Jan 23, 2019
5
0
1
Undergrad GPA: 3.06
- Last two years: 3.50
GRE Q: 144; V: 149; W: 4.5
Graduate GPA: 4.00
Research: Currently working on five manuscripts and presenting four different times so far.

I am definitely planning on retaking the GRE (I had not prepared the first time) and taking the GRE subject test since I am not getting my MA in Psychology.

I am really trying to get in somewhere near my boyfriend, who is going to medical school. The schools I am currently looking into are:
- University of Illinois-Chicago
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Rosalind Franklin University
- Northwestern University
- The University of Chicago

I know that these schools are fairly competitive, but some did not have any minimums and besides the GRE, my GPA was fine (especially since they were more concerned with the last two years).

What do you think my best chances are? What can I do (besides retaking the GRE) to better my chances? Thanks in advance!
 

psych.meout

2+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2015
1,556
897
81
Status
Pre-Psychology
Undergrad GPA: 3.06
- Last two years: 3.50
GRE Q: 144; V: 149; W: 4.5
Graduate GPA: 4.00
Research: Currently working on five manuscripts and presenting four different times so far.

I am definitely planning on retaking the GRE (I had not prepared the first time) and taking the GRE subject test since I am not getting my MA in Psychology.

I am really trying to get in somewhere near my boyfriend, who is going to medical school. The schools I am currently looking into are:
- University of Illinois-Chicago
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Rosalind Franklin University
- Northwestern University
- The University of Chicago

I know that these schools are fairly competitive, but some did not have any minimums and besides the GRE, my GPA was fine (especially since they were more concerned with the last two years).

What do you think my best chances are? What can I do (besides retaking the GRE) to better my chances? Thanks in advance!
Are you applying to clinical programs or some other field of psychology? I don't think U of C has a clinical program or any other licensable doctoral programs.

It's not just that these programs themselves are competitive, it's that Chicago is a desirable place to live, so these programs get lots of application by virtue of that. More importantly, geographical desirability/convenience isn't really a good argument to pick a program. Arguably the most important factor, assuming you are otherwise qualified and competitive, is fit. Geography is not a compelling argument to faculty that they should choose you over other applicants who fit better with them and the overall program. Even if this wasn't the case, grad school is long and can be difficult at times, so you don't want to be stuck somewhere doing research in which you are disinterested and don't fit in well with the other people there.
 
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Jan 23, 2019
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1
Are you applying to clinical programs or some other field of psychology? I don't think U of C has a clinical program or any other licensable doctoral programs.

It's not just that these programs themselves are competitive, it's that Chicago is a desirable place to live, so these programs get lots of application by virtue of that. More importantly, geographical desirability/convenience isn't really a good argument to pick a program. Arguably the most important factor, assuming you are otherwise qualified and competitive, is fit. Geography is not a compelling argument to faculty that they should choose you over other applicants who fit better with them and the overall program. Even if this wasn't the case, grad school is long and can be difficult at times, so you don't want to be stuck somewhere doing research in which you are disinterested and don't fit in well with the other people there.
Well, I have been to Chicago many times and love it there. It's not just for convenience and I would never present it that way to programs. And I was just on U of C's website and it was showing a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I will apply other places - it would just better to be near people I am familiar with, especially when considering we want to start a family, etc. And it is mix of clinical and nonclinical psych programs. Thank you for the input!!
 
Dec 25, 2017
19
6
11
Undergrad GPA: 3.06
- Last two years: 3.50
GRE Q: 144; V: 149; W: 4.5
Graduate GPA: 4.00
Research: Currently working on five manuscripts and presenting four different times so far.

I am definitely planning on retaking the GRE (I had not prepared the first time) and taking the GRE subject test since I am not getting my MA in Psychology.

I am really trying to get in somewhere near my boyfriend, who is going to medical school. The schools I am currently looking into are:
- University of Illinois-Chicago
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Rosalind Franklin University
- Northwestern University
- The University of Chicago

I know that these schools are fairly competitive, but some did not have any minimums and besides the GRE, my GPA was fine (especially since they were more concerned with the last two years).

What do you think my best chances are? What can I do (besides retaking the GRE) to better my chances? Thanks in advance!
Retaking the GRE is a good start. A combined score of 300 is a bare minimum cutoff -- 310 is a more realistic cutoff to hit. 320 would be competitive for the programs you listed. Unfortunately you would not receive serious consideration for the schools you've listed because of your current score. Your GPA does not disqualify you, but keep in mind that it is well below average for applicants and barely above the bare minimum cutoff (3.0).

Are you first author on any of the projects you have in preparation?

