Swan_13

2+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2016
18
1
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Psychology Student
Howdy folks! Long time lurker here, hoping for some insight.

I'm a non-trad student. I spent a few solid years working towards being competitive for PhD programs but just as I was about to start the application process, I became preggers. Which was great! -- just not something we had planned for at that exact time.

I'm now at home with my kid, who is just over a year. We live in a major metro area with no local family, and day care costs are prohibitive enough that I'm thinking I probably have to wait until the babe gets to pre-K to apply to PhD programs. In the meantime, I'm wondering if completing an online MA is worth it or if I should take a few more undergrad courses to stay active and bump up my GPA (see below).

In my quest for higher ed greatness (lol), I took four semesters of psych courses and earned a 4.0 (though my total GPA with my undergrad 15 years ago is 3.2 or 3.3). I presented regionally and at APA, won a student award from a division, have one paper published as second author, and designed/implemented a follow-up study, from which I'll be submitting at least one paper as first author. I also volunteered for a year at a non-profit for teens with socioemotional issues. Ultimate goal will be to research, write, and teach.

Haven't done a ton of research into online programs but I was looking at the program at CUNY, which is new as of last year.

Thanks for any and all input!
 

entitlement

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2011
101
52
Status
Psychologist
You actually sound like a strong applicant for PhD programs based on your research experiences. The trick is going to be how to get your application from being automatically kicked out during the first phase of app review due to the low undergrad GPA. Were the extra psyc courses you took part of a formal program that you can list separately in your application? Also, your GRE and psyc GRE scores are going to be key. All that to say that I don't think an online program will help you much (nor may be even necessary).
 
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Swan_13

2+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2016
18
1
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks for the input, all. I thought that might be the consensus and I'm happy not to spend the $$!

Entitlement, I had two separate stints in college. I eked out my liberal arts prerequisites right out of high school, then finished my BA at a different college in 2014. The more recent transcript will show a 4.0 in about 15 psych courses, while the one from the '90s got bogged down by a class I thought I dropped but didn't... whoops. I was planning on addressing my cumulative GPA in my SOP :)
 

LETSGONYR

5+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2012
359
91
Washington, DC
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Post Doc
As WisNeuro said, I'm yet to hear of an online training program that provides the development of skills that would be useful/needed in a manner comparable to other programs.
Not to derail the thread, but for online degrees from traditional/brick and mortar schools, is there anyway for people to know the degree was earned online? My understanding was that a degree from Penn State online (for example) just says Penn State.

University of Phoenix is different, clearly, but I'm not so sure a CUNY online degree would be looked at much differently than any other CUNY degree. That doesn't mean the educational opportunities are the same, of course, but I think the degree is.

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bmedclinic

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 9, 2008
901
241
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Psychologist
Not to derail the thread, but for online degrees from traditional/brick and mortar schools, is there anyway for people to know the degree was earned online? My understanding was that a degree from Penn State online (for example) just says Penn State.

University of Phoenix is different, clearly, but I'm not so sure a CUNY online degree would be looked at much differently than any other CUNY degree. That doesn't mean the educational opportunities are the same, of course, but I think the degree is.

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Once you get past the name brand (Penn State) etc, I think the details will still kill online applicants, regardless of level. You still need LOR at all levels, and what's a professor who you didnt actually do any research under, but participated in 2 online courses gonna say? Bmedclinic filled out his online essays well? I think its those things that will get the applicant trashed, even if they initially look competitive. Though it might be somewhat different, I think the same thing would play out at higher levels too (Internship, postdoc).
 
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LETSGONYR

5+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2012
359
91
Washington, DC
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Post Doc
Once you get past the name brand (Penn State) etc, I think the details will still kill online applicants, regardless of level. You still need LOR at all levels, and what's a professor who you didnt actually do any research under, but participated in 2 online courses gonna say? Bmedclinic filled out his online essays well? I think its those things that will get the applicant trashed, even if they initially look competitive. Though it might be somewhat different, I think the same thing would play out at higher levels too (Internship, postdoc).
Good points, hadn't really thought about it too thoroughly. You're right. :).

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Jul 20, 2014
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Also, while the diploma from an online program offered by a reputable brick-&-mortar university might be identical, the transcript (which is what the admissions committee will receive) will be far more detailed and might make it very clear that certain courses - or the entire degree - were earned online. Something to investigate thoroughly before putting any money down.
 
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