like specific information about the programs if anyone has some, but also, things I should ask or pay attention to before making my decision. I am an international student, so I cannot really go attend a class or meet students - financially that trip would not make sense, and I am finding it hard to make such an important decision based on "paper".

    Adelphi requires students to take more courses than those outlined by the APA, and has a curriculum of 130 credits, whereas LIU is a standard 90. But I am aware more does not necessarily mean better.

    Any advice on how to assess the strengths of each program and things I should take into consideration would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
     
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  19. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    LIU has a much better accredited match track record. That'd be a big factor for me.
     
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  20. Amarysso

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    Thank you ever so much for your time! Is there anything you think is imperative to ask students or professors? I have enquired about the sites students typically get placed at and it seems to be a good match for my interests. I am just trying to gauge what will set me up well post-graduation.
     
  21. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I'd want to know about practicum placement prior to internships, what's available, how well do students do matching to those? How good is the research match with your POI? Those kinds of things.
     
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  22. freeprozac

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    LIU was a much better research fit for me, Brooklyn is much nicer than Long Island, I heard Adelphi students complain about the heavy curriculum. I would also consider your faculty members of choice and their areas of interest. You'll be spending a lot of time with them, so it's important that their interests align with yours and will align with yours for a while. Give them a call or shoot them an email, discuss their future directions more.
     
  23. Bryan91

    Bryan91 PsyD Candidate
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    I am a current PsyD candidate at Pacific University. The cohort sizes are amazingly large. However, it is broken down into separate track emphasis areas, where you will get the majority of your training and interactions with faculty. From my perspective, the faculty are very supportive, but only if you reach out to them. You'll receive amazing training at forensic practicums. The debt is ridiculously huge and probably almost impossible to pay off, unless you come from a rich background. Living in the Portland area is amazing and you'll always have something to do, whether it will be going to the beach, mountains, hiking, city life, etc...
     
  24. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    That sounds like a ringing endorsement...
     
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  25. Bryan91

    Bryan91 PsyD Candidate
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    Yup, its like the comment above stated. If you are okay with taking out loans for the program, the site seems like its more favorable for the potential candidate. For me, I had no idea what it meant to take out a large amount of loans and I will probably have to deal with the repercussions for the remainder of my career, unless I win the lottery.
     
  26. wtfook

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    It seems like this is a running trend I see a lot when on this forum. Not people in your position realizing the debt was a lot to take on but people a step before you who are considering programs. Many think that it'll be fine and only want to know about the training merits of the program while current practicing professionals try their best to warn them that it's a lot more debt than they realize. I'm very curious, given that you're in a program now: would you still have made the decision you made? What would you say to your younger self before choosing the program you did? What advice do you have for people considering these programs currently who feel the level of debt is manageable?

    Like you said, there are people who are independently wealthy who can genuinely handle the debt. In which case, pick the program with the best training. However, most people are not in that group generally speaking.
     
  27. WorkLifeBalance

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    Even if someone can handle the debt, aren't there better things to put it toward? And doesn't it continue to reinforce these programs?
     
  28. Bryan91

    Bryan91 PsyD Candidate
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    TBH, the training program is amazing and I have very little to complain about from that perspective. My advice is to apply to sites with better funding options and to not solely base it off of the training merits of the program. If you are a first generation college student with no financial safety net (like myself), definitely reach out to faculty in your undergraduate program to discuss the pros and cons about taking on a large amount of debt and weighing it against the training merits. It is something I wish I had done.
     
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  29. wtfook

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    Yeah I think that's all great insight. Thanks for the response!
     
  30. StellaB

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    Also keep in mind that current levels of student debt are a fairly new phenomenon due to changes in the law that incentivized extremely expensive programs and allowed interest to accrue while you are still in school. Professors might not really know what the current issues are unless they went to grad school pretty recently. If you can find someone who recently graduated, that might be the best source of advice. And I think a lot of the people on this forum are giving excellent advice, trying to warn people as much as possible. It’s too bad that so many people take that advice as dream-crushing, but that’s the reality of the situation.
     
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  31. qwerty729

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    Hello everyone, I didn't want to start a new thread since essentially my question will be the same as the original post "help me decide which school to attend" so here are the schools I've been accepted to. Any advice from current students of these institutions would be TREMENDOUSLY appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Immaculata University (PA)
    2. Midwestern University (AZ)
    3. Florida Institute of Technology (FL)
    4. Nova Southeastern University (FL)
     
  32. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    FIT. And just never speak of Midwestern again.

    Edit. Just looked up Immaculata's match stats, yeesh, chuck them off the list as well.

    At this time, FIT is the only program I would actually consider taking a student from in internship applications. Nova used to be there, but their quality seems to have fallen off a cliff in recent years, especially on the neuro side of things.
     
