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Need Help Choosing a School

psychpei

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Jun 3, 2012
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    Hi,

    After tirelessly searching for graduate programs that fit my needs, I have narrowed it down to 7 schools. I will be applying to the counseling psychology doctoral program post baccalaureate. I am interested in programs that have an interest in child/adolescent and health psychology. I am hoping someone can give me an idea of how good each of these schools/programs are.

    The schools I have narrowed down are:
    1. University of Kansas
    2. University of Missouri Columbia
    3. University of Nebraska
    4. University of Northern Colorado
    5. Colorado State University
    6. University of Southern Alabama
    7. Virginia Commonweaalth University

    Thanks!
     

    futurepsydoc

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      I do not know anything about these programs, but I will tell you that applying to only seven schools will limit your chances of acceptance.

      If I were you I would do the following: 1) Buy the insiders guide to doctoral programs in clinical and counseling psychology and read up on PHD applications, 2) look at the applicant statistics, attrition data, and internship match rates (APA Internships specifically) for each program, 3) look for which programs have professors that have similar research interests to your own, 4) see if said professors are taking students next year, 5) look at the finding provided by each program, and 6) search the forums here on SDN for info on the schools. You might find that there are students on SDN that go to those programs and could give you some better insight.

      Good luck applying!!!!
       

      psychpei

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      Jun 3, 2012
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        Thanks for the info! I actually bought the 2012 APA Graduate Study in Psychology book and have been using it along with visiting each program's website and checking out the faculty and program details.

        I started out with over 30 schools and have slowly eliminated the programs that don't match my interests. The 7 schools I chose either had a large emphasis in child psych/therapy or had some emphasis and are close to home. Ideally, the program would be in relatively close driving distance to my hometown (where all of my family lives) in Kansas City.

        Should I still buy the insider's guide or stick with the APA book? It looks like I still have a lot more researching to do.
         
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        psychpei

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        Jun 3, 2012
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          I am leaning more towards counceling because as I understand it, clinical psychologists work with patients who have more severe mental issues. My end goal is to have a private practice working with children who have low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, shyness, etc. Please let me know if I misunderstood about clinical psychology.
           

          Doctor Eliza

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            I am leaning more towards counceling because as I understand it, clinical psychologists work with patients who have more severe mental issues. My end goal is to have a private practice working with children who have low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, shyness, etc. Please let me know if I misunderstood about clinical psychology.

            Yeah, I would say that this isn't really how things work. Maybe originally this was the case, but now clinical and counseling psychologists work in very similar settings and have the same licensure. The only exception might be college counseling centers where there is a strong (but not absolute) bias toward counseling psychologists. This is in part because many counseling psych programs have practicum sites at counseling centers and many clinical programs do not (perhaps a gross over-simplification of the situation, I realize).

            If you open yourself to looking at clinical programs you will have many more options. I myself have a clinical PhD (with a child-family concentration) and definitely work with the population you are describing. When I did my search in 2000 (such a long time ago, ugh!) I was open to both clinical and counseling, but ended up applying to only clinical programs because there were many better options for faculty mentors doing research with kids and teens.

            That said, you need to think seriously about whether a PhD program makes sense for you given your career goal of being a practitioner. Do a search of this board. A PhD is a research-oriented degree. Many PhD programs will not even read your application if you admit that you end goal is to do private practice rather than become a professor or other type of researcher. A PhD is overkill when you can do what you want to do with a master's degree (which will be a heck of a lot less painful of a path).

            I will spare you a lengthy lecture on the issue, if you promise to do a good search of this board about this matter. :) I have a lot of regrets about my career and i have a tendency to rain on young hopefuls' parades, so i will stop myself.

            Do as I say, not as I have done...

            :luck:

            Dr. E
             

            aagman01

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            Jul 13, 2009
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              I would consider school psychology as well. You can get very good clinical/therapeutic training with kiddos at some of the school psych programs that have a mental health focus (although be warned, a majority of school psych programs are psychoeducation focused in training). FYI - I'm biased, since I am in a school psych program :)
               

              roubs

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                I agree with the other posters, if you've narrowed it to 7 then I think you've narrowed it too much. We all had geographic preferences but you have to ask yourself: If my one acceptance is far away, would I go there? If the answer is yes then you owe it to yourself to cast a wide net and explore the clinical/school options.
                 

                mcvcm92

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                Aug 10, 2011
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                  Like the majority of the posters before me, I would say take a look at some clinical programs as well and maybe add some of them to your list. Although many people say to apply to at least 10 programs, I think you should only apply to programs that you could realistically see yourself attending if you get accepted. Good luck!
                   

                  Ollie123

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                    Agree with the above.

