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PsyD/PhD in NYC

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by j.k.wong, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. j.k.wong


    Aug 21, 2017
    Hello everyone,

    I would like to begin by thanking everyone for spending their precious time on reading this thread and trying to help me with my current predicament. Let me start off by telling you all about my current situation. I have graduated with a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Brooklyn College CUNY back in 2015. I graduated with a 3.98 GPA for my Masters and a 3.65 GPA for my Bachelor. As much as I would like to continue pursuing a career in mental health counseling, I realized there are many restrictions that prevents me from being able to continue to grow as a clinician. As a result, I decided to apply for a doctoral degree to hopefully further my skills as a healthcare provider.

    I made the mistake of applying only to one school during the previous year. I applied for Pace's PsyD program in School-Clinical Child Psychology program. I took the GRE for the first time and scored 152 in verbal (56th percentile), 151 in quantitative (43rd percentile), and a 4 in analytic writing (60th percentile). I have had a few years of volunteer/internship work in clinical settings and have had a little experience in the field of case management. Although I have felt like I have worked really hard for the past 6-7 years, the rejection made me feel as if all my hard work was meaningless. I tried to contact the school to figure out what the reasons were for their decision to reject me as an applicant, so that I can hopefully improve myself as a better candidate the following year. However, the admissions staff simply recommended taking the psychology subject GRE, which I was unable to do so due to the lack of time. Since they are unable to give me any other information as to what I can do to improve my application, my first question would be if you guys have any advice as to what I can do to better myself as a applicant for Pace's Psy.D Program. I will be taking my psychology subject GRE in September, and even though the website says that this exam is "optional", from your experience do you believe this exam is truly "optional"?

    My second struggle is finding other Psy.D or Ph.D programs to apply to within the NYC area. The reason Pace was my first choice is because it is a combined program, which offers a wider variety of occupational options, and that it is easily accessible (30-45 minute ride away). I know that almost all Doctorate programs are a 5-7 year commitment, and due to it's costly nature, living at home seems like the best financial choice. Therefore I was wondering if there's any Psy.D or Ph.D programs for clinical psychology or related fields, that are located in Brooklyn or Manhattan...I apologize for my ineptness...ever since being rejected from Pace, all my dreams and hopes for my future and my family has been inhibited. It was my fault for placing all my eggs in one basket and I am trying very hard to not do the same this time around...

    Thank you so much, sincerely, for listening (reading) this long rant about my insecurities and my disastrous attempt at picking myself back up. I look forward to reading your advice on how to continue to grow and what schools I should apply to for the year of 2018. Have a pleasant evening and best of luck on all of your future endeavors.

    P.S. For the students who have been accepted to Pace's Psy.D program in School-Clinical psychology, do you mind sharing your scores or application process that you believe would help improve my chances of being accepted? Please feel free to PM me if you do not feel comfortable sharing those information publicly. I cannot thank you all enough for your help. I look forward to speaking with you all!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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  3. Temperance

    Temperance 2+ Year Member

    May 27, 2015
    There are several clinical psychology programs in the New York City area:

    Fordham University
    Long Island University
    New York University
    St. John's University
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    The Graduate Center, City University of New York
    The New School
    Yeshiva University

    You can search for APA-accredited programs here.

    Doctoral programs do not necessarily have to be expensive. Most of the programs I have listed above provide funding for their graduate students, which can include a tuition waiver and stipend for living expenses. If the only reason for looking in New York was financial, then consider looking for funded programs outside of the city or even the state. Restricting yourself geographically limits your chances of being admitted into a program.

    You mentioned having restrictions on your career. What are these restrictions? What would you like to do that you cannot do with your current license?
  4. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    I just looked up the Pace PsyD program's stats and found them very disheartening. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise. I would never advise someone to invest $37K per year in tuition on a program that only matches about half its graduates to APA-approved internships.

