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visiting programs/narrowing focus

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by cheltsie02, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. cheltsie02

    cheltsie02 New Member

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    I have been perusing the threads on applying to programs, but I haven't seen these issues addressed. First, what do you all think of visiting the programs you to which you intend to apply? Is it important? When should it be done? Is it necessary/helpful/unnecessary to meet with the professor(s) you hope to work with? Second, I'm having difficulty narrowing my research focus and was hoping for advice (see below for more details). I feel like I have a very broad interest and then there are several specific areas that I could pursue. Will it hurt my application to be so flexible in my areas of interest? Similarly, I don't have a specific plan for post-graduate careers. I probably don't want to be a professor or only do research. There are various areas of forensic psychology in which one could practice; I know a D.O. forensic psychiatrist who practices in several areas and I would like to do that (for example, forensic consultations, treatment, research, program director, etc.).

    I'm applying to Clinical PhD/JD programs, maybe Clinical PhD/MLS programs, and just plain Clinical PhD programs. I'm still researching profs and schools, so if you know of any feel free to shout them out! My broad focus is forensic psychology and/or the psychology and law. I'm having difficulty narrowing my focus because there is so much in the field that I would LOVE to work on.

    I'm starting research soon with Dr. Weisman (the D.O. I mentioned above) at Project Link, a collaborative program linking the service providers (health, mental health, and criminal justice) for persons with mental illnesses who are involved in the CJ system. My research focus will be on the treatment of clients with Antisocial Personality Disorder and how it differs from the treatment on non-APD clients. I also work at a group home for young adults (mostly) with mental illnesses (several of whom are involved in the CJ system).

    If you got this far, sorry for the long post!! I have a million more questions to ask, but I'll try to be more concise in the future. Thanks in advance for any help!
     
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  3. PublicHealth

    PublicHealth Membership Revoked
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  4. cheltsie02

    cheltsie02 New Member

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    Good question. I knew I didn't want to pursue an MD, but I haven't looked into any DO programs. Thanks for stating the obvious (that I obviously overlooked!)!

    (OK, looked into it. I don't have any of the science requirements. I have a few friends who are starting masters programs to prepare for med school this year, but at this point I'd prefer to go the PhD route.)

    The Drexel/Villanova programs is my top choice currently. Thanks!
     
  5. joetro

    joetro Senior Member
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    I wouldn't visit places to which you intend to apply, unless they don't interview. That's kind of presumptuous, and you can visit when you get an interview!
     
  6. Salsybabe

    Salsybabe Junior Member
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    I can't afford to visit places before I apply and if I get any interviews, I will get a chance to visit then. I suppose visiting beforehand can help you narrow down programs, but I'll take my chances and wait to see if I get any interviews.
     
  7. clearcolor

    clearcolor Junior Member
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    Don't be too flexible in each application. Establish a fit between a couple professors. That fit should be very clear. You are ultimately going to work with one professor and that professor will not take you if he/she thinks you will fit better with anyone else.

    If you are applying for a clinical PhD, don't reveal that you aren't focused on research. You are applying to work with someone who does research for a living and to get a degree based on research. Think about who will be reading your personal statement and admitting you. You dont have to say you have a passion to be a professor, but at least express a strong desire to work in a research setting or something like that. There are so many people applying that only the students who fit perfectly will get accepted.

    Just my two cents. I am starting a clincial PhD program this fall.
     
  8. UhOh

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    I want to re-awaken this thread. I'm visiting schools that I'm applying to (before they invite me for an interview) and could really use some advice. I have some specific questions, but want to see if anyone is still paying attention to this thread first...
     
  9. krisrox

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    Like someone said above: why would you visit? An email or phonecall can give you almost the same info. Unless your biggest concern is the building/campus, visiting before an interview seems like a waste of money to me.
     
  10. FuturePhD2

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    I think the biggest thing would be the presumptuousness. Every year, a few applicants end up emailing a big chunk of the grad students in my program with long lists of questions about the program. This usually serves to annoy more than get your name on somebody's radar as a good candidate.

    If the program looks good enough to apply to, then you should wait until you get an interview. Then you can visit the program, see the city, and ask more of the detailed questions to help you compare it with other programs you interview with. But until there is mutual interest (i.e., the program expresses interest in you by offering an interview) visiting a site ahead of time is likely not going to be looked on favorably.
     
  11. BiopsychStudent

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    A lot of programs specifically state on in their brochures that they do NOT give tours or information sessions.
     

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