May 30, 2009
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Greetings,

This is a very strange question, but I was wondering how often do you think people will mention about wanting to work with their former PI in their graduate school application?

The professor that I am doing research for is amazing. I am very interested in doing work with her for graduate school, but I do not know if it is inappropriate for me to do so. I am going to graduate from a pretty high reputable school and their Ph.D Clinical Psychology program was ranked top 10 in the nation according to US News and Report 2008.

Do you think it would be weird if I ask my PI rather or not I can do it?

Also, i was wondering about when you state on your personal statement about doing work with a professor that you're interested in, will the professor take part of doing the admission process (besides the interview part)?
 

KillerDiller

10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2007
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Some schools (maybe even most schools?) frown on taking their own undergraduates into their grad programs. It is viewed as a sort of academic incest, and it is preferred that graduates go on to get new perspectives from different universities. That being said, there's not really any harm in asking. Also try looking into the programs of your PI's colleagues.

Know too, though, that the majority of those who get into clinical PhD programs do not get in straight from undergrad. Especially at the top research-oriented programs you are expected to come in with tons of experience under your belt.
 

cara susanna

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Feb 10, 2008
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The program I'll be attending admits applicants who did their undergrad there, but a lot of times it is frowned upon so it really depends.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
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Nov 19, 2007
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Greetings,

This is a very strange question, but I was wondering how often do you think people will mention about wanting to work with their former PI in their graduate school application?

The professor that I am doing research for is amazing. I am very interested in doing work with her for graduate school, but I do not know if it is inappropriate for me to do so. I am going to graduate from a pretty high reputable school and their Ph.D Clinical Psychology program was ranked top 10 in the nation according to US News and Report 2008.

Do you think it would be weird if I ask my PI rather or not I can do it?

Also, i was wondering about when you state on your personal statement about doing work with a professor that you're interested in, will the professor take part of doing the admission process (besides the interview part)?

Throw your application in, but be prepared to defend your position if you get an interview. It has to be because this is the best fit and the best for your career. As others have said, this is normally frowned upon. If, however, you can make the case that the strength of the collaboration is such that it should be continued despite the potential harm of not be exposed to a wider influence of the field, you might pull it off. Given the prestige of the program and the fact that you have a good working relationship with your mentor, you should consider approaching them prior to submitting your application to see if they will support your candidacy in the program. Your potential PI needs to think that you're amazing as well.

Another question, is do you have the background required to gain admission to your program. For instance, I am sure that University of Kansas (#16) graduates plenty of psychology majors each year, but the graduate students that the program attracts are of an extremely high caliber, far higher than what is required to graduate successfully. So keep that in mind, these programs are brutally competitive, I am sure that you know that! So with that said, if you have all the components (GRE, GPA, Research, etc.) go for it... If you don't have the high GRE/GPA and requisite research experience applying won't help. It sounds like you are active in the lab, but that's a small portion of the package.

Mark
 
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psyed4clinPhD

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Feb 4, 2009
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I agree with Mark about bringing it up with your mentor first. Some schools do accept their own students occasionally, if it is the best match, so it seems like it is worth a shot. Good luck!
 
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WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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Feb 15, 2009
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I'm actually a grad student for the PI that I worked with for 2 years in undergrad. While it is frowned upon by some schools, ultimately it comes down to fit, and this was the right fit for me. And with 3 years down, it's worked so far.
 

psychanxiety

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Jan 7, 2009
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I know a handful of students who did it. Most of them took time off and either worked at a different university, got a master's from a different university, or both before returning to their undergrad school for a phd. This way you still get some more varied experiences and perspectives.
 

Psykd4Life

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Mar 10, 2009
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Psychology Student
I actually will be attending graduate school at my undergraduate institution. I am working with the same professor I have been working with for over a year as an RA. I was discouraged by most to apply at my school, however, I am very interested in the research I will be involved in, and felt that I was not able to gain enough experience in the area as a research assistant. Also, I had prior experience in two different areas of research. I will tell you that I was asked my every faculty member (including my mentor) why I wanted to stay. It really comes down to what you feel is best for YOU. I simply felt that I had a lot more to contribute to my lab, and I could not pass up an opportunity to attend graduate school at a top-ranked program. If you need advice or have any questions, PM me :). Good luck applying!
 

PsyGirl262

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Jan 12, 2009
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Where I did my undergrad, it was not discouraged at all, and some professors actually encouraged applying in-house, so you really need to just ask people directly in your institution and even in your research lab if possible. I personally opted against that because I wanted to branch out a little more. Ultimately, though, the only thing you lose in applying is some money, so I think that it's really your decision to make.