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Honest opinions please

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Jon4PsyD, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Jon4PsyD

    Jon4PsyD Go Red Sox 5+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Boston, MA
    I've seen other people do this type of thing and I thought it would be a good idea for me to try--because people have been giving some excellent advice.

    OK: I have a B.A. in Psychology from a not real reputable university (4 year state school). My overall GPA was a 2.72 and my Psychology GPA was an exact 3.0. In May of next year (2008) I will be graduating at a very reputable school with an M.A. in General Psychology. I got an 1140 on the GRE (620 Verbal, 520 Math ugh lol, and 4.0 A), and a 560 on the Psychology subject test.

    This winter I plan to apply to Psy.D. programs (7 or 8) and a very few Ph.D. programs (Maybe 2) with a more clinical focus.

    Now here's my deal. I don't have a LOT of great clinical experience. I have 6 years working as an Assistant Teacher (3rd & 4th grade) at an After School program, a 4 month internship at a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clubhouse (LOVED it btw), 2 months of summer volunteer work at a Costa Rican orphanage, and have done some other volunteer things (Led a Relay for Life team and work for an ALS walk). Now in terms of research I have NO experience except for a poster board presentation in undergad that was presented at the University's Research Day.

    My 2.7, I feel like that is going to hold me back FOREVER. I have a rare hereditary disease, and it all of a sudden decided to let me know I had it during my sophomore year of undergraduate which caused me to go blind. For me just finishing undergad took a lot of effort, so I'm really proud of a 2.7 (considering I worked it up from a 1.8 after the two semesters right after I began losing my vision). Statistics, Research, and SPSS are VERY visual and while I felt capable of doing the work, it was just frustrating. Clinical work, which I prefer more anyway, is something I can still do at 100%.

    So do you all think I have ANY shot at getting into these programs? What type of GPA do I probably need to graduate my M.A. with? (3.5+ or would a 3.3 be ok?)

    My advisor at my M.A. is telling me to relax, that she definitely sees me getting into PsyD programs but says that 2.7 along with my lack of research experience/interests is a lock that I won't get into any Ph.D. programs.

    What do you all suggest I do from here to help my chances? I really want to go to a university based PsyD if I go the PsyD route. I went to Rutgers diversity open hosue and fell in love with their program, and really liked the faculty at Hartford (my home state which = lots of support systems). Also looking at CW Post, Yeshiva, and George Washington.

    Anyway, thanks to anyone who actually read this entire LONG post and any words of wisdom will be GREAT! Thanks so much.
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  3. RayneeDeigh

    RayneeDeigh 5+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Wow, this is a tough call.

    I really hate saying this because you seem like a very nice person with just the right personality for clinical work, but your advisor is probably right about PhD programs. The lack of research will take you out of the running before your GPA does I think.

    And Rutgers... well that's even more competitive than some PhD programs.

    But I think you have a fair chance at PsyD programs, especially if you spin your personal statements the right way.

    It can't hurt to apply to Rutgers and a few PhD programs if you can afford the application fees. You never know what'll happen.
  4. NeuroPsyStudent

    NeuroPsyStudent 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007

    I am not sure if this was a temporary blindness or permanent. I think it will be very important to be upfront about what happened in college and about being blind. The fact that this happened during your schooling and that you pulled things together in your masters is a sign of great success. Some might say, "don't make a big deal about it", but I had a blind classmate in my program, and for all that the faculty tried to do, the program just wasn't able to make it work. She dropped out after the first semester. I know a very successful, young blind psychologist, however, and I think it would be helpful to locate a few such people who could make suggestions about specific programs. Some programs have already worked with blind students and that seems like such an advantage.
  5. emc17

    emc17 emc 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2007
    First of all, it takes a lot of strength to do what you have done, so kudos on that. I agree with some of the other posts so far (and remember, these are just personal opinions), I think that Ph.D programs would definetely be more of an uphill battle, but I think you could have a very good chance at Psy.D. If you are referring to the Rutgers Psy.D. program, I know that it is very competitive (I'm from the area), but yes, it is a wonderful program so don't give up hope! I think your clinical work is definetely a plus and would look very good when applying to Psy.D. programs. I also agree that if you are upfront about what happened during your undergrad, schools will be very understanding about the 2.7, and the fact that you've demonstrated that you can handle graduate coursework through your masters will look very good. This is all just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt, but best of luck and congrats on all of your hard work!
  6. psychwanabe

    psychwanabe 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    Wow - I think you are a tremendous success story! Congratulations on getting through undergraduate, and getting into a Masters program!

