NEED ADVICE. PH.D IN Clinical Psychology

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imonfire

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Hello!

I am trying to make a decision. I am a public health major. I didn't know I wanted to got to grad school till later sophomore year and I was already waist deep in my major. I picked up a psychology minor (5 classes) which I have completed and a behavioral health care minor to make up for not being a psych major.

However, I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS.
1.) Should I drop the behavioral healthcare minor and take more psychology classes (I can take up to 4 more) i.e. research methods, cognitive psychology, Health psych etc. (I already took, intro, abnormal, social, experimental design, statistics, physiological psych with A's in all of them)

2.) Is it possible to get into grad school without being a psych major? I have worked in two clinical psych labs, i stopped working in one to focus on this current one, and my professor asked me to create a hypothesis for an independent project recently (I am also going to co-author two research publications). My GPA is a 3.96 and I have not taken he GRE yet (but will in about 2 months). I am also international. I am also going to be a senior this fall

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You do not need to have a psych major in order to apply to grad schools. Most programs require certain pre-requisite courses (many of which you've listed). I would spend this next year, and possibly a gap year, focusing on research (making sure you get conference presentations and posters, as well as that publication) to make yourself more competitive.
 
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I don't think your public health major will count against you given your other courses and research experience. Depending on your career interests, it could help to be familiar with population- and system-level perspectives. However, now that you know you want a PhD in psychology I'd advise you to take advantage of more offerings from the psychology department, especially courses that are relevant to research (eg, research methods, advanced statistics, psychometrics, etc.). I can't think of any real disadvantages of dropping the second minor.
 
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I'd advise looking up what programs you want to apply to and see what their required courses are for admission. You don't need to major in psych, but you need to have a core foundation of psychology. Taking the psychology GRE (and doing well on it) may help a lot too.
 
You definitely do not have to be a psych major to get into psych grad school. But if you can take research methods, I would suggest doing that. But really you are doing the other things you need to do, such as participating in a lab and getting conference/publication work. I was a theatre major in undergrad and came to psychology later without a degree but with the major courses (note: I actually never took research methods, which in retrospect was a mistake bu it turned out OK).
 
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You definitely do not have to be a psych major to get into psych grad school. But if you can take research methods, I would suggest doing that. But really you are doing the other things you need to do, such as participating in a lab and getting conference/publication work. I was a theatre major in undergrad and came to psychology later without a degree but with the major courses (note: I actually never took research methods, which in retrospect was a mistake bu it turned out OK).
Wow thank you. If you don't mind me asking what year did you get into clinical psychology? Wow!!
 
I'd advise looking up what programs you want to apply to and see what their required courses are for admission. You don't need to major in psych, but you need to have a core foundation of psychology. Taking the psychology GRE (and doing well on it) may help a lot too.
I really don't know what schools I want to apply to yet. I know it sounds bad. They say apply to 8-10 schools but I can probably only afford to apply to 4-6 programs.!
 
You do not need to have a psych major in order to apply to grad schools. Most programs require certain pre-requisite courses (many of which you've listed). I would spend this next year, and possibly a gap year, focusing on research (making sure you get conference presentations and posters, as well as that publication) to make yourself more competitive.
I was actually thinking of applying this year, or next year.
 
I really don't know what schools I want to apply to yet. I know it sounds bad. They say apply to 8-10 schools but I can probably only afford to apply to 4-6 programs.!
You can likely make life choices in the next five months to save the difference in cost. Folks frequently apply to more than that 8-10 because of the admission rates.
 
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I really don't know what schools I want to apply to yet. I know it sounds bad. They say apply to 8-10 schools but I can probably only afford to apply to 4-6 programs.!

I'd say that even 8-10 is kinda low, 12-15 is more advisable. The costs of applying are minuscule (~$50 in application fees, ~$20 for GRE scores, etc.) compared to the opportunity cost of not getting any interviews or admission offers and needing to wait a whole year to reapply. Transportation, taking time off work, and other costs for interviewing are where it really hurts.
 
I really don't know what schools I want to apply to yet. I know it sounds bad. They say apply to 8-10 schools but I can probably only afford to apply to 4-6 programs.!
If it's not possible to save enough to apply to 12-15 programs this year, then it might be beneficial to wait a year before applying. In the intervening time, you can improve your application by adding research experience, which would improve your chances while at the same time applying to more programs than you would have this year.
 
