Tyness

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This is my second round of applying for grad school. I was accepted into a school that I decided not to go to for many reasons.

This year I am volunteering as a research assistant (although in an area of research I am not really interested in), re-taking the gre, and doing some more volunteer work. I hope all of this will help me get into one of the schools I want to go to.

The first year I applied, I really did not know the "what to do's and the what not to do's" I did not try to match up my interestes with the professors, for example, did not personalize my general personal statement to those prodessors, ect.

I have heard many things about how to get into grad school and I wanted some advice. I heard that it is a good idea to get in contact with the professor you may be intersted in working with. Is this true? What would you say in this contact? I have no clue

Secondly, about the personal statement, should you put who specifically you are intersted in working with? The questions are all pretty much the same, so how do you have individualized statements for the schools in this case?

Lastly, any vital tips that will improve my chances? Thanks
 

PsyGirl262

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I struggled with those same questions, but ultimately you just have to remember that the people reading your applications aren't going to dig for clues and make a whole bunch of logical leaps, you really do have to be blunt. I really don't think it's possible to overstate your case when it comes to fit between you and that particular program as once you get beyond the quantative factors (GPA, GRE), fit is what determines who gets an interview. You have to come right out and say, "I find the Clinical Psych program at University A to be a great fit for me, and I would love the opportunity to expand upon the research I've done studying X work by with Dr. Y in that field."

This is why it's also a good idea to e-mail a potential POI before you write your personal statement as you want to make sure that they're still there, still at least considering accepting students, and still actively studying that same topic.
 
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CatoftheCanals

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I have heard many things about how to get into grad school and I wanted some advice. I heard that it is a good idea to get in contact with the professor you may be intersted in working with. Is this true? What would you say in this contact? I have no clue

Secondly, about the personal statement, should you put who specifically you are intersted in working with? The questions are all pretty much the same, so how do you have individualized statements for the schools in this case?

Lastly, any vital tips that will improve my chances? Thanks
As for contacting professors, it's a good idea even if it's just find out if they're accepting a student. If they don't have a website or anything that might mention that, it's better to know so that you don't potentially waste application money applying to a professor who isn't accepting anyone that year.

When I emailed professors I included information regarding my research interests, where I was currently RAing and general info on what I was doing there, explained why I was interested in them and their research, and asked whether they were taking a student and about funding opportunities. Some respond (and those vary from detailed to one word to a form email) and some don't. Does it necessarily help you get in? I don't know.

As for the personal statement, I listed who I was interested in working with for each school (and sometimes it was more than one, I just ordered it by preference). I used the same general personal statement for each school with some small phrasings changed for each to ensure it was specific to each school (referring to particular programs within the school, profs, etc). I didn't have to severely alter each statement since I had a very focused research interest and was only applying to schools where I could study that.
 

psyed4clinPhD

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Feb 4, 2009
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This is my second round of applying for grad school. I was accepted into a school that I decided not to go to for many reasons.

This year I am volunteering as a research assistant (although in an area of research I am not really interested in), re-taking the gre, and doing some more volunteer work. I hope all of this will help me get into one of the schools I want to go to.

The first year I applied, I really did not know the "what to do's and the what not to do's" I did not try to match up my interestes with the professors, for example, did not personalize my general personal statement to those prodessors, ect.

I have heard many things about how to get into grad school and I wanted some advice. I heard that it is a good idea to get in contact with the professor you may be intersted in working with. Is this true? What would you say in this contact? I have no clue

Secondly, about the personal statement, should you put who specifically you are intersted in working with? The questions are all pretty much the same, so how do you have individualized statements for the schools in this case?

Lastly, any vital tips that will improve my chances? Thanks
Hi!

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to try and improve your chances. I am right there with you studying for the GREs :thumbdown: I second writing to professors to see who is accepting a student. I have e-mailed some already and some aren't working in the area that I am interested in as they are spending their time with other populations. Thus, it was really helpful to have this information and I was able to eliminate them from my prospective schools. I also e-mailed some that I didn't feel as strong of an interest in, but they ended up being more in line with my interests than I thought!!!

