hoping to receieve of better understanding of psych grad school

OneLove

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I am currently a psych major, but am doubting that. I know this is what I'm most intrested in but I feel like job security and decent wage is a huge factor. I'm currently interested in clinical psych/ Neuropsych/Psychiatry ( I'm also premed). I have the med stuff pretty much down pat as far as what I have to do, but I'm very confused about the clinical psych stuff. Do i need to take certain classes ( will my b.a. in psych cover prerequs to enter grad school) Do i need to take standardized tests ? How much weighing is tehre on reserach, extracurrics, volunteer work, what is the average gpa for admissions. What are some of the top programs?? I'm just compultely lost in this whol process of clincial psych doctoral training. Any insight woudl be much appreciated thanks.
 

PupDogGirl

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ha haha, it's hard to decide where to start. I'll apologize in advance for my cynical view of the process; my opinions are clearly being colored by my recent lack of success in the application process. If you are able to hold your own in science classes and if job security/decent wages are extremely important factors to you, then I would suggest that you do medicine. I'm in love with the research aspect of clinical psychology, but I know that most researchers have to move around the country several times, can have difficulty finding positions (especially if you haven't published a ton as a grad student), and maximum wages are typicaly less than the average salary for a physician. Usually your bachelor's in psych is enough (esp. if you are coming from a big school), but each program has certain requirements that they are looking for, so check ahead. You will need to take the general GRE, and for most programs, the psych GRE as well. Research is looked upon VERY highly, particularly at the big research institutions. Volunteer work is also important to show that you can handle dealing with clinical populations. If you only have time to do one activity, however, definitely do research. The average GPA for admissions is high (at LEAST a 3.6 at the top programs), and you should have a GRE of over 1300. On top of lots of research. I have heard that getting into psych grad school is statistically more difficult than medical school. As for the top programs, there is a thread on here that lists the US News and World report rankings. Don't worry too much about the specific rankings, but if you are interested in pursuing an academic career, make sure you go to a somewhat high ranked school. Look at the schools that your professors went to, as use that as a guide. Just my two cents' worth.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any more questions or want to know more about what I did during undergrad. Good luck!
 
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OneLove

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I'm starting to get worried that I may not be able to get a job when all of my schooling is done and over :/. As far as volunteering, I volunteer with NY DDSO which is a state organization for people with developmental disabilities. Would this be something that the admissions people would look upon, should I seek other volunteer oppurtunities along with this one?
 

SaraL124

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I know for pre-meds, the medical school admission committees look at your activities. I think with Clin psych it's different -- they look more at your work/life experience. If you do some research in undergrad, or take a year or two off afterwards to do research that's a bonus. I wouldn't worry about "top-ranked" programs, but more important is to find a program that specializes in your research interest. If you don't have a match, you won't be competitive at that program, even if your GREs are 1600s and you have a 4.0 GPA. I would say, most important in the process is that you have decent GREs and solid grades, especially in your psych classes. THEN make sure you have a few years of research experience under your belt. These programs invest a lot in their students and they want you to demonstrate your committment to research. If you do research for a few months or one semester, they may be wary bc you may still change your mind when you get to grad school. They don't want drop-outs from these programs. Doing research in undergrad and afterwards also puts you in a position to get good recommendation letters. I think these are very highly regarded as well, bc the mentor you choose will have to work very closely with you for 4-5-6 years.
Good Luck with everything!

(on a side note -- my GREs were v. 610, q. 610, a. 5.5 and Psych 640. My GPA was a 3.46 cum and 3.8 for psych classes. I applied to programs with specific research matches, regardless of ranking. I have 7 interviews and 1 acceptance so far out of 13 applications. So, it can be done!)
 
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OneLove

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would it be best to get research experience in any field of pyschology? I'm not sure yet what I woudl like to focus in on in grad school (I'm still a freshman in UG). However, I might have a reserach oppurtunity for next year, should I take it even if it dosen't exactly fit what I think I may want to do in grad school? thanks
 
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OneLove

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and by research, you guys mean acting as research assistants to a professor doing reserach correct?
 

SaraL124

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Yes. and I would agree with Lazure that you should take it. Most UGs don't get the opp to work with a faculty member and get a pub or two before they graduate. See if you can make this a long-term commitment if you enjoy it. It will really demonstrate your committment to research.
 
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OneLove

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if most people don't get UG reserachn oppurtunities, how do they present themselves as competitive students when applying to pHd programs?
 

Sanman

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well, when applying straight out of UG, they usually have a tough time doing so and fair poorly the applications process. However, many people take years off in between UG and grad. school to get research/clinical experience.
 

SaraL124

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OneLove said:
if most people don't get UG reserachn oppurtunities, how do they present themselves as competitive students when applying to pHd programs?
You take time off after undergrad and get a job as a research assistant. That's why you'll notice the average age of matriculating students in PhD programs is like 24-26. Most people have a very hard time getting accepted right out of undergrad, because a) most don't have a lot of research experience, b) young age and c) lack of "life experience."

If you can get research exp now, you're at an advantage for applying straight from UG.
 
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OneLove

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I've been offered a research position from my psyc 100 professor. The reserach is a collaberation with 2 other schools and she is going on sabbatical for it next year. Its based on discrimination and prejudice with EOP and minority college students and how they accomodate to it. So as you can all see its definately a more social psychology oreiented reserach effort. I'm thinking I should take the spot, because she's never taken anyone in so early on in their undergrad psych careers. AT the sAMe time, however, I know that I'm leaning more towards the biological aspects of psychology. I don't know what to do. Should I wait for a biopsych reserach oppurtunity to show up or just take this now? I'm definately interested in the topic of research, I just don't see myself going for social psych PhD school. Do Clinical grad schools like to see students with any kind of research or clinincal in nature only? Thanks all
 

ComfortableWolf

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I took two years off after UG to do research and it was epidemiological research. I don't think the topic matters -- and the topic you'll be researching has clinical applications...effects of discrimination on mental health, etc.
 

twiggers

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In addition.....you can state that you were able to learn the basic of research, what it's like to work in a lab and do all the mundane stuff that probably won't vary too much from project to project.
The whole research experience thing is really just to make sure that research is what you want to do. The longer you've done it the more it makes it look like you can hack the demands of research.
And BTW research IS important. I only had about 4 months of it before I applied. My GREs were 1240 combined, 5.5 writing, 680 psych. Psych GPA 3.96, total GPA 3.90. I applied to 17 clinical programs(only 4 of them were top schools), I got 8 interviews, and so far I'm only waitlisted at one school. BUT...I had no problem getting accepted to top developmental, child development, and human development schools :) Obviously the lack of research experience played a factor since my other things are all pretty good.
My advice is to get at least 2 years of research while you're an undergrad. And hey...volunteer for credit and you get a double benefit :)
 
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OneLove

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I think that is something that I may look into towards my jr and sr years. I'm pretty sure I will take on this oppurtunity. I think it will help me immensely for when I take statistics and reserach methods ( I'm currently only enrolled in psyc100)

THanks for your responses all :D