If it's not possible to save enough to apply to 12-15 programs this year, then it might be beneficial to wait a year before applying. In the intervening time, you can improve your application by adding research experience, which would improve your chances while at the same time applying to more programs than you would have this year.
I guess so. However, I believe it is very quite possible to select programs that are a good fit for you and are also looking for students like me and raise my chances rather than just casting a white net and hoping someone takes me. I want to be strategic, I also need to save money.

I'd say that even 8-10 is kinda low, 12-15 is more advisable. The costs of applying are minuscule (~$50 in application fees, ~$20 for GRE scores, etc.) compared to the opportunity cost of not getting any interviews or admission offers and needing to wait a whole year to reapply. Transportation, taking time off work, and other costs for interviewing are where it really hurts.
70 dollars is not miniscule to a struggling college kid lol, just saying.

You can likely make life choices in the next five months to save the difference in cost. Folks frequently apply to more than that 8-10 because of the admission rates.
Yeah, thanks. I have this book with multiple worksheets that helps you determine what schools are a good fit for you, and what schools a person is a good fit for. Right now, I solemnly believe I can get into at least 1 program if my GRE is high enough. If I wait till next year, I'd probably still be able to apply to the same amount of schools as well.
 
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I'd say that even 8-10 is kinda low, 12-15 is more advisable. The costs of applying are minuscule (~$50 in application fees, ~$20 for GRE scores, etc.) compared to the opportunity cost of not getting any interviews or admission offers and needing to wait a whole year to reapply. Transportation, taking time off work, and other costs for interviewing are where it really hurts.
850$ possibly more is the cost of applying to 12-15 schools and that is ridculous!
 
Yeah, thanks. I have this book with multiple worksheets that helps you determine what schools are a good fit for you, and what schools a person is a good fit for. Right now, I solemnly believe I can get into at least 1 program if my GRE is high enough. If I wait till next year, I'd probably still be able to apply to the same amount of schools as well.
I understand and appreciate your position. A few trends I've noticed over the years are (1) applicants not understanding the competitiveness or backroom processes for admission (2) applicants underestimating the importance of good, early investment in programs and (3) applicants tending to think they are the exception to trends. Your choice of course and you may well be right about your chances, but there are numerous factors to admission you are unlikely to be aware of and I'm yet to see a worksheet that determines fit well because it's a vague term that varies by program and advisor. Best of luck, but year after year competitive applicants dont get into good schools.
 
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where is all the debt coming from?
Poorer funded programs
Lost wages for having to reapply again the next year
Additional application and interview costs

It's not all debt, but there can be a financial cost depending how an applicant approaches the issue. I lump "money I dont have" in the same group as "money I owe "
 
850$ possibly more is the cost of applying to 12-15 schools and that is ridculous!
If you think that's ridiculous, just wait until you see how much it costs to interview for doctoral programs, both in terms of opportunity cost (e.g., lost wages) and direct costs (e.g., airfare, gas money, etc.).

I guess so. However, I believe it is very quite possible to select programs that are a good fit for you and are also looking for students like me and raise my chances rather than just casting a white net and hoping someone takes me. I want to be strategic, I also need to save money.


70 dollars is not miniscule to a struggling college kid lol, just saying.


Yeah, thanks. I have this book with multiple worksheets that helps you determine what schools are a good fit for you, and what schools a person is a good fit for.

It sounds like you are using Norcross' book. Let me quote from it.

How Many?

The average number of applications made by students to clinical and counseling psychology programs is about 10. The precise number to which you should apply depends on the strength of your credentials and the competitiveness of the prospective programs; more applications are indicated for weaker credentials and more competitive programs.

Another way to answer the "How many" question is to apply to a sufficient number of programs so that if the worst happens and you are not admitted anywhere, you can reassure yourself that you gave it your best shot. "I did my best" is far better than condemning yourself afterwards for not applying to a few more programs.

Our rule of thumb is to apply to at least 10 to 12 programs: fie "safe" (you can clearly meet or exceed their standards); five "target" or "ambitious" programs (your credentials just make their requirements); and perhaps one or two "reach" or "stretch" programs (where you do not approximate their standards but you have a particular hunch, research compatibility, or personal relationship that has a chance of sweeping you into the finalist pool). We have met industrious students who have applied to over 40 programs and confident students who have applied to just four or five.

