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Read this if you are consulting "The Insider's Guide..."

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by BamaPsych, May 6, 2008.

  1. BamaPsych

    BamaPsych 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    First, let me start off by saying I did a search on this topic and there was a very relevant thread posted already, but the thread is over 1 year old so I thought it might be appropriate to create a new one for the upcoming round of hopeful applicants.

    If you are using the insider's guide 1-7 scale (of practice vs. research) to make your application decisions, you need to take further steps.

    For the past few months I have used the book as a very influential guide to get a tentative list of schools I'd be interested in. For example, I have a strong interest in research, but have a desire to become a clinician, so I have considered the schools in the book with a 3-5 rating (which means equal emphasis). However, I have recently discovered that these ratings can be very wrong when compared to the program's website. I have seen extreme cases like Florida State (which is ranked a 6 or 7 by the book - heavily research) who's website openly invites applicants with career goals in practice and/or research. Other schools with a 3 or 4 rating boldly say on their website: "if you are interested in a career of practice, we are not the program for you".

    Long story short: The Insider's Guide... can be very useful. But investigating each program individually will tell you what you really need to know. Don't limit your school choices based on The Insider's Guide!!!
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  3. JockNerd

    JockNerd 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Yeah, definitely check out the program web sites... Insider's Guide was off about some funding levels when I used it (e.g. at one school on my list full tuition remission for all students was reported, but really it was only half waivers). The guide is based on program director responses to a questionnaire, so they can be wrong about stuff.
  4. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    I'll third that, though also say don't necessarily trust websites either. Some "claim" to be okay with either path, but interviews might give you a different take. It also varies by faculty member within programs as well - especially among the "middle range" schools. So even if a school is a "4", your goals might still be a problem if that isn't what the advisor wants.

    I feel like there really ought to be a better system in place to figure all of that out - it can be so hard to tell before an actual interview.
  5. psychanon

    psychanon 7+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    This is absolutely true. The rankings in the Insider's Guide are simply rankings done by the DCTs of each school. It is not a reliable, validated measure. Moreover, it may represent how the DCTs want to represent the school, rather than the strengths and weaknesses of the actual training. Also, there are plenty of research-oriented schools where you can get fine clinical training. My school is probably ranked a 6 or a 7 because we have intensive research training and lots of people go onto faculty jobs, and people who hate research would be miserable here. However, plenty of people go the clinical route after graduation, and the faculty is very supportive of these people, so I think my school would be a fine choice for someone who likes research but leans more toward clinical work.
  6. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student! 5+ Year Member

    i also agree. my school is listed as a 5, and while training researchers is an important goal of the program and there are TONS of research opportunities, we're also doing assessments in the clinic our first year, and go on externships 16-20 hours a week the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year as well as work in the clinic, which is lots of clinical training, as much as many programs listed as a 2 or 3.
  7. ananasaroma

    ananasaroma 5+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Another thing to consider is that the focus on research also varies greatly by lab. Some of the schools I applied to were overall deemed "equal focus" schools but the POI(s) I wanted to work with were much more research oriented.

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