Note that U of Chicago does not have a clinical psychology program. You may be mixing up their clinical psych internship (which is on their website) with an actual graduate program. Use this to search for accredited clinical/counseling programs: APA-Accredited Programs

I'm sensitive to your family & location concerns, however the reality of graduate school in clinical/counseling psychology is you will almost certainly need to relocate at some point (school, internship, post-doc). I would search for programs based on your area of research interest first.

Can you share what your goals are after graduation?
 
Mar 26, 2019
2
0
1
Hello all! I'm currently a second-semester sophomore/upcoming junior (Psych major, German/Gender & Sexuality minor) and would like to work on strengthening my application now for graduate school in a couple of years, if I choose that path. I know I'd want to go Ph.D., but as far as the specific field goes, I have no idea.

Current cGPA: 3.66 (Psych: 3.92)
Expected cGPA by end of semester: 3.72
GRE: planning to take in the fall, studying over the summer.

Research/Experiences:
-2 years in Social Psych lab dealing with emotion regulation.
-summer job lined up in an LGBTQ+ Developmental Psych lab, 30 hours a week, likely to continue into the fall/next spring as well. Have discussed working on a poster and being mentored through my own project if everything goes well.
-TA for Social Psych my freshman year.
-potential TA for another Psych course in the fall.

Other mostly meaningless involvements:
-PsiChi member in the fall.
-APA uGrad affiliate.

I'm just interested in my ECs and seeing what I can improve and work on to beef up my experiences. The TA opportunity in the fall would most likely just be for an LoR because the professor (a clinical psychologist) frequently talks to me outside of lecture now and I think that she'd be willing. I know without GRE scores, determining my chances is impossible, but please tear apart the rest of my stats in the meantime. Questions and comments are both welcome.
 
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jdawg2017

Doctoral Student of Clinical Psychology
2+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2016
41
14
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Pre-Psychology
Hello all! I'm currently a second-semester sophomore/upcoming junior (Psych major, German/Gender & Sexuality minor) and would like to work on strengthening my application now for graduate school in a couple of years, if I choose that path. I know I'd want to go Ph.D., but as far as the specific field goes, I have no idea.

Current cGPA: 3.66 (Psych: 3.92)
Expected cGPA by end of semester: 3.72
GRE: planning to take in the fall, studying over the summer.

Research/Experiences:
-2 years in Social Psych lab dealing with emotion regulation.
-summer job lined up in an LGBTQ+ Developmental Psych lab, 30 hours a week, likely to continue into the fall/next spring as well. Have discussed working on a poster and being mentored through my own project if everything goes well.
-TA for Social Psych my freshman year.
-potential TA for another Psych course in the fall.

Other mostly meaningless involvements:
-PsiChi member in the fall.
-APA uGrad affiliate.

I'm just interested in my ECs and seeing what I can improve and work on to beef up my experiences. The TA opportunity in the fall would most likely just be for an LoR because the professor (a clinical psychologist) frequently talks to me outside of lecture now and I think that she'd be willing. I know without GRE scores, determining my chances is impossible, but please tear apart the rest of my stats in the meantime. Questions and comments are both welcome.
Without knowing generally what area of psych you want to pursue, it's hard to tell you what your chances are.

What do you want to do? See patients? Be an academic? Work in industry? Asking this might help you clarify and think a bit more of your actual goals.

As of now, your experiences sound good. I would really recommend presenting posters (first author) if you can swing it at a national or international conference in whatever area you want to work in/learn more about. Getting a first or even second author pub is even better if possible.
 
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agif

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
18
3
41
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Pre-Psychology
Ok everyone. I need some help.

I have applied to my Clinical Psych PhD 3 times but this is still something I really want to do. What are my chances of getting in if I try again?

Here are my stats:
1. 3.57 undergraduate GPA
2. 3.61 Graduate GPA
3. I have my Master's in Experimental Psychology which involved completing a master's thesis research study.
4. After undergrad, I worked for a year at the Cleveland Clinic as a Research Assistant.
5. Now, post grad-school, I have been working as a year (will be over 1.5 by the time of applications) as a Clinical Research Coordinator, also at the Cleveland Clinic.
6. In graduate school, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant 2 semesters and a Teaching Assistant 2 semesters. (held other varous positions in undergrad).
7. I have been involved in and/or run around 10 research projects.
8. 5 first-author poster presentations, 2 at national conferences. 1 second author national conference poster.
9. I am not yet published but hopefully will be trying to publish my master's thesis soon.
10.. GRE: 159-V, 150-Q, 4.5-Writing

IF I get my GRE scores up, what are my chances of finally getting in?? I am especially interested in the programs at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University.
 
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WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
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If you are only applying to 2-3 programs, chances are slim. If you apply more broadly and can show good fit with a potential research mentor, chances are pretty good.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
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Psychologist
Ok everyone. I need some help.