But don't pull a Missar, as we say at the University of Scranton. David Missar was an exceptional undergraduate and good-humored fellow (who gave us permission to use his story as a lesson for others to learn). He had a sky-high GPA, impressive GREs, a practicum to his credit, and even coauthored a publication. He was feeling a bit too confident in applying to only four doctoral programs, all located around his home town of Washington, DC, which happens to host some of the most competitive programs in the country. Despite his stellar academic credentials, Dave did not receive any acceptances his first year because his research interests and strengths did not match those of the clinical faculty and institutions to which he applied. Had he applied to a greater number or larger variety of programs, he surely would have been accepted somewhere, as he was easily the next year when he corrected his miscalculations.

The lesson here is that even the most impressive candidates can get in their own way and sabotage their admissions chances, including by applying to too few programs. Moreover, the book's overall message is very much "cast a wide net" in a strategic manner using their advice. Their system and program descriptions only go so far and don't offer any assurances that any one given program will even offer you an interview, let alone an acceptance. Thus, you apply to programs based on fit, but you still have to apply to enough programs to which you fit.

Right now, I solemnly believe I can get into at least 1 program if my GRE is high enough. If I wait till next year, I'd probably still be able to apply to the same amount of schools as well.
The problem is that you're factoring in just the variables you know about, not those that you can't quantify. There's no way for you to anticipate the background qualifications or interviewing skills of other applicants, the personalities of POIs and existing students in their labs or you "fit" with them, or any of the other variables that are far more influential than your GRE scores.

GRE scores generally serve more as screening tools or ways to somewhat offset mediocre undergraduate GPAs. At best, they may qualify you for more funding or a fellowship. It's your research experience and aptitude and your "fit" with your POI and their lab which are paramount.
 
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To piggy back off of psych.meout, think of it this way: you are competing with about 300 other people who also have high GREs, high GPA, solid research experience, etc for the same 5 spots in any 1 program. You may very well be an excellent candidate, but if your POI can only invite 2 people to interview and they have 3 great candidates, there's no guarantee that you'll make the cut.
 
Regarding the cost of applying... It can be much higher than that, even if you don't factor in travel for interviews. I kept a spreadsheet of my application costs.

My GRE costs alone amounted to $1200 and I didn't take any prep courses. I took the psych GRE once (205) and the general GRE twice because I was ill for the first time (410, ouch). Sending the GRE scores came out to ~$500 (it's $27 for each score, two for each school if you send both psych and general). I also bought several books and sets of flashcards (~$82).

9 application fees of varying amounts (range = $60-125) totaled $730.

That's a total of of almost $2,000 before interview travel. Part of that was unexpected - taking the GRE twice, a couple of GRE scores were sent in error, etc. You might not need the psych GRE at all. But my point is IT WAS EXPENSIVE! Like astoundingly, prohibitively expensive.

It's worth doing right and doing well because the above posters are correct that in the long term it should save money if you're a competitive applicant. But I say this in order to prepare applicants for the true horrorshow of expenses you're about to experience.
 
Sending the GRE scores came out to ~$500 (it's $27 for each score, two for each school if you send both psych and general).

Um....I don't that's correct. As long as you've already taken both tests and they've both been officially scored, it should only take one score report to submit both. Well, at least that's how it was back in fall 2016.
 
Thanks everyone for the input and the advice that you have given me. I honestly take each and every one into utmost consideration as well as seek counsel from my university professors as well. I guess applying to 12-15 schools seems to be the most effective thing to do (as some of you have said). If I am being really honest, I don't see myself being able to aford that many schools or else I will d it, however, I will apply to as many as I possibly can and hope for the best. If I do not get in, then I will just reapply the next year (hopefully be in a better financial state). However, thank you all so much.

BLESS!
 
Um....I don't that's correct. As long as you've already taken both tests and they've both been officially scored, it should only take one score report to submit both. Well, at least that's how it was back in fall 2016.

COOL, are you in graduate school or are in you also currently in the process of applying?
 
To piggy back off of psych.meout, think of it this way: you are competing with about 300 other people who also have high GREs, high GPA, solid research experience, etc for the same 5 spots in any 1 program. You may very well be an excellent candidate, but if your POI can only invite 2 people to interview and they have 3 great candidates, there's no guarantee that you'll make the cut.

WOW, it really is competitive. No doubt about that.
 
Did you apply to 12 - 15 schools right after graduate school?
I'm not @psych.meout, but I do have three anecdotes: Person 1 applied to 22 programs, received 10 interviews, and four offers. Person 2 applied to 15-18 programs, received two interviews, and one offer. Person 3 applied to eight programs, received five interviews, and no offers. Apply to as many as you feel comfortable.
 
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