                    In particular, health psychology is (far and above) more common in clinical programs. I know some folks in counseling who have gone that direction, but there is no question the field is overwhelmingly oriented towards clinical folks. That said, your goals don't seem to have much of anything to do with health psychology, so I'm curious why you were looking for those kinds of programs.
                     

                    psychpei

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                    Jun 3, 2012
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                      First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has responded to my post; I really appreciate everyone's feedback. So, now that I have had a chance to take everything in, I really do believe that a clinical psych program is the best program for me. I haven't had a chance to visit many program websites yet, but did take a look at the University of Kansas' child clinical psych program and am impressed.

                      Second, I thought I needed to limit my school choices to around 4 or 5. I am a little concerned about application fees when the time comes to start applying. Like I said, I would prefer to live closer to my hometown so I could drive home when needed, but it is not necessary if I find the perfect program.

                      Third, I am interested in health psychology because I took an intro class last semester and found it really fascinating. I am particularily interested in childhood obesity/body issues and how it relates to low self-esteem, depression, etc.

                      So, it looks like it's back to the drawing board for me.
                       

                      roubs

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                        First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has responded to my post; I really appreciate everyone's feedback. So, now that I have had a chance to take everything in, I really do believe that a clinical psych program is the best program for me. I haven't had a chance to visit many program websites yet, but did take a look at the University of Kansas' child clinical psych program and am impressed.

                        Second, I thought I needed to limit my school choices to around 4 or 5. I am a little concerned about application fees when the time comes to start applying. Like I said, I would prefer to live closer to my hometown so I could drive home when needed, but it is not necessary if I find the perfect program.

                        Third, I am interested in health psychology because I took an intro class last semester and found it really fascinating. I am particularily interested in childhood obesity/body issues and how it relates to low self-esteem, depression, etc.

                        So, it looks like it's back to the drawing board for me.

                        There is nothing "wrong" with limiting your school choices due to geography or any other reason, it just means you raise the probability of not having an acceptance. Do you have a backup career that you'd be fine with if you didn't get an acceptance at one of the 4-5 places near you? If that's the case then that changes the advice many would give.
                         

                        ClinicalABA

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                          A PhD is a research-oriented degree. Many PhD programs will not even read your application if you admit that you end goal is to do private practice rather than become a professor or other type of researcher.

                          The first sentence is simply not true (though the second sentence may be, depending on your operational definition of "many"). A Ph.D. from a good Boulder Model (e.g. scientist-practitioner) Clinical Ph.D. program will provide you with excellent clinical training that is in line with licensure standards and not all that different from (and potentially better than) what you will get in a Psy.D. program. The whole "Psy.D. = practitioner, Ph.D. = researcher" thing is an over-simplification and maybe even a myth.

                          As to the point about Clinical vs. Counseling, I'd agree with many of the above posts- depending on the specific program, a clinical program would prepare yo to work with the population you specified.
                           

                          ClinicalABA

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                            ^
                            That may be true in practice, but even truly balanced PhD programs tend to put a *heavy* emphasis on research experience and goals, in my observation and experience.

                            You're point is valid. It's just the whole "a Ph.D. program won't prepare you to be a clinician" and, even worse, the "a Psy.D. program will better prepare you to be a clinician" stuff that is incorrect. Saying a "Ph.D. program emphasizes research" is not logically equivalent to saying "a Ph.D. program will not prepare you to be an effective clinician."
                             

                            AcronymAllergy

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                              You're point is valid. It's just the whole "a Ph.D. program won't prepare you to be a clinician" and, even worse, the "a Psy.D. program will better prepare you to be a clinician" stuff that is incorrect. Saying a "Ph.D. program emphasizes research" is not logically equivalent to saying "a Ph.D. program will not prepare you to be an effective clinician."

                              Definitely agree. Nearly all Ph.D. programs are going to emphasize research to some degree (with the average Ph.D. program emphasizing it more than the average Psy.D. program). I think the misunderstandings start to pop up when people begin thinking that the research emphasis comes at the expense of clinical training.

                              My take is that the average Ph.D. student takes a bit longer to graduate (comparing apples to apples; i.e., full-time students to full-time students), and probably works a few more hours per week, than the average Psy.D student (I'm talking in HUGE generalizations here, mind you). Because of this, Ph.D. students are graduating with a higher average number of intervention hours while still also being at least somewhat productive research-wise.

                              I do know that my Ph.D. program offered very few intervention-specific classes (e.g., DBT, CPT), and I wouldn't be surprised if many/most other Ph.D. programs are the same way. I could then see this leading to a potentially-faulty assumption that treatment/intervention isn't a focus, when in actuality the training in these areas occurs via practicum/supervised practice rather than in specific classes.
                               

                              futureapppsy2

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                                You're point is valid. It's just the whole "a Ph.D. program won't prepare you to be a clinician" and, even worse, the "a Psy.D. program will better prepare you to be a clinician" stuff that is incorrect. Saying a "Ph.D. program emphasizes research" is not logically equivalent to saying "a Ph.D. program will not prepare you to be an effective clinician."


                                I meant to--and thought I wrote "in admissions" after "emphasis." hence, my post didn't say what I intended. My bad.:oops:

                                I agree with your post, btw. :)
                                 
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