I have applied to my Clinical Psych PhD 3 times but this is still something I really want to do. What are my chances of getting in if I try again?

Here are my stats:
1. 3.57 undergraduate GPA
2. 3.61 Graduate GPA
3. I have my Master's in Experimental Psychology which involved completing a master's thesis research study.
4. After undergrad, I worked for a year at the Cleveland Clinic as a Research Assistant.
5. Now, post grad-school, I have been working as a year (will be over 1.5 by the time of applications) as a Clinical Research Coordinator, also at the Cleveland Clinic.
6. In graduate school, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant 2 semesters and a Teaching Assistant 2 semesters. (held other varous positions in undergrad).
7. I have been involved in and/or run around 10 research projects.
8. 5 first-author poster presentations, 2 at national conferences. 1 second author national conference poster.
9. I am not yet published but hopefully will be trying to publish my master's thesis soon.
10.. GRE: 159-V, 150-Q, 4.5-Writing

IF I get my GRE scores up, what are my chances of finally getting in?? I am especially interested in the programs at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University.
How many of your previous applications resulted in interviews? How many programs have you applied to altogether?
 
Apr 19, 2019
1
0
1
Status
Pre-Psychology
I kinda of wanted to make my own thread because I have a whole slew of issues right now.

I'm a second semester Junior at Binghamton University and I have about a 3.2 GPA (it is climbing).

Here is my kind of story for why my college life has been really bad: I came in Pre-med mainly because I was pressured into doing so because of my family. Then my father became really ill and died during my second semester of school. First semester I got a 3.5 and the second semester I got 2 C's which got me a 2.5 something (a bit over 3 cumulatively). I lost a lot of my passion to do school work for my Sophomore year since I was doing work on a subject I didn't care for and was relatively sad and my GPA stayed around a 3.1. This year I have change my major and am doing fairly well in Psychology. I really want to go to University of Albany and get a PsychD for child psychology, but I am afraid it is already too late for me to do that. I am active on campus, on the eboard for a club, and am currently trying to get an internship in psychology for next year as well. I wanted to know if it was too late for me for to have a chance to do anything with Child/School psychology, or if I still have a chance.

Thanks for reading this.
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,640
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I kinda of wanted to make my own thread because I have a whole slew of issues right now.

I'm a second semester Junior at Binghamton University and I have about a 3.2 GPA (it is climbing).

Here is my kind of story for why my college life has been really bad: I came in Pre-med mainly because I was pressured into doing so because of my family. Then my father became really ill and died during my second semester of school. First semester I got a 3.5 and the second semester I got 2 C's which got me a 2.5 something (a bit over 3 cumulatively). I lost a lot of my passion to do school work for my Sophomore year since I was doing work on a subject I didn't care for and was relatively sad and my GPA stayed around a 3.1. This year I have change my major and am doing fairly well in Psychology. I really want to go to University of Albany and get a PsychD for child psychology, but I am afraid it is already too late for me to do that. I am active on campus, on the eboard for a club, and am currently trying to get an internship in psychology for next year as well. I wanted to know if it was too late for me for to have a chance to do anything with Child/School psychology, or if I still have a chance.

Thanks for reading this.
This is the right thread.

A few things:
1. You didn't tell us anything about your research, which is a primary consideration in graduate admissions.
2. I would not rule people out from grad school; however, there may be alternative paths needed in the case of non-competitive portfolios (e.g., lower GRE, lower GPA, no/little research, etc)
3. You are likely underestimating the competitiveness of programs if you are targeting one school where you want to go.
4. Things happen and grades slump at times. Grades in the last 2 semester being extremely high can be a good marker of a change/maturity in application. Many will ask about GPA in the last 2 years as well as overall. A 3.2 will not be a competitive GPA by itself if that is reflective of how you are doing. I would aim much higher as you move forward. Most/many applicants have 3.5-3.9 averages.
 

agif

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
18
3
41
Status
Pre-Psychology
How many of your previous applications resulted in interviews? How many programs have you applied to altogether?
0 applications have resulted in interviews and I have applied to 18 programs total
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
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0 applications have resulted in interviews and I have applied to 18 programs total

That is problematic. If you have a trusted faculty member somewhere, I would ask if they'd be willing to sit down and look at your application materials and the programs that you are applying to, something seems amiss here. There may be some red flag that you are not aware of.
 
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agif

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
18
3
41
Status
Pre-Psychology
That is problematic. If you have a trusted faculty member somewhere, I would ask if they'd be willing to sit down and look at your application materials and the programs that you are applying to, something seems amiss here. There may be some red flag that you are not aware of.
I agree, I just can't figure out what it is. My theory is GRE scores and/or late submission of recommendation letters
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
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I agree, I just can't figure out what it is. My theory is GRE scores and/or late submission of recommendation letters
The GRE scores would not be a huge issue (Verbal is fine, quant is a little low) unless you are only applying to the most competitive schools
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,640
1,351
131
Ok everyone. I need some help.