    #981 WisNeuro, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  33. psych.meout

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    I know a FIT grad and they are certainly a great psychologist, but even they admit that, in retrospect, they would have chosen a different program if they could do it all over again.
     
  34. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Yeah, it's certainly not in my top few tiers, but out of those choices, it's the clear front-runner.
     
  35. DrabberRabbit36

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    I am so torn I have been 50/50 for the past week and time is running out. Below is an overview of my predicament: I have been accepted to two APA accredited programs.

    University 1: Ph.D in Clinical Psych
    Pro: Perfect research match, I love the work that I would be able to do (placement sites in the prison, working with native Americans, researching aggression, FMRI and EEG research.) I feel like I can also be challenged here and I would have a degree I would be proud of.

    Con: They offer a small stipend (about 7,500 a year) for first year students, (Granted the Cost of living is low); it is a small rural area (I am have lived in the city for a long time), and the weather.

    University 2: Ph.D in Counseling Psych
    Pros: The students there were so nice and I got along with them great. The city is closer to home (my grandma is getting older), the weather is nice, and there is lots to do! I loved the school and the atmosphere when I went. Plus they are offering lots more money (11,000 for the first year)

    Con: The program is okay, there is no prison access, no EEG, and I would be primary researching adolescence rather than adults (which is OK, but not what I want.) It is a new program, only been up and running for 5 years (yes it is APA accredited), and I am placed with brand new faculty.

    Which do I go to?
     
  36. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    This goes in the Help Me Decide thread up top.
     
  37. DrabberRabbit36

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    I am so torn I have been 50/50 for the past week and time is running out. Below is an overview of my predicament: I have been accepted to two APA accredited programs.

    University 1: Ph.D in Clinical Psych
    Pro: Perfect research match, I love the work that I would be able to do (placement sites in the prison, working with native Americans, researching aggression, FMRI and EEG research.) I feel like I can also be challenged here and I would have a degree I would be proud of.

    Con: They offer a small stipend (about 7,500 a year) for first year students, (Granted the Cost of living is low); it is a small rural area (I am have lived in the city for a long time), and the weather.

    University 2: Ph.D in Counseling Psych
    Pros: The students there were so nice and I got along with them great. The city is closer to home (my grandma is getting older), the weather is nice, and there is lots to do! I loved the school and the atmosphere when I went. Plus they are offering lots more money (11,000 for the first year)

    Con: The program is okay, there is no prison access, no EEG, and I would be primary researching adolescence rather than adults (which is OK, but not what I want.) It is a new program, only been up and running for 5 years (yes it is APA accredited), and I am placed with brand new faculty.

    Which do I go to?
     
  38. qwerty729

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    Is there a specific reason why they would not attend FIT all over again? did the courses change throughout the years, the prof/program got worse or just a personal preference? Tbh FIT would be my top choice, bc of the small class sizes, integrated health concentration, and I got a scholarship offer.
    Thank you guys for your input, I know my list was limited but I did try to focus on either nearby location/ warm places. I guess I'm not in the top tier of students if the only schools that accepted me are not top-tier universities.
    Also, I got wait-listed at Widener, Rutgers, and Univ of Hartford but I was told not to count on wait-list schools since unless your number 1 on the list, you don't usually get the acceptance.

    Any other input?
     
  39. Bryan91

    Bryan91 PsyD Candidate
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    TBH, it really sounds like you are choosing between living style / happiness and the perfect training program. I'd lean towards University 1, IF you are okay with living in a rural city. Otherwise, choose University 2.
     
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  40. wtfook

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    I feel like since you are accepted into these programs now, it is absolutely appropriate to be candid about these things you're unsure about. Talk to the advisor in University 2 about your focus on adults and if there are opportunities to do adult work while working with her. Talk to the training director at University 2 about the opportunities for work in a prison in your practicum years. Did they tell you point blank that you wont be able to work in a prison when you interviewed there? How did you gain the information that prisons are not an option? For University 1, you could always ask what external or additional funding there are if you were interested in applying for them.

    I'd also consider what you need in order to be happy. You'd need to be on that campus at least 3 years with perhaps some flexibility in 4th year depending on whether you're coming in with a master's. Are you the kind of person who needs to be in a city with lots to do or are you someone who is OK with rural and location if the research and training options are ideal. I think either is totally valid. You'd just need to figure out which type of person you are.
     
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  41. CatsFan

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    At University 2, are there any other faculty you would be interested in working with? With brand new faculty, there is always the risk that they will leave/not get tenure. That's another factor to consider.
     
  42. Therapist4Chnge

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    Look at the total cost of the programs, if it is substantial, that should’ve a factor. Program 1 sounds like the better choice....as long as it doesn't put you in significant debt.
     
  43. AcronymAllergy

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    Mod Note: Merged into the Help Me Decide mega-thread, although I see a version of it is already here.
     
