Great Satchmo

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So I applied to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs this past cycle, and I graduated in May with my B.A. in psych (nearly a minor in computer science). I have a 3.6 overall, 3.8/3.85 last 2 years/in major. I scored 620v 650q and 5.5 (I believe, it was ~90%tile for the verbal and writing) on the GRE. During undergrad I had 2 RAships, 1 TA (for abnormal psych), board member for Psi Chi, volunteer work with Autism Speaks, an undergraduate research grant, conference presentation, co-author on a textbook chapter, and have 2 papers in the works. I also spent about 2 months full time tutoring/teaching small groups of low SES-youth, mild learning disabilities, using a cognitive model.

Not all of that was there last year for applications, but some was. I got interviews at Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences and UT Southwesten, got wait listed at Cincinnati.

Now I am a full time research assistant at Stanford, I have 2 PI's so I am working on a project that has to do with health behaviors and social/environmental influences, and then I'm working on developing an intervention for behavior change and health behaviors. I should hopefully be able to gain some more publication in this job before the next application cycle.

So I guess my question is this: after this next year of a full time research assistantship, probably volunteering at a hospital, maybe some other stuff on the side....how competitive will I be?
 
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Not all of that was there last year for applications, but some was. I got interviews at Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences and UT Southwesten, got wait listed at Cincinnati.

how competitive will I be?

Don't give up on USUHS, many people get in their second time around. As a matter of fact many of us have interviewed or applied to USUHS more than once. The second round seems to really pay off.

I would encourage you to re-apply for this year.

Mark
 

WaitingKills

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I agree with Mark. I would send some app's out this year. It sounds like you are in a great position.

If you don't get in on a few app's this year, then I think next year you will be definitely in an interview position.
 
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Great Satchmo

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Don't give up on USUHS, many people get in their second time around. As a matter of fact many of us have interviewed or applied to USUHS more than once. The second round seems to really pay off.

I would encourage you to re-apply for this year.

Mark

I liked USUHS, but if I apply again I will definitely stick to the civilian track despite it being more competitive. There are certain things I want to do that I can't if I have the service commitment.

It was a cool place though!
 

Great Satchmo

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I agree with Mark. I would send some app's out this year. It sounds like you are in a great position.

If you don't get in on a few app's this year, then I think next year you will be definitely in an interview position.


I am really tempted to apply this year, but I can't put my current job on my CV, if I do and don't ask my bosses for LOR's (only been here about 1.5-2 months, told them I'd be here for about a year and a half) I'm sure someone will wonder why. That means I can't put a full time paid RAship at Stanford on my CV and I can't refer to this experience or have the letter writers...kinda defeats the purpose of this.


As a whole I was just curious at what level I can believe I'll be competitive at.
 

Great Satchmo

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being a grad school noob (and being an undergrad!), this sounds VERY competitive.

Depending on your year in undergrad, I have advice for you:

START EARLY! I didn't start preparing for grad school until about a year before I graduated...which means I didn't have nearly enough experience before graduation which necessitated a job before grad school. Not a terrible thing, but I wish I was competitive right out of undergrad. I can't wait to be back in school.


However I'm also seriously considering LSAT's, see how I do (considering verbal/analytic is my strength, hopefully well) and see if I can't get myself into a very good law school joint degree program with epidemiology or public health. Do me some healthcare/pharm research and practice.

That, or I also plan on applying to very good post-bacc pre-med programs and see if I can't get into med school and later psychiatry (apparently a field in large demand and increasingly so in the geriatric area as this next decade progresses).
 

Thrak

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However I'm also seriously considering LSAT's, see how I do (considering verbal/analytic is my strength, hopefully well) and see if I can't get myself into a very good law school joint degree program with epidemiology or public health. Do me some healthcare/pharm research and practice.

Think long and hard right now about whether law school will be worth the investment, or if the market will pick up again by the time you'd be looking for summer associateships. Biglaw is hitting a wall in a huge way... bonuses being cut drastically, layoffs... whole firms are disappearing. This trickles down. Even the top law programs are having problems placing all of their students. You may have an advantage with an MPH, but that's still a *lot* of debt to start out with, depending on where you go.

I'd recommend checking out abovethelaw.com... it's a legal gossip blog, and not everything will be relevant, but they cover the legal marketplace pretty well for biglaw and for some state/city/federal legal news.