I have applied to my Clinical Psych PhD 3 times but this is still something I really want to do. What are my chances of getting in if I try again?

Here are my stats:
1. 3.57 undergraduate GPA
2. 3.61 Graduate GPA
3. I have my Master's in Experimental Psychology which involved completing a master's thesis research study.
4. After undergrad, I worked for a year at the Cleveland Clinic as a Research Assistant.
5. Now, post grad-school, I have been working as a year (will be over 1.5 by the time of applications) as a Clinical Research Coordinator, also at the Cleveland Clinic.
6. In graduate school, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant 2 semesters and a Teaching Assistant 2 semesters. (held other varous positions in undergrad).
7. I have been involved in and/or run around 10 research projects.
8. 5 first-author poster presentations, 2 at national conferences. 1 second author national conference poster.
9. I am not yet published but hopefully will be trying to publish my master's thesis soon.
10.. GRE: 159-V, 150-Q, 4.5-Writing

IF I get my GRE scores up, what are my chances of finally getting in?? I am especially interested in the programs at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University.
Kent State is extremely competitive, depending on what lab. What is your area of research?

With a masters, part of the difficulty is a raised bar with respect to publication. Posters don't demonstrate the same level of research rigor and so that may be a major barrier as well.
 
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agif

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
18
3
41
Status
Pre-Psychology
Kent State is extremely competitive, depending on what lab. What is your area of research?

With a masters, part of the difficulty is a raised bar with respect to publication. Posters don't demonstrate the same level of research rigor and so that may be a major barrier as well.
Depression and anxiety
 
Apr 26, 2019
1
0
1
Status
Psychology Student
Hi all! I'd appreciate any tips on how I could improve my application.

I just finished my first year of a 2-year Mental Health Counseling MA program at an R1 University(4.0 GPA so far). I graduated summa from a private R1 with a 3.88 GPA and double majors in Psych and Health Policy, and completed a senior thesis with high honors, but never got it published. I have 96th percentile English, 50th percentile math (meh), and a 5.5 Writing score on my GREs. Clinically, I have 6 months of experience working in a children's inpatient unit in undergrad, and will have 9 months internship experience in a Therapeutic After School Program by the time I am done with my masters. I worked as a RA at a top 3 east coast research hospital lab for almost two years after undrrgrad, but was more of an admin/IRB regulatory/lab manager, and didn't get to do hands on research. In my current program, I was involved in a lab but the PI was promoted and so I have to find another one in the department. The upshot is I don't know if I'm going to have any research published or even in manuscript by the time I need to start my PhD applications. Is this a huge hole in my application, as long as I am doing research? Should I wait for the next application cycle after that to see if I can get published first? Thanks for any sage advice.

Edit: my research interest is in culturally competent trauma informed therapy with refugees.
 

StellaB

7+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2011
199
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Psychologist
Aside from the expense of applications, there isn't really any reason to just wait until next cycle. That said, you should probably try to at least get some poster presentations under your belt while you can to improve your application. I had one presentation and one publication under review at the time of applications (both in Sociology), and I did fine, but I think with a master's degree at an R1, they might expect a little bit more. Are you planning to apply to balanced programs or more research-heavy?
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,640
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Hi all! I'd appreciate any tips on how I could improve my application.

I just finished my first year of a 2-year Mental Health Counseling MA program at an R1 University(4.0 GPA so far). I graduated summa from a private R1 with a 3.88 GPA and double majors in Psych and Health Policy, and completed a senior thesis with high honors, but never got it published. I have 96th percentile English, 50th percentile math (meh), and a 5.5 Writing score on my GREs. Clinically, I have 6 months of experience working in a children's inpatient unit in undergrad, and will have 9 months internship experience in a Therapeutic After School Program by the time I am done with my masters. I worked as a RA at a top 3 east coast research hospital lab for almost two years after undrrgrad, but was more of an admin/IRB regulatory/lab manager, and didn't get to do hands on research. In my current program, I was involved in a lab but the PI was promoted and so I have to find another one in the department. The upshot is I don't know if I'm going to have any research published or even in manuscript by the time I need to start my PhD applications. Is this a huge hole in my application, as long as I am doing research? Should I wait for the next application cycle after that to see if I can get published first? Thanks for any sage advice.

Edit: my research interest is in culturally competent trauma informed therapy with refugees.
I would encourage you to go ahead and apply. Think of it as lost future revenue if you could have gotten in and didnt try. Your scores range from decent to great and you arent without experience so may have some success.