  44. Psy3383

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    I'm an FIT student and I'm happy with my choice of program. The professors are great and I'm definitely getting great training here. The workload can get stressful sometimes, but that's grad school. I think for a PsyD program we do a good job providing research opportunities. I know plenty of neuro students who have had posters accepted at conferences and published too. I believe a couple IBH people recently presented at a national IBH conference. There are definitely opportunities to get involved in IBH research, and a decent amount of IBH practicum sites as well. Most students here get some sort of funding, and some of the IBH practicum sites are grant funded, so those pay really nicely (I believe enough to cover tuition those semesters, but I'm not completely sure).

    I'd say a downside of the program is a lot of the better practicum sites (VA and Hospitals) are in Orlando, which is a commute of at least an hour each way. Not having an academic medical center affiliated with the school is unfortunate as well. There are also some annoying random small changes, such as certain elective classes being changed to different semesters, or comprehensive exam format changes. Nothing back breaking, but it is at times inconvenient.

    Of all the programs you listed, the only one I'd personally choose over FIT is Rutgers. If IBH is what you're passionate about I think FIT can be a good choice. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have questions about the program.
     
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  45. danibrittany

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    In the end, all it matters is the amount of work you put once you have graduated. Keep in mind that you have to work hard not only during your academic years but after that to become successful. You get the first or even the second job due to your education. After that, you need to make a place for yourself in the corporate world.
     
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  46. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    My concern with FIT would be the cost/debt level is still waaay too high, IMO. Nova seems to have shot themselves in the foot by enlarging their class sizes to untenable levels in the mid- to late-2000's.
     
    #995 futureapppsy2, Mar 31, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  47. PsychedUp313

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    Yes, the debt is high but fortunately because they have a small class size, they have a lot of scholarships to offer. I'm attending there this fall and I received a 10k scholarship. This shaves off 1/3 of my tuition making it doable for me. Also, almost all of the practicum sites are paid which helps!
     
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  48. psych.meout

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    Ok, but that's just considering tuition. You also have to factor in fees, books, conference travel, internship apps and interviews, and living expenses. Thus, it still sounds like you're talking about significantly more than $100,000 in debt.
     
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  49. Psy3383

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    We have some funds to subsidize conference travel, and Melbourne is a pretty low cost of living area (you can find a 1BR apartment for $700-$900/month). I know a couple people who are splitting the rent on a house and are paying ~$450/month. The IBH grant pays a stipend of 25k over two semesters for that practicum site. Like OP said, there are plenty of other paid practicum sites, but they pay more in the $12-$16/hr range. It's not difficult to get an RA or TA assistantship to cover a small portion of tuition every year as well. I think FIT does a better job than a lot of PsyD programs at providing funding opportunities.

    All that being said, OP if you do plan of paying for your education entirely through loans you need to educate yourself on how long it will take you to pay them back. Student loans have compounding interest, so it will be more expensive than you think. I would not plan on counting on Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as there is a good chance it will not exist by the time you're done with grad school. I've noticed some of my peers in early years were not realistically educated on psychologist salaries. Google "APA salary data" if you have not seen it already. Personally, if my only option to pay for school was all through loans, I would put off my graduate training for two more years to work towards a fully funded program.
     
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  50. psych.meout

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    Look, I understand that you've made a decision and are excited about the opportunity. My point is not to make you change your mind or reverse your decision, but rather to point out the financial reality of the situation for you and any prospective FIT students.

    It's good to hope for the best, but you need to plan for the worst, not the best. Dipping into your savings for a known cost (e.g., conference travel) isn't really a great idea, especially with such a limited budget. It puts extra constraints on the rest of your finances, especially if you have any of the other unexpected expenses, e.g., car repairs, medical problems, etc.

    The problem here is that everyone in your entire program (not even just your cohort) is going to be in the same boat, financially, and want those same practica that are highly compensated. Furthermore, if your finances are so limited, it may mean you have to choose your practica based on your contemporaneous financial situation, not where your interests lie or what would be best for your future.

    Furthermore, $12-16/hr really isn't that great, particularly when you are taking on debt and won't (or at least shouldn't) be working full time. The more you work at your practica to try to make ends meet, the less time you have for other career-enhancing opportunities, e.g., research productivity. Hell, you end up spending more time in the program and accruing more debt if your practica get paid detract from you making progress on your thesis, prelims/comps, and dissertation.
     
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  51. qwerty729

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    The reality of it is less than 10% of PSY.D. programs are fully funded or even partially funded ("Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology"). Beyond deciding to do a Ph.D. instead, theres a very low chance of getting into a funded PsyD program. I'm not really sure why ppl are posting that as a probable solution to financial issues when all the stats prove this feat to be highly improbable.
     

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