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List formation

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by biogirl215, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. biogirl215

    2+ Year Member

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    Question for current and past applicants: How did you go about forming your lists?

    From the Insider's Guide and faculty websites, I have a list of about 17 or so clinical and counseling programs where the faculty would be great fits for my research experiences and interests. All are competitive (obviously, given the field) but some are in the "slightly less" competitive range (40 apps/15 admits/6 incoming range). I plan to apply to all programs on this list next year, as long as the professors I'm interested in are taking students, as well as adding any other good research fits that I come across or that my advisor recommends.

    I've also found a few generally unfunded PsyD programs that might be good fits (based on faculty interests and program) and *perhaps* slightly less competitive than some or most of my PhD programs. Additionally, I've also considered applying to a "safer" PsyD or two (Forest Institute, for example).

    So, realistically, I figure I'm looking at about 20-25 apps: 14 or 15 clinical/counseling PhD programs, 5 or so clinical PsyD programs, 2 or 3 "safer" PsyD programs. Everything, with the possible exception of a safer PsyD or two, is a long-shot and a lot depends on how I do on the GRE , which I'm planning to take in August.

    How long was your list? How did it form? Are there things you would have done differently?
     
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  3. apumic

    apumic Oracle of the Sheet
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    My final list was 11. I did a few things. First, I chose what I wanted in my faculty (interests) and clinical areas and used the insider's guide to select ~42 schools, from which I chose 19 that were a clear fit. I then used deadline dates to help keep a steady flow of apps for both myself and my LOR writers (and schools) instead of having like 8 apps due Dec 15!
    I ended up with 11, including 7 highly competitive balanced-Ph.D. programs and 4 of the top Psy.D. programs. My "safety" would be IUP, but I would actually love to go there, so it'd kind of be cheating them out of something to really say they're my "safety" school. They're just a program where I have a better chance of getting in! (And they have 1 faculty member who appears to possibly share my specific research interest, which is pretty rare considering my exact interests.)
     
  4. psychcavy

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    -I would actually recommend taking the GRE a bit sooner, because my score played a big part in a last minute cut of about 5 schools- and that's really not fun after putting a lot of work into app materials.
    -Secondly, I would say narrow it down a little. This will probably happen anyway once you start investigating the schools more thoroughly and contacting POI's to find out if they are taking students etc. I say this because the expense of applying is outrageous. I'm going to wound up spending around 1500 on just 8 schools- and that's not counting the expense of the actual testing fees or interviews.
    -Only apply to those places that you would LOVE to go. Ones that also vary in competitiveness as well (as you already have taken into account)
    -Just a small piece of advice- take the April Psyc GRE. the other two just cut it too close. I did not like that feeling.

    This is how I took on the process of applying:
    1. I made the mistake of selecting my schools by location first according to the ability of my boyfriend to transfer to those areas. Thankfully they were in hugely popular areas for clinical programs as well, like D.C. and Boston, so I had a pretty fair selection to choose from.
    2. I made a selection of about 20 schools with MA feeder programs, PsyD and PhD.
    3. From here I investigated every aspect of the programs, especially professors and funding. I made a chart with all of the info I needed, such as due dates, cost, POI's, app requirements etc (I would be glad to PM you a copy if you would like) and a binder with fact sheets about each of the schools including POI's, funding and full disclosure stats. This was done by June.
    4. I then went over the list with my mentor and narrowed the selection a little.
    5. I ranked the schools from most competitive to least in order to ensure that I had a good mix and took out schools that had absolute minimum scores which I did not meet. I read over the binder again and again to get a feel of which schools I loved and which ones I didn't.
    6. I contacted POI's to be sure that they were taking students and eliminated the schools in which my POI was not accepting students and there were no other interests at that school. I also made sure that their current research matches not only what I want to do, but what I have done. (by the way, some sites are good about research description, like UMass Boston, but some have really really sucky descriptions, like UMiss)
    7. After making my "semi-final" selection in August, I wrote my SOP (which took forever!) for each school as well as a basic one for my LOR writers. If I were to do this over again, I would tailor the SOP even more to each school.
    8. In September I organized and distributed materials for LOR writers. (I would recommend doing this even earlier if at all possible)
    9. In October, I made checklists for each of the schools and started applications. I also sent out reminders to LOR writers, ordered transcripts(sents to me) and sent GRE scores (mine got screwed up and I was still attempting to send them at the end of november, but that's a whole different story:rolleyes:)
    10. November, had packets with supplimentary materials, including LOR's ready to go and finished online applications!

    I hope this helps! the best things for me were the binder, chart and checklists, I couldn't do it without them. Good luck!;)
     
  5. psychcavy

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    LOL, I got carried away and forgot that this was just about lists so sorry about the "lecture" on the entire process of application. OCD really kicks in when you're applying! I've become obsessed with itemized lists!!
     
  6. JockNerd

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    Your list for the PhD programs will naturally shrink as some of the profs tell you they aren't taking students/are retiring/whatever.

    It's a little strange to me that you mention PhD programs that fit your research interests, and then mention places like Forest as backups. I'd just be sure that (a) the programs you apply to are programs that will train you well, and specifically, for the career you want to go into, and (b) you aren't applying to some places to just assure that you're getting into *a* grad school. And of course I don't know your financial system and any way that might factor into school choice.
     
  7. biogirl215

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    Yeah, I figure my list will naturally shrink due to professors not taking students. You're in a counseling program, aren't you? My list is counseling-heavy, just as a result of where my research interests (multicultural) are. I love research (and have done a lot of it), but ultimately, I want to practice. The PsyD programs I'm looking at all offer strong multicultural training and/or professors who would be good fits. My main concern about attending a "safer" program would be getting an APA-accredited internship. As for finances, it's a definite concern, but I figured I could just apply and see where the chips fall next April. I'd love to get into a funded counseling or clinical program, but I know that's not particularly likely.

    The programs I'm considering, with one or two exceptions, are all in pretty "unpopular" geographic areas (which I actually like, but the majority of the populus disagrees with me, apparently!). It's actually a function of what I want to research and do clinically (they're interconnected). I'm hoping maybe that will help somewhat. Of course, what will *really* hurt (and why I'm not particularly expecting to get in anywhere) is that I'm not a member of the ethnic I'm researching, though I've done a ton of work in the area...

    Thanks for all the advice! It's much appreciated!
     
    #6 biogirl215, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  8. KillerDiller

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    I just wanted to say I cam empathize with this. The first time I applied to doctoral programs I did so wanting to work with an ethnicity that I'm not a part of. I didn't get in anywhere, but that was likely due to a lack of research experience specifically within multicultural psych (I had only lived in a location where this culture was prevalent, and never actually conducted research on multicultural issues). Hopefully you will have a good shot because you will have this experience in terms of research.

    I ended up switching my focus the following year to something more in line with what I had been doing previously and I got into some good programs. I think that bodes well for your situation.
     
  9. biogirl215

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    Yeah, I'm hoping my research will "make up" (so to speak) for my lily white skin. I'll have a couple years of research, an honors thesis (maybe two), and likely summer research all dealing with this particular ethnic group, so I'm hoping I can demonstrate a good knowledge of what I want to do. I do kind of understand the potential hesitance, though--I'm a member of an incredibly underrepresented, non-ethnic minority group where I also do some research, and I've seen value of both being an "insider" and an "outsider."


    What ethnic group did you originally want to focus your research on?
     
  10. KillerDiller

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    I wanted to work on researching ways to provide more mental health services to Native American populations. That's ok, though, I like my current research even more.
     

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