You may want to broaden your interest in your application, however, because of the specificity of your interests and likely few labs that do that specifically (e.g., seek out labs that focus on trauma, refugee work, or multicultural considerations in therapy and build your interests into your work and experiences in those areas). This may also help expand options to programs where you are extremely competitive and yet would still get the opportunities you want.
 
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gene_halpert

2+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2016
5
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Other Health Professions Student
Hi, everyone. I would greatly appreciate any sort of feedback or insight for my chances at applying to PhD clinical psychology programs this year.

I'm a genetic counselor with 2+ years of experience. My current position is a counselor/research and protocol coordinator.

Statistics:
UGPA; 3.4 (top 25 research U)
GradGPA (MS): 3.8
GRE: 163 V, 162 Q, 4.5 Writing (I have to retake this summer, though, because it is more than 5 years old)

My undergrad degree is not in psychology, but biology. However, I've taken three psych courses and 3 graduate level statistics and research methods courses.

I just submitted my first first-author manuscript, so that will hopefully be accepted and published (at least online) by the end of the year
3 first-title abstracts at conferences
Currently writing a review article for publication

I like genetic counseling a lot, and I was lucky enough to be taught about different psychotherapeutic orientations and modalities, health psych, etc, but I'm hoping to be able to conduct more independent research and actually practice psychotherapy. Although I feel like I'm able to build meaningful connections with the clients I work with and meet, I know it's not actual psychotherapy.

My goal is to apply to programs that offer or have a focus in clinical health psych (PhD only). I would like to stay in certain geographic regions, so that does limit my chances a bit.

Any insight appreciated, thanks!
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
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Hi, everyone. I would greatly appreciate any sort of feedback or insight for my chances at applying to PhD clinical psychology programs this year.

I'm a genetic counselor with 2+ years of experience. My current position is a counselor/research and protocol coordinator.

Statistics:
UGPA; 3.4 (top 25 research U)
GradGPA (MS): 3.8
GRE: 163 V, 162 Q, 4.5 Writing (I have to retake this summer, though, because it is more than 5 years old)

My undergrad degree is not in psychology, but biology. However, I've taken three psych courses and 3 graduate level statistics and research methods courses.

I just submitted my first first-author manuscript, so that will hopefully be accepted and published (at least online) by the end of the year
3 first-title abstracts at conferences
Currently writing a review article for publication

I like genetic counseling a lot, and I was lucky enough to be taught about different psychotherapeutic orientations and modalities, health psych, etc, but I'm hoping to be able to conduct more independent research and actually practice psychotherapy. Although I feel like I'm able to build meaningful connections with the clients I work with and meet, I know it's not actual psychotherapy.

My goal is to apply to programs that offer or have a focus in clinical health psych (PhD only). I would like to stay in certain geographic regions, so that does limit my chances a bit.

Any insight appreciated, thanks!
Your limited background in psychology could present a challenge. I would look carefully at the admissions requirements for all of the programs that interest you. Even if you meet the minimum coursework requirements, you will need to make a good case that you have sufficient foundational knowledge and know what you're getting into. It's always tricky when people are applying to PhD programs after working in "adjacent" fields such as counseling or social work, though genetic counseling is farther afield than those and that's probably a plus for you.

Are your posters and publications relevant to psychosocial/behavioral topics in some way? Is there a psychologist in your setting who might provide some mentoring or additional research opportunities not available to you now?

You don't necessarily need to specialize at the PhD level, but programs with an emphasis in clinical health psychology can be found here: www.cchptp.org. Note that these do not necessarily overlap with programs that have strong research in behavioral genetics, if that is something that interests you. If you are more interested in working with people with genetic mutations or genetic disorders, clinical health psychology would be a good fit.
 
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gene_halpert

2+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2016
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Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.

A few posters (what I called “abstracts”) are more medical in nature, but my publications are social/behavioral (patient-provider communication and public attitudes surrounding genetic testing).

My primary interests are coping and adapting to genetic risks and diagnoses, and how those diagnoses are communicated. I’m also broadly interested in less-specialized health areas (e.g general psycho-oncology or cardiology).

Behavioral genetics is certainly interesting. But i suppose I’m more interested in how individuals would utilize that information (e.g. how would people understand or adapt to a polygenic risk score for schizophrenia? How would that change their identity? Etc) rather than actually determining it.

I’m considering taking the psych GRE to give some evidence of broader psychology knowledge, but undecided if that’s necessary. Thanks again!
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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Aug 2, 2010
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Behavioral genetics is certainly interesting. But i suppose I’m more interested in how individuals would utilize that information (e.g. how would people understand or adapt to a polygenic risk score for schizophrenia? How would that change their identity? Etc) rather than actually determining it.
Got it. This is definitely interesting and there is plenty of work to be done, especially if you go beyond some of the more heavily researched topics like BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations. Family relationships are also an interesting area since most of the research focuses on individual-level behaviors.

