How many years off did you take after undergrad?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by whereisit96, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. whereisit96

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    When I graduate, I’ll have about four semesters worth of research experience (hopefully). My plan was to take a year off to work as a research assistant, attend conferences, etc. I think I want to apply to PhD programs, either in clinical psych or just psych. I’m just curious how many years people took off after undergrad, and what they chose to do during those years.
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. singasongofjoy

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Messages:
    688
    Likes Received:
    450
    Status:
    Post Doc
    Americorps for one year, masters program for 2, 2 more years working, and then phd program.
     
  4. whereisit96

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Just wondering, why did you bother with a master’s degree? Why not just go straight to PhD?
     
  5. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,042
    Likes Received:
    6,108
    Status:
    Psychologist
    1 year off. Was a paid research lab manager. Also had couple years of research as an undergrad.
     
  6. whereisit96

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    So by one year off, do you mean one year off, and then you applied? Or did you apply in the fall following your graduation?
     
  7. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,042
    Likes Received:
    6,108
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Applied in the fall following graduation. There is only a 1 year gap between finishing undergrad and starting grad school. I was the youngest in my cohort, though. Most people took at least 2 years or more off.
     
  8. ClinicalABA

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    691
    Likes Received:
    478
    Status:
    Psychologist
    3 years. Worked clinical/behavioral positions- 1 year in a brain injury rehab facility, then 2 in a special nursing care facility for individuals with dual severe mental and medical illness (separated by a summer running a Girl Scout camp). Great clinical and management experience, some research (poster presentation), as well as real life experiences (met my future wife; got laid off from a job).
     
  9. PsychPhDStudent

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    228
    Status:
    Post Doc
    I already had 2 years of research experience from undergrad. I was a full-time research assistant after undergrad for 2 years and applied for grad school at the end of my first year as an RA (so I spent my second year applying/interviewing/figuring out offers). This was the typical path for my cohort.
     
  10. singasongofjoy

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Messages:
    688
    Likes Received:
    450
    Status:
    Post Doc
    wasn't sure which direction I wanted to take and needed some additional experience and time to figure it out; also didn't get much research experience in undergrad.
     
    whereisit96 likes this.
  11. calimich

    calimich Assistant Professor
    Psychologist Faculty

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    280
    Status:
    Psychologist
    10 years...2 yrs as a stockbroker, 6 yrs high school science teacher, 2 yrs Peace Corps volunteer...PhD
     
  12. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
    Psychologist Faculty

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Messages:
    1,177
    Likes Received:
    722
    0, I took my time off before UG and after my terminal masters (licensed practice for 3 years).

    The message folks visiting the board should take is that there is no 'normal' trajectory and if there was, it would include time off in some way
     
    #11 Justanothergrad, Nov 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  13. psych.meout

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    661
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    I worked for several years in a clinical job before getting into grad school this year.

    The clinical job also involved some research and I feel, like doing both really helped me prepare not only for applications, but also for grad school itself.
     
  14. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,785
    Likes Received:
    1,616
    Status:
    Psychologist
    I took two years off to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise. Over those two years I worked as a clinical research coordinator and an entry-level data analyst.
     
  15. Meteora

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    58
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Did my MA (took 3 years because of my thesis) and then started my doctorate.

    Why did I do a MA? I had a terrible undergrad GPA, minimal research experience, and I wasn't quite ready to be an adult at the time.
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. NeuroLady

    NeuroLady Gero Neuro Nerd

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    213
    2 years for MA
     
  18. Indiana_Jane0411

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    27
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    2 years; volunteered in a lab for additional research experience (1 year in UG) and worked in a variety of mental health settings.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
  19. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1,469
    Zero for grad school #1 which lasted no time at all. A year paid research assistant between #1 and #2.

    But I entered college as a second semester sophomore or first semester junior, and graduated in a gentleman’s 4 years while taking between 9-12hrs in average. And took a semester off to do research. And started a business in college.
     
  20. hpxb

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Post Doc
    I did the exact same thing. One year as a paid "project coordinator" in a research lab. Also spent this time studying for the GREs, networking at conferences, and completing applications for clinical psychology doctorate programs. It was definitely worth it, as my application was much stronger as a result.
     
  21. Doctor Eliza

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    107
    Status:
    Psychologist
    0. Went straight to my PhD program from undergrad. When I was in grad school, I sort of regretted that decision. I felt I probably should have taken a year or two to gain some maturity to deal with the complex politics of grad school. I also felt like i missed out on my 20’s. Now, I’m not sure it matters either way. There are positives and negatives either way. Good luck in your decision-making!
     
    psyched2graduate likes this.
  22. fritolay

    Joined:
    May 24, 2016
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    20
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I took one year off, worked in 2 research labs. I would say most people do 2 years off to get optimal research experience for applications
     
  23. SummerReign

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2017
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    11 years. I started out after undergrad in developmental psychology research. I then worked as a data analyst for a prisoner reentry program. Next, I became the research coordinator for a large nonprofit organization. Then I worked as a human factors engineer, merging my psychology knowledge and software design skills. And then returned to school. My CV definitely helped me get accepted, because my GPA left much to be desired (undergrad was soooo boring). I'll have my doctorate in 2018, specializing in forensics.
     
  24. G Costanza

    G Costanza Psychologist - Private Practice

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    572
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Worked as a mechanic and then adolescent inpatient for five years until beginning my masters at 27. Began a PhD at 30. I wouldn’t have had the drive for a PhD at 22 nor would I have believed it was something I could ever do.
     
    SummerReign and calimich like this.
  25. Hawkeye11

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    801
    How many years did I take off of what? My life? So many...
    (don't mind me; it's just the APPIC crazies)
     
    SummerReign likes this.
  26. traumamama

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    259
    Just 22 years.
     
  27. ay1314

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    174
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    7. Two years of random jobs in fields I thought I was interested in pursuing. 1 year of living in a beach town bumming around. 1 for an intensive MA in another field. 3 working for a university and figuring out what I actually wanted to do. Attended zero conferences and got zero research experience in these years. Worked out fine!
     
  28. smalltownpsych

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    4,380
    Likes Received:
    3,800
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Only one, but I was 34 by the time I graduated so I couldn’t waste too much more time.
     
    calimich likes this.
  29. psych.meout

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    661
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology

    34 when you finished your doctorate or a different degree?
     
  30. smalltownpsych

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    4,380
    Likes Received:
    3,800
    Status:
    Psychologist
    34 is when I got my bachelors. Didn’t finish my doctorate until about ten years later as I went the Masters route first and then took another year off between the MA and the PsyD and an extra year to finish my dissertation. For me it was not that I needed time off so much as I would get overwhelmed and prioritize current tasks as opposed to future tasks and application deadlines are only once a year.
     
    psych.meout likes this.

Share This Page