Good luck :D
 

cara susanna

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Emailing profs didn't work for me. Just a warning. ;)
 

socialcog

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I think emailing professors is critical, not only because it plants the seed of your existence, but it will help bring your own goals and research interests into greater clarity. I can't underscore enough the importance of having a decent sense of the science you wish to pursue going into the application process, particularly since you will likely be surrounded by it throughout your graduate experience and career.

I recommend that you begin reading papers in the area of research you want to pursue and email those professors. Let them know your thoughts about the papers you've read, why you've found them compelling, in what direction does the research go from there? Could they recommend to you any other papers that are similar...etc. From there, express to them your research goals and how they match up with their domains of research. Ask them if they plan on taking any students in the next round.

I have found professors to be very kind and responsive when you express a genuine interest in their pursuits. Many of the professors responded within a week (during the school year).

Lastly, I had several professors email back asking what my GRE scores were--which I had no problem sharing. Those that found my scores adequate encouraged me to apply, those that didn't I never heard from again. :laugh: Seriously, I appreciated this because I believe it saved me the cost of applying in the end.

I viewed this 'reaching out' process as a first step in a possible future relationship of mutuality. We not only benefit from our mentors, they will benefit from us as well. This mindset, of course, mitigated any anxiety I had before making contact.


Good luck.
 
Jul 20, 2009
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I'm a 30-year-old female; I have a MSW and have been on the field for three years now. I work with Severely Mentally Ill adult outpatient population, I love what I do but I am eager to learn more about people's behavior, personality, testing etc... which is why I'm applying for the PsyD program. My main concerns are:
Money; Is the PsyD program going to cost me about $200 (tuition and cost of living, since I'm applying out of state)?
GRE; I have not started studying yet, how long will it take for me to get 1000 and up score ( English is my second language)
MSW vs PsyD; I know there is no comparison when it comes between knowledge you get through MSW vs PsyD, but is the time, money worth it, personal plans (marriage and kids put on hold)?
Thank-you in advance
:)
 
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T

Tyness

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Feb 24, 2009
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I wanted to add that I am applying for a few balanced ph.d's but also some psyd programs. Considering that the psyd's are much less researched focus, does this change how you speak in your personal statement or contact with professors? By this I mean, contacting a professor to talk about research interests, when this is not your main goal or the programs goal. Does that make sense?
 

PsyGirl262

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Yes, it does make a difference, but for the purposes of your e-mail, not a big one. Some programs that have more of a clinical focus will not follow the traditional mentor model of PhD programs, instead you pick your mentor at some point during the first year. You still want to ensure that there are at least 1-3 professors whose research interests match yours and make that case during your personal statement. They won't be "taking a student" directly from the application/interview process, as is usually the case with research focused PhD programs, but they still like to accept students whose general interests match with at least one professor's interests. So, in that case, you will want to ask about their research labs and show interest, but they may not have an answer if you ask if they're "taking a student," as that decision comes much later. Asking about the mentor model itself could be a good question for a PsyD professor, just as long as they information isn't easily accessible on the website or in application materials.

For a professional program like Argosy, research interests really don't come into play much at all, you might just want to ask about practica or other clinical issues.
 
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Tyness

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Feb 24, 2009
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Psychology Student
Yes, it does make a difference, but for the purposes of your e-mail, not a big one. Some programs that have more of a clinical focus will not follow the traditional mentor model of PhD programs, instead you pick your mentor at some point during the first year. You still want to ensure that there are at least 1-3 professors whose research interests match yours and make that case during your personal statement. They won't be "taking a student" directly from the application/interview process, as is usually the case with research focused PhD programs, but they still like to accept students whose general interests match with at least one professor's interests. So, in that case, you will want to ask about their research labs and show interest, but they may not have an answer if you ask if they're "taking a student," as that decision comes much later. Asking about the mentor model itself could be a good question for a PsyD professor, just as long as they information isn't easily accessible on the website or in application materials.