    My advice is three-fold. First, I would study for and re-take the GRE. If you want to have a solid shot at getting in to any competitive program (Psy.D. or Ph.D.), it will help to have higher scores. Also, you're right that you can't do anything about the undergrad GPA, but RayneeDeigh gives great advice about spinning your circumstances in your favor in your personal statement. That one document may be the most important part of your applications.

    Second, I would try and get some research experience in the next year. Get in a lab, help with a publication, do a presentation or two that you can put on your CV.

    Last, I would really diversify your applications. If you like Rutgers, by all means apply there! The worst thing that happens is they say no and you've wasted the application fee. But what if they don't say no? If you think you want to shoot for a couple of Ph.D. programs (I agree that these will be a longer shot), then I would start now doing research on which programs are less research/more clinically focused (there's a thread on SDN about that somewhere). These programs may be more inclined to appreciate your clinical background. Also choose Psy.D. programs that are big on incorporating diversity into their program. They may be more equipped to work with you and the way that you have overcome some pretty big obstacles will be a big plus in programs with that focus.

    This is just one person's opinion. I wish you the VERY best of luck! :luck:
  7. waitwaitwait


    Mar 29, 2007
    I definitely agree with psychwanabe - if you can get through the masters with a strong gpa, get your gre scores up and find a way to add to your research experience, a PsyD would definitely be within range, and a PhD wouldn't be out of the question.

    I was in a similar situation - 3.0 gpa from a little known school and no research experience. I completed a research-heavy masters at a great school with a 3.9 and studied my way to a 1430 combined gre, then worked for a year as an RA. It was a long, long road, but worth it in the end as I will finally be starting a clinical PhD in the fall (3rd time around!)

    It will take a lot of work, but I think you definitely have a good shot - and you have a legitimate reason for your undergrad gpa while I was just young and stupid!

    Best of luck!
  8. Jon4PsyD

    Jon4PsyD Go Red Sox 5+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Wow, some great responses. I really appreciate it. It's definitely scary to read about someone dropping out after one semester but I'd be okay with that knowing I tried and the program just wasn't able to accommodate. So I guess I definitely have to do my research on programs.

    I have a question though for you, Neuro. What is a good resource for getting in contact with blind/visually impaired Psychologists? The APA does something called the "Mentoring Program" where they put you in contact with a person with the same disability that you have. The problem is I'm guessing they say they offer this program, but don't actually do much with it because after signing up about a year ago they still haven't done anything.
    But to answer your question, it's permanent (till we do more research, such as stem cells). It's called LHON, if you google that a bunch of stuff should come up:)

  9. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    It is definitely worth a shot, but I'm not sure Rutgers is a possibility. I believe their PsyD accepts ~2%; it is probably the hardest PsyD to get into in the nation (based on %'s)

  10. ClinPsyD917

    ClinPsyD917 5+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2007
    So first of all, you are amazing.

    Second of all, you definitely have a shot at PsyD programs. While I didn't apply to any of the schools you're considering, I did apply to 6 PsyD schools (all in California). Since PsyD programs are not as popular as other degrees (both Psych and otherwise), there was very little info about what you needed to get in. All I had to go on was the minimum GPA, which varied from 3.0 to 3.25. I'm coming straight out of undergrad with a 3.36 overall, but I was extremely worried that would not be good enough to even get me interviews. However, I can tell you that I was lucky enough to receive interviews at every school I applied to... and out of the interviews I chose to attend, I was accepted to every school. This experience has really made me believe that PsyD programs look at more than just your GPA. I think your clinical experience will be very helpful, and many schools have what they call "GPA exemption" forms. Here, you explain any circumstances that caused your GPA to be lower than you would have liked. For you, something like this would only work in your favor, showing what a strong and determined person you are. With your success in grad school, I don't think anyone will doubt your abilities or commitment to the field. As far as Rutgers, I know it is an AMAZING PsyD school... one of the best (if not THE best) in this country, so it's really competitive (I didn't apply there though). This means your chances are probably slim (sorry), but still... going through everything you've been through, I think you still might have a chance. Any school would be lucky to have someone as dedicated as you, so you never know. Definitely apply!!

    Anyway, that was my long-winded response... hopefully it made sense and helped some... GOOD LUCK!! And honestly, I think you'll be fine. But if you need moral support during that oh-so-stressful application/interview/acceptance time... you know where to come. :)

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