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Rejection Crisis

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by emc17, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. emc17

    emc17 emc
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    Hey all, I applied to clinical ph.d. programs straight out of undergrad this year. I have a 1240 GRE (620 V, 620 Q), 3.86 GPA, 4.0 Psychology GPA. I have worked as a research assistant for a professor doing work with mapping skills in children (poster at SRCD biennial meeting), and I am currently working as a research assistant at a pretty well-respected child development lab. I only applied to 5 schools since I was pretty sure my chances straight out of undergrad wouldn't be great, and I was right! I got 2 interviews and both pretty much said they were very impressed with me, but that I was young and inexperienced. I am currently working part-time at the above mentioned lab, and I am attempting to find some type of part-time clinically related job (which is very difficult, I must say). When I was first rejected, I was gung-ho about reapplying next year (to a lot more schools, retaking the GRE etc.) I guess I am now having a crisis of sorts in that I'm questioning what I should do with the rest of my life. There is a pretty good MA counseling program right around the block from me (which is VERY cheap I might add). I guess I'm just unsure what to do. My advisor told me that since I got interviews straight out of undergrad, that means that schools thought I was competitive enough - so that's a good sign for next year. I'm just worried about waiting to apply and then getting rejected again! Plus, going into a Ph.D. program would take about 5-6 years of my life, and I would probably be even more in debt by the time I got out. I guess I'm just wondering what the salary differences between say a MA and a PhD would be, and if you could offer me any other advice. Sorry I'm rambling but just another thought - I am interested in research but don't know if I would want to make a life career of it, but I am also interested in practice and teaching. I'm one confused individual.
     
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  3. RayneeDeigh

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    Don't worry, you sound like the rest of us. lol. I think you're just questioning whether rejection is worth all of the "glory" of a PhD. And well... we can't really answer that for you, but maybe if you think back to why you wanted to apply in the first place, you'll figure out what you're more motivated to do. Your advisor's right, if they gave you interviews that means you were competitive! With more experience, perhaps a publication, you'll be well on your way.

    It gets better, I promise. I spent most of February in bed with the covers over my head but now I'm excited to find more schools to apply to and start networking. If a PhD is what you want, I think you have a fair shot at it!
     
  4. emc17

    emc17 emc
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    Thanks, makes me feel like less of a loser haha. I posted this in another thread but I could also use some advice on research interests. sooo --
    I have done independent research on the body image and eating habits of athletes which I LOVED. Both of my research assistant jobs, however, deal mostly with children. The first was development of spatial mapping abilities in 3-4 yr olds, and in the lab I work at now, I help with research on the relationship between response to frustration and physiological/behavioral/mental health of children variously aged. So, I'm discovering that I'm also interested in developmental disorders and other childhood disorders in addition to my interest in body image, eating disorders and sports. Go figure, I'm all over the place! On a side note, since I have a lot more experience with the kid stuff, should I go with that when applying to programs? This year I focused on the body image stuff and just felt like I had a lot less experience in that dept. Thoughts?
     
  5. RayneeDeigh

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    Hmm well I think that since you have experience with both, you should go with whichever one you enjoy more. As long as you have some experience in the chosen area, I think you're fine.
     
  6. spyspy

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    I'm probably going to reapply in "2 years", rather than this fall, because I don't think I can do enough between now and this fall to become significantly more competitive. The professors I spoke to at the schools I applied to agreed that 2 years would be better. (I, too, did get interviews...so we rock.)

    At least you didn't spend over $2k on applications like I did. ;)
     
  7. perfektspace

    perfektspace Member
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    Maybe you should give it some time to breath before making any decisions.

    I think you didn't get in because you only applied to 5 schools. Because the process is a crapshoot in many ways you need to apply to a dozen schools or so and not hamstring yourself geographically. Your stats and experience are on par with successful applicants. You didn't get all that RA experience and work hard to maintain a high GPA to settle for an MA. Personally, I wouldn't retake the GRE with your scores. Spend that time making your personal statement better, have additional pre-application contact with prof's to assess your chances and fit, and spend a lot of time researching schools that match well.

    The stats you listed are better than mine and I got into a couple competitive programs this year. Based on my experience reapplying this year the whole process makes little sense.
     
  8. Ollie123

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    Your stats are basically equal to mine, I applied 13 places this year and got accepted to 1 program and wait-listed at 2 others. Only real difference is that even though our GRE totals are about the same, mine was a bit heavier on the quant side.

    I say don't give up, take some time off and reapply. VERY few people are accepted right out of undergrad these days. Keep working in labs, get more posters/publications, and maybe retake the GREs (1240 isn't bad, but when I asked professors who didn't accept me why, this was one of the things that came up most often). Even if you can pull it up to 1300 that might make a difference

    Also, an fyi - you mentioned being in debt from 6 years of grad school but if you are going for a PhD, your debt will generally be pretty minimal. I'm not expecting to have much, if any debt after graduation. The vast majority of PhD programs will both fund you and provide a stipend. You won't be living in luxury but its generally doable.
     
  9. emc17

    emc17 emc
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    Thank you so much for the helpful posts...I was starting to lose hope.
    I definetely plan on retaking the GRE, I'm usually not as good on standardized tests as I am in a classroom setting. Also, Math was NEVER my strong point - I'm good at stats and stuff that is meaningful to psychology, but geometry - give me a break! I'm going to get some test-prep books and study my buns off, hopefully retake them sometime this summer. I also plan on applying to hopefully around 15 schools this time around. Although I'm trying not to limit myself as much by geography this time around, I'm still not too keen on going too far away (I'm very close to my family...its not that I'm scared, I lived in Ireland for 6 months, but I'd rather stay close). I'm also going to contact professors before the process this time around. I'm trying desperetely to get some clinical experience, I've been contacting crisis hotlines, battered womens shelters, programs for people with developmental disabilities, hospitals - anything I can find, so I'm hoping one or more of those will come through. I'm just dreading spending the measly salary I have now on all those apps :laugh: . Well thanks again for all of the advice, and keep it coming!
     
  10. perfektspace

    perfektspace Member
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    The clinical exp. is certainly a plus but if you already have or can find a research oriented RA position that has some clinical opportunities (e.g., structured interviewing) you can get the best of both worlds. Most programs don't expect applicants to have much if any clinical exp. given how hard it is to come by as an undergrad. I ended up with some excellent and unexpected clinical opportunities running lab visits as an RA. I have a feeling that one of them played a role in getting accepted to one of my schools.
     
  11. spyspy

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    Something else to keep in mind is what professors you're applying to. I was told I would have likely been accepted had my specific interests been different, but for the research I want to do, it makes everything very competitive. Just somethnig else to consider.
     

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