For a professional program like Argosy, research interests really don't come into play much at all, you might just want to ask about practica or other clinical issues.
I really appreciate your help. This is very informative to me. I am not applying to any programs like Argosy, I made that mistake last time around and was accepted into a similar program. I had the hard decision of turning it down after finding out some important information.
 

cara susanna

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Yeah, I asked if people were taking students.
 

krisrox

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This is probably going to be the dumbest question in the world.

How do you phrase an e-mail to a POI asking if they're taking students?

Dear Dr. So-and-so,

I am interested in applying to such-and-such university's clinical psychology phd program. We have similar research interests in blah, blah and blah. I was wondering, are you accepting students for Fall 2010?

Sincerely, Krisrox.

That, but a bit more professional? Is that all we need to touch on? Short and sweet?
 

cara susanna

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Short and sweet is just great. From my experience, most of them will probably not even remember you wrote them, sadly.
 

okayroots06

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Apr 13, 2009
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This is probably going to be the dumbest question in the world.

How do you phrase an e-mail to a POI asking if they're taking students?

Dear Dr. So-and-so,

I am interested in applying to such-and-such university's clinical psychology phd program. We have similar research interests in blah, blah and blah. I was wondering, are you accepting students for Fall 2010?

Sincerely, Krisrox.

That, but a bit more professional? Is that all we need to touch on? Short and sweet?

yep just like that. mention who you work for as well.
 

Wildcat06

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Yeah. A one sentence summary of what you're currently doing/studying gives them an idea of your experience and that you are a serious applicant.
 

krisrox

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Short and sweet is just great. From my experience, most of them will probably not even remember you wrote them, sadly.
Thanks for the advice, everyone. And cara, I'm hoping they won't remember me because I'm bound to make a fool out of myself even through a 3-sentence e-mail...
 

cara susanna

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They get SO many, the only way you'd stand out for foolishness would be if you misspelled everything or got their research wrong. Or so I'm willing to bet. :D
 

cardamom

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For what it's worth, my experiences with those emails were different. I wrote slightly longer emails than that to my POIs, mentioning briefly not just the research projects I'd done/worked on, but whom I'd worked with, since they were names my POIs would be interested in and in many cases knew. In all of my emails I included a copy of my CV and in some the pdf handout for a poster I had recently presented that was highly relevant to their research. Mostly I received what felt like fairly standard emails back regarding mentoring availability, but in a several cases, I received emails back that expressed interest in what I'd done and went into detail about their work, and for me, the extent to which that happened did indeed predict mutual interest levels later on. Also, in one case, a professor who didn't end up taking a student told me he was now planning to cite my poster in a paper he was currently writing, so great networking experience regardless. So I'd make the most of the opportunity, and if you have something distinctive about yourself to say, say it. Don't write an essay or anything, but you can sell yourself a little.
 

cara susanna

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Yeah, it really depends on your experience, with whom you worked, etc. Your mileage will definitely vary.
 

deadmau5

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For what it's worth, my experiences with those emails were different. I wrote slightly longer emails than that to my POIs, mentioning briefly not just the research projects I'd done/worked on, but whom I'd worked with, since they were names my POIs would be interested in and in many cases knew. In all of my emails I included a copy of my CV and in some the pdf handout for a poster I had recently presented that was highly relevant to their research. Mostly I received what felt like fairly standard emails back regarding mentoring availability, but in a several cases, I received emails back that expressed interest in what I'd done and went into detail about their work, and for me, the extent to which that happened did indeed predict mutual interest levels later on. Also, in one case, a professor who didn't end up taking a student told me he was now planning to cite my poster in a paper he was currently writing, so great networking experience regardless. So I'd make the most of the opportunity, and if you have something distinctive about yourself to say, say it. Don't write an essay or anything, but you can sell yourself a little.
wow! this is great. I was debating whether to throw my CV on there right away... seems like it could be worthwhile. I mean it couldn't hurt right?
 

krisrox

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wow! this is great. I was debating whether to throw my CV on there right away... seems like it could be worthwhile. I mean it couldn't hurt right?
That's what I figure, too. If they don't wanna look at it, they won't.