    Are you currently working as a licensed counselor? If no, why not? If you are working, what problem(s) would a doctoral degree would resolve for you?
  5. j.k.wong


    Aug 21, 2017
    One of the issues I'm facing currently is being able to find occupation to accumulate hours towards my licensing requirements. The only jobs that I am able to find as a mental health counselor are case management based jobs. Although it is rewarding in it's own sense, I found myself unable to practice the skills I have learned as a mental health clinician simply because providing therapy was not the focus, rather it was helping file for food stamps, housing, and others. I strongly believe that almost all clients can benefit from some sort of case management before effective therapeutic treatment can be successfully implemented, but to do only case management every day is incredibly taxing and desensitizing. The motto of my old workplace was that if a kid is too much trouble and that kid is almost 18 years old, we just have to wait until then to get rid of him/her. That kind of behavior was all too numbing, for the reason I want to become a therapist is to be able to change people's lives at a fundamental and meaningful level.

    Many other jobs, such as working at clinics or hospitals, they prefer to hire social workers due to it's well-known reputation and the fact that they are billable. The politics of NYC prevents mental health counselors from being billable without their license, which means in order for a mhc to practice, they would need to be under someone else's license. As a result, most places do not want the headache of such a complicated procedure. During my internship, I was able to see patients individually, in groups, and have family sessions as well. I simply want to be able to do that again, but even my internship site would not hire mental health counselors. Hence, these restrictions are so disheartening that I feel like pursuing a higher advanced degree would be improve my quality of life in the long run.

    Thank you guys for your advice and for taking the time to read my long posts!
  6. rerope

    rerope 5+ Year Member

    The list temperance have is great but 1 little change: nyu is just counseling and not clinical. Though this will only matter if you're set on just applying to clinical or combined clinical programs

  7. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    It sounds like you were not well prepared to address the challenges of the licensing process and the realistic job outlook in NYC. Don't make the same mistake twice. I suggest you get a realistic sense of the landscape for PsyDs from mediocre programs such as Pace. It appears that their students are often unable to match to APA-accredited internships. That alone can make it very tough to get hired in a competitive market with no shortage of well qualified applicants. So, again, maybe you actually dodged a bullet there.

    My suggestion. Find 10 professionals who have the kind of job you would like. Look up their licenses, credentials, and where they went to school. If you are acquainted with any of them, buy them coffee or lunch and ask how they got into their fields. Ask them what to do, but also what not to do.

    I can't state this enough: all doctoral degrees are not created equal. Make sure that any program you apply to has a great track record of producing graduates who go on to have good jobs.
    PsychPhDStudent likes this.
  8. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2015
    It's a real bummer to not get accepted into a school you were wanting to attend, for sure, so I feel for you. Also, it isn't just New York having the problem of accruing hours to get licensed, from what I sounds like big metro areas in general (like Chicago, which some folks have mentioned in here) are also over-saturated with master's level practitioners with no decent job prospects in counseling to finish licensure hours, which is very frustrating for those who went into programs to be able to practice and make a decent living. I'm not sure why clinical social workers would be favored for local clinical positions when counselors have more clinical foundation/training, but it seems political in nature and unfair, for sure.

    Using the options of the other schools in the area that @Temperance posted, I'd continue to apply (and take the psychology GRE) to several schools this round, and make sure you have a very compelling reason to share with these institutions regarding why you want the extra training (other than job prospects! Teach at universities, offer assessments, work closely with children in hospitals, supervise/administrate in a certain setting, do dissertation research on X population, etc.)...have a niche/plan in mind that would require a doctorate, and if applying to programs with research requirements, start examining literature/research on topics of interest and settle on some possible areas or look into programs' faculty research areas and see if they're a good fit. I think that would be a good start.

    Depending on the type of program (scientist-practitioner programs will be interested in research experience/potential), you may want to beef up your CV by volunteering to help with psychology-related research at a nearby institution or your alma mater. Research-heavy programs will generally want you to have some research experience under your belt. Practitioner-scholar programs, not so much. For all programs, make sure you have a sense of tuition costs, sources/level of funding for graduate students (assistantships), and match rates, so that you know what to expect.

    Best of luck!
  9. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2005
    Your experience should tell you something about how competitive the NYC market is.

    If you search the forum, you'll notice that there are people with perfect GPAs, super high GREs, tons of lab experience, etc who are willing to do whatever it takes to get into a good program. That's your competition. There are many people without geographic restrictions who want those spots.
  10. Sanman

    Sanman O.G. 10+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2000
    Something to consider, if you choose to stay in the NYC area, you will experience similar hurdls during externship rotation matches every year, internship match, and post-dox. Consider a move to a less popular area to get licensed as a counselor or complete a grad program. Upstate NY is hurting for clinicians and will get you the same license.

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