I’m considering taking the psych GRE to give some evidence of broader psychology knowledge, but undecided if that’s necessary. Thanks again!
The same thought crossed my mind.

The challenge for you is to demonstrate familiarity with the field sufficient to make the case that a PhD in clinical psychology will meet your specific training needs and career goals. It wouldn't hurt to apply this coming cycle, but in the meantime try to get connected with a psychologist who is doing health-related research. If you could get some more experience in a psychology research setting, that could be a step toward demonstrating your interest and commitment in the field. If there are any psychology conferences coming to your area, could you submit a poster?
 

jthawley

B.A. Double Major–Psych./Philos.
May 7, 2019
2
0
1
Kansas City
Status
Psychology Student
Hello all!
I am looking to strengthen my application for graduate school

Background Info.
Double Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Current transfer uGPA: 3.954
GRE: Taking in fall 2019
Graduating: Spring 2020

Experiences/Other Data
-Beginning work (10 hrs/week) this fall continuing into the spring in an Affective Neuroscience and Neureconomics Lab; there is a chance to get my name on a published article (in the Spring it becomes a 490 Independent Research class)
-Independent Philosophy research scheduled for Sp2020; chance of publication
-Two committed letter writers (1 Philos. mentor/professor; 1 Psych. professor/head of lab I will be joining) my aim is to secure a 3rd in the Fall semester
-CITI Program certificate
-A in Exp. Methods, A in Stats/SPSS
-A's in all Psych. classes since transferring
-Leadership Psi Chi member
-Leadership Phi Sigma Tau member (Philos. Honor Society)
-APA uGrad affiliate

Research Interests
-Decision making
-Mindfulness/meditation (Lab project in Sp2020 is focused on mindfulness for clinical anxiety/PTSD populations)
-Emotion regulation

Thank you for considering along with any feedback!
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,002
1,826
181
Status
Psychologist
Hello all!
I am looking to strengthen my application for graduate school

Background Info.
Double Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Current transfer uGPA: 3.954
GRE: Taking in fall 2019
Graduating: Spring 2020

Experiences/Other Data
-Beginning work (10 hrs/week) this fall continuing into the spring in an Affective Neuroscience and Neureconomics Lab; there is a chance to get my name on a published article (in the Spring it becomes a 490 Independent Research class)
-Independent Philosophy research scheduled for Sp2020; chance of publication
-Two committed letter writers (1 Philos. mentor/professor; 1 Psych. professor/head of lab I will be joining) my aim is to secure a 3rd in the Fall semester
-CITI Program certificate
-A in Exp. Methods, A in Stats/SPSS
-A's in all Psych. classes since transferring
-Leadership Psi Chi member
-Leadership Phi Sigma Tau member (Philos. Honor Society)
-APA uGrad affiliate

Research Interests
-Decision making
-Mindfulness/meditation (Lab project in Sp2020 is focused on mindfulness for clinical anxiety/PTSD populations)
-Emotion regulation

Thank you for considering along with any feedback!
Academically you're fine. Assuming you do well on the GRE, research experience is your weak spot. Is your philosophy research relevant to your research interests or required for your degree plan? Can you shift some of your effort to do more psychology research?
 

jthawley

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Thank you for the quick response!

The philosophy research is an independent study, I can essentially formulate whatever I want for the course and since it is far enough in advance, get the title of the class to reflect the topic on my transcript rather than "PHILOS490 Independent Research Study."

The PHILOS490 is not required, but would be a better use of the credit hours needed for the major compared to a different topic that isn't at all related to Psych. (I.e. I need the hours, but not specifically that class, but the other classes offered aren't relevant.)

I am currently looking into further research opportunities within the psychology department, as I also feel that that is my weakest spot.

I appreciate your response!
 

studentmamasf

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Be honest :) I would appreciate it. I am hoping to get some feedback on what I can do to improve my chances of admission into a Phd Program in Clinical Psychology with hopefully a neuropsych track option.


Background Info
BA Human Development 3.5 GPA
MA Counseling Psychology 3.7
EdS School Psychology 3.7
GRE in Fall, currently studying

Experience
2 Years experiences providing therapy, conducing psychoeducational and neuropsychological assessments
Various leadership roles at the national and state level related to psychology
collecting research data for neuropsychological test maker
Letters of recc from neuropsychs, clinical psychs, and others
Conference attendance and membership to various psychological associations

Research Interests
Psychological Assessments & Interventions (ASD, TBI, and Emotional Disorders)
Relationships and Post Traumatic Growth

Thanks :)
 

WisNeuro

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Be honest :) I would appreciate it. I am hoping to get some feedback on what I can do to improve my chances of admission into a Phd Program in Clinical Psychology with hopefully a neuropsych track option.


Background Info
BA Human Development 3.5 GPA
MA Counseling Psychology 3.7
EdS School Psychology 3.7
GRE in Fall, currently studying

Experience
2 Years experiences providing therapy, conducing psychoeducational and neuropsychological assessments
Various leadership roles at the national and state level related to psychology
collecting research data for neuropsychological test maker
Letters of recc from neuropsychs, clinical psychs, and others
Conference attendance and membership to various psychological associations

Research Interests
Psychological Assessments & Interventions (ASD, TBI, and Emotional Disorders)
Relationships and Post Traumatic Growth

Thanks :)
Were you a psychometrist for the neuropsych assessments, or conducting independently? If the latter, I would downplay that as most of us would see that as a major ethical issue.
 
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studentmamasf

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Were you a psychometrist for the neuropsych assessments, or conducting independently? If the latter, I would downplay that as most of us would see that as a major ethical issue.
I am neither, I am a school psychologist. I conduct my own tests, score them, and interpret them. I don't think I should downplay that at all.
 

Justanothergrad

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I am neither, I am a school psychologist. I conduct my own tests, score them, and interpret them. I don't think I should downplay that at all.
One thing you'll want to make sure you address is why this degree will fit your needs and the previous two areas (school and counseling) have not. If I'm looking at your application, I see you bouncing around and that suggests a fairly unclear set of career goals so I would be prone to ask things like when did these interests develop, are they actually real versus written up to apply, etc. Your research output also doesn't stack up well with what I would expect for someone with two masters as I would hope that by this point, publications (not presentations) would be there. This isn't to discourage you, but there are some questions I would have related to if it is worth my time (for lack of a better way to put it) to train you, since I expect you won't be helping me much with research and I'm uncertain about the degree to which this field is the one you actually want to be in.

There is also the point WisNeuro raised.
 
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psych.meout

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I am neither, I am a school psychologist. I conduct my own tests, score them, and interpret them. I don't think I should downplay that at all.
Ok, but as Justanothergrad mentioned, what is your fit for a doctoral program if you're already ostensibly doing assessment (hopefully appropriately within the scope of your training and licensure) and therapy? What does the program have to offer you that you don't already do and what can you contribute to it?

Unless you've done more than what you posted, you really don't have much in the way of research experience, which is primarily what doctoral training would have to add to what you already do. It sounds like you collected test data for piloting/standardization/norming/etc. of psychometric instruments, which, while good, isn't really the level of research experience necessary for a doctoral program. What faculty are more looking for is that you're able to synthesize the literature into questions, specific aims, and hypotheses about a gap in the literature, design a study to investigate it, and pursue said study through completion, hopefully to a publication or at least a conference presentation.

Did you present any original research at these conferences you attended?
 
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studentmamasf

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Ok, but as Justanothergrad mentioned, what is your fit for a doctoral program if you're already ostensibly doing assessment (hopefully appropriately within the scope of your training and licensure) and therapy? What does the program have to offer you that you don't already do and what can you contribute to it?

Unless you've done more than what you posted, you really don't have much in the way of research experience, which is primarily what doctoral training would have to add to what you already do. It sounds like you collected test data for piloting/standardization/norming/etc. of psychometric instruments, which, while good, isn't really the level of research experience necessary for a doctoral program. What faculty are more looking for is that you're able to synthesize the literature into questions, specific aims, and hypotheses about a gap in the literature, design a study to investigate it, and pursue said study through completion, hopefully to a publication or at least a conference presentation.

Did you present any original research at these conferences you attended?
Thanks for the questions. I realize that school psychology isn't very well understood...we use neuropsychological assessments as part of work, in some states it is required by law to determine if a child has a disability, this kind of lack of knowledge about school psychology its kind of sad actually but I won't get into that. I work within my scope of practice, I just want to be clear on that.

I do not have a lot of research experience outside of my undergraduate thesis. As a graduate student I took research methods, and a whole host of other classes in stats, and research methodology but I did not develop my own research out of graduate school. My hope is to do so as part of a Phd program.

The reasons I want to pursue a Phd

1) Research Interest, I have questions, I want to pursue them, I want to contribute especially around the subjects of post traumatic growth and the development of research based interventions in conjunction with assessments, as well as other interests.

2) my aim is to become a practitioner that provides neuropsychological assessments to people beyond the age of 22, contribute to the field, and conduct research around my interests.

