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NYC Research Assistant positions

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by leavingprov, May 16, 2008.

  1. leavingprov

    leavingprov 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Hi everyone-- this is one of my first posts here but I've been stalking for a while. Thanks for all the past advice... here's my question:

    1. I'm looking for any advice for obtaining an RA position, hopefully with a clinical / assessment component, in New York City starting around August or September 2008. I have a decent amount of RA experience under my belt and finished my psych bachelor's in 2006. I've never lived there before soooo, I'm a little confused about how to go about the job hunt.

    I've already scrolled a few online sites (, a few university/hospital HR sites, etc) without too much luck. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions about the best way to find a position. Is pounding the pavement upon my arrival the best way?

    2. I'm a little nervous because I'll be applying to PhD/PsyD programs in the fall. It's true that a lot of RA spots request/require a 2 year commitment, right? What should I do about this?

    Thanks sooooooo much for any help/advice you can offer. :)
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  3. dontknowitall

    dontknowitall 7+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2008
    New York, NY
    I have to say that I really don't recommend starting work somewhere in August or September and putting in your apps for 2009-2010. I know you feel like you want to get a move on in your life, but starting a new job with new things to learn at the same time as you are doing GREs, personal statements, and apps is A LOT! You are asking for a burn-out, in my opinion. Will you have enough time off by the time you have to interview? Are you expecting letters of rec from your new boss? Will they be able to write you a strong letter after 2 months of your employment? These are important things to think about.

    That being said, if you are still looking for RA spots in NYC here are several institutions you can look at. Either look at their website or directly inquire with people who are doing things you are interested in at these different institutions (If you do this always send your resume along with a question about job posibilities):
    1. NYU (and NYU medical center)
    2. Columbia (NY State Psychiatric Institute)
    3. Cornell-Weill
    4. Beth Isreal
    5. VA Hospitals -- Bronx and Manhattan
    6. Fordham
    7. Pace
    8. Mount Sinai School of Medicine

    And there are more in Brooklyn. I will even say one more piece of advice. If you have never lived in NYC before and you are expecting to be able to live there on a research assistant salary, it is going to be really hard. NYC is VERY expensive. A studio apartment in manhattan is at least $1400 a
    month. And you will probably have to pay a broker fee as well, so you are going to need about $6720 in start-up costs for an apt ($1400 x 2 = $2800
    first and last months rent, $1400 security deposit, $2520 for 15% broker fee).

    I'm not trying to squash your dreams, but I am trying to help you see the reality of this situation. All this being said, there are so many amazing research opportunities in NYC. If you do move here, I also recommend volunteering for the Samaratin Suicide Hotline Prevention. Great clinical experience!!!
  4. Thrak

    Thrak RU experienced? 7+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2007
    Queens, NY/Edison, NJ
    I agree with everything, I just want to add that living in Queens or Brooklyn will probably be way cheaper. You can get a one bedroom apartment in Rego Park in Queens off Queens Blvd (a good place to live, and right on a couple of subway lines) for around $1500, maybe less. And it'll be much bigger than a comparable Manhattan place. Like all else, craigslist will give you a good feel for what you'd be spending. And Wikipedia has profiles of each neighborhood in the five boroughs.

    /Queens native
  5. PsychappA

    PsychappA 5+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2008
    I agree with the entire above post. A couple other places you can try are St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital and Sloane Kettering (cancer institute), which also has some psychology positions.

    I would second the fact that it is a lot of stress trying to start a new job and apply for grad school within the same year. Additionally, one thing that I did not realize before moving to NYC is that moving here is very stressful in and of itself. Apartment hunting is a nightmare, the city is very expensive (and R.A. positions are not exactly lucrative), and the day to day hassles of city living are stressful. That being said, I love living in NYC, but I think moving here and expecting to start a new job, adjust to NYC life, and apply to grad school creates a stress time-bomb.

    I also second the expensive-factor. I work 2 additional jobs on top of my coordinator job in order to pay my rent and bills. Roommates help, as does being flexible about where in the city (or surrounding borroughs) you live.

    I guess my main advice would be think long and hard about taking 2 years rather than 1 (and honestly does one year really make that big of a difference?) and do as much research into living in NYC as you can before jumping into it. I don't think I did sufficient research prior to moving & it made for a very rocky transition.

    Good luck!
  6. PsychappA

    PsychappA 5+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2008
    Oh... and I would say a big NO on this one. I don't think research positions are really that conducive to "pavement pounding". It's better to use connections and to email around to different sites before getting to the city. Unless you have a large source of expendible income that can hold you over for a while I would not recommend moving to NY without a job in place. In my experience, money goes fast and lining up a job takes quite a bit of time. When I switched positions about a year ago, I think it took about 3 months of sending my resume out EVERYWHERE before I found my current position. Luckily, I had a job at the time. Otherwise, I migt have lost my mind.
  7. leavingprov

    leavingprov 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Thank you all so much for your advice! I'm not too worried about the apartment costs as I will be splitting a BR with my partner AND we will be sharing a 3 BR apt with some friends. I've been teaching English in Korea so I will have a little disposable income when I arrive BUT I definitely know how expensive the city can be.

    I'm definitely thinking about looking for part-time work instead of FT given how crazy the application process is. I'm not really looking for a letter of rec-- more just looking to get back into the research/psych world after being away for a year. If anyone else has any words of wisdom feel free to send them my way. Thanks again for your suggestions!

    ps. dontknowitall-- I actually volunteered with the Samaritans in Rhode Island for about 3-4 years while in college-- it WAS a great experience and I'd recommend it to anyone-- it basically got me interested in pursuing psychology! I ended up becoming really involved in the organization during and after college and hope to maybe return. :)

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