I thought about getting a JD as well, but my wife's a lawyer. We only need one in the household :laugh:
 

Great Satchmo

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Think long and hard right now about whether law school will be worth the investment, or if the market will pick up again by the time you'd be looking for summer associateships. Biglaw is hitting a wall in a huge way... bonuses being cut drastically, layoffs... whole firms are disappearing. This trickles down. Even the top law programs are having problems placing all of their students. You may have an advantage with an MPH, but that's still a *lot* of debt to start out with, depending on where you go.

I'd recommend checking out abovethelaw.com... it's a legal gossip blog, and not everything will be relevant, but they cover the legal marketplace pretty well for biglaw and for some state/city/federal legal news.

I thought about getting a JD as well, but my wife's a lawyer. We only need one in the household :laugh:


That is my reticence for law, I've read a little bit about the difficulty in the market place.

I would only attend law school if its a a top school and I can be involved in research and pursue dual degrees...I know that is a lot of conditions, but otherwise I worry about tracking myself for a job I'm not happy with and not being able to repay the debt. I'll have to see how the LSAT potentially pans out, if I score well I may attempt to get into some of the top tier schools on merit of my research and publication background...it'd be non-traditional and interesting compared to the normal, just out of undergrad, English major applicants.

I'm thinking hard about medicine, but I have a year of pre-reqs to take, and I'd do it at the structured post-bacc programs to increase my chances of success...but these in themselves are competitive and cost $30-40k for the year of tuition. It'd be worth it to make it into medicine, but I have shaken confidence in my ability with hard science, I've never really pursued it in the past so I don't have high efficacy. I'm sure I can make it, its just a hell of a gamble putting the dozens of thousands down before I can even apply.

On the other hand, a Ph.D. in psych doesn't seem to be especially lucrative and jobs can be hard to come across. Research funding is being cut everywhere, faculty positions can be hard to find, and I'd be looking at niche job(s).
 

psychmama

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I did the lawyer thing for over 10 years. Think about what you really enjoy carefully before going the law route. I found law lucrative and intellectually (somewhat) stimulating. However, the ethical challenges of law were not a great fit for me. I hated having to argue points I didn't really agree with...and I got sick of everything coming down to dollars and cents.

IMO, psychology is more fulfilling because it allows you to help people by addressing their root problems (rather than just the legal aspects of their problems, which are often dfferent altogether). I might have felt differently if I'd gone into public policy or public interest law. Trouble is, I'm more interested in individuals than systems. Anyway, I don't mean to knock lawyers or law school. I just feel like it's worth cautioning folks who approach it like "I can always just go to law school." Law is a much shorter route to more money and security. However, for me, the satisfaction was just not there.

Just my 2 cents (of course). :D
 

Great Satchmo

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Psychmama (love the name btw), I definitely appreciate the input. I'm certainly motivated to enter a career where I will make money enough to be comfortable and repay loan debt, but underlying that (and more importantly) is that I enjoy my job. My mother is a counselor (not doctoral level) at schools and hates her job, but is stuck there. I see that and it is one of my bigger fears.

If law is something I consider, I am only doing so in a very narrow and specific capacity. I have a friend going to a 2nd tier law school, and although its legitimate and everything, I would never do it. I feel like I would be forced into some random job to just repay the debt. I want to do research and gainful practice if I go into law.
 

WannaBeDrMe

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Think long and hard right now about whether law school will be worth the investment, or if the market will pick up again by the time you'd be looking for summer associateships. Biglaw is hitting a wall in a huge way... bonuses being cut drastically, layoffs... whole firms are disappearing. This trickles down. Even the top law programs are having problems placing all of their students. You may have an advantage with an MPH, but that's still a *lot* of debt to start out with, depending on where you go.

I'd recommend checking out abovethelaw.com... it's a legal gossip blog, and not everything will be relevant, but they cover the legal marketplace pretty well for biglaw and for some state/city/federal legal news.

I thought about getting a JD as well, but my wife's a lawyer. We only need one in the household :laugh:

Well, I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but mental health is also in crisis depending upon your area. We have lost dozens of psychiatrists and doctoral level psychologists in our state because the market (and failed policy) can't support them right now. The last 7 years have been miserable... leading me to consider a JD myself just to get out of the mess that is behavioral health.

I suggest the poster consider where they want to serve in a mental health role as well... although, since they haven't yet begun graduate school, there's a good chance things will even out by the time the dust settles... the next few years are going to be even worse... our state is anticipating a $10 billion dollar budget shortfall for next year. That means there's absolutely no way to pull out of the crisis and that it is going to get even worse... bleh, suckages.


Ps, I wanted to add that it doesn't sound like you are sure where you want to go just yet... so your idea of working the assistanceship for a year and reapplying is definitely a good bet.
 
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