This list is not exhaustive, the people whom I work with clinical psychs and neuropsychs have encouraged me as well in this direction just based on my work, my interests, and their experiences in psych programs. I suppose I am posting here to get an understanding of what I may be lacking, is research experience the only thing you guys are seeing?
 

studentmamasf

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One thing you'll want to make sure you address is why this degree will fit your needs and the previous two areas (school and counseling) have not. If I'm looking at your application, I see you bouncing around and that suggests a fairly unclear set of career goals so I would be prone to ask things like when did these interests develop, are they actually real versus written up to apply, etc. Your research output also doesn't stack up well with what I would expect for someone with two masters as I would hope that by this point, publications (not presentations) would be there. This isn't to discourage you, but there are some questions I would have related to if it is worth my time (for lack of a better way to put it) to train you, since I expect you won't be helping me much with research and I'm uncertain about the degree to which this field is the one you actually want to be in.

There is also the point WisNeuro raised.
My MA, and EDS is one program. School psych programs are built this way, same school, 1 program no jumping around. They are not two masters. You are correct I do not have a lot of research experience although I have taken a whole host of courses in research methods, stats, and research methodology. My program was applied, students in the doctoral program are writing dissertations now, I took the applied route although I developed a lit review, research question as part of my school psych degree but decided to not purse the doc degree at that program as if offered nothing I had not already learned and did not lead to larger scope of practice or options as it was a Ed.D. Please ask your questions, I welcome them.



Thanks!
 

studentmamasf

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I feel like I should add, the education in a clinical psychology program and the option of a neuropsych track would provide an extensive amount of knowledge I do not have, and skills as well. I am seeking additional skills, knowledge, as well the ability to research my interests, contribute to the field, and become an actual psychologist, not solely a school psychologist. In my program I always wanted to know more, research more, and my research interests had no where to go, at the start of the program and in my application I was very clear, but once in the program it was very clear that there was no support for my research interests. I considered leaving, but that made no sense as I learned assessment, school systems, and so much more. I love my job, I love doing assessments on children, implementing interventions, using behavior analysis, all at work but I want to do that and more. I hope this helps. Please ask questions, express concerns, have opinions, share your thoughts, let me know what I need to do!

Thanks
 

WisNeuro

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I am neither, I am a school psychologist. I conduct my own tests, score them, and interpret them. I don't think I should downplay that at all.
School psychologists are qualified to administer psychoeducational testing, not neuropsychological testing as put forward by the HCG. Play up the experience with testing sure, but if I was recruiting a student and they told me they were independently administering and interpreting neuropsych evals, instant decline.
 

studentmamasf

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School psychologists are qualified to administer psychoeducational testing, not neuropsychological testing as put forward by the HCG. Play up the experience with testing sure, but if I was recruiting a student and they told me they were independently administering and interpreting neuropsych evals, instant decline.
Again, I am not here to explain my field at all.
 

studentmamasf

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I would prefer opinions about my field be left somewhere else, if there isn't anything else to be said to me about my questions, please just keep your views to yourself or share them with the National Association of School Psychologists.
 

studentmamasf

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Again, I am just giving you advice on how many board certified neuropsychologists will see that particular piece of information and react to it. Take that and do what you will to increase or decrease your chances as you see fit.
I understand that. My post was not my application though. I came here for something else, not a debate about my field of psychology. We do neuropsychological assessments, it is embedded in our work, so is clinical assessment, behavioral assessment, sometimes we do tests that other specialists like OT's or SLP's might administer. I am sure this steps on the toes of a lot of professionals not just neuropsychs, I have similar reaction when I recieve outside evals. There is a split in the psychology field about school psychologists..but I am not here to debate that...not at all. It's been there for a while, and I am not concerned about it.
 

WisNeuro

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Not sure you're getting the point. This is something that you will likely have to talk about in personal statements and/or interviews. How you answer it will likely have a good amount of influence on decisions of offers for admittance. Feel free to accept or disregard any advice. How you ultimately help or hurt your own chances is always up to you. If you insist to potential PIs that you are entitled to practice outside of your scope, they will likely not take it that well.
 

Justanothergrad

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I am sure this steps on the toes of a lot of professionals not just neuropsychs, I have similar reaction when I recieve outside evals. There is a split in the psychology field about school psychologists..but I am not here to debate that...not at all. It's been there for a while, and I am not concerned about it.
You should be... since stepping on people's toes isn't a great way to get into a program. There is a lot to unpack from the last few messages, but I think it underscores an important consideration as you move forward looking for programs that hammers in to what I asked when I first responded - "why do you need to train for a PhD in clinical psych and a specialty in neuro"? As you change careers, your may find yourself having to pick a side about what services qualify for provision by which providers, what is sufficient training, and what "neuropsychology" is defined as at the practice level. These are important things that are likely to come up early, particularly given your training and the way you discuss having done neuro testing.I work with a large number of neuro folk, either in research capacities or as colleagues. This will come up.

The feedback you are getting is about how to frame and discuss the scope of your experiences. Take the feedback for what it is though and feel free to keep it or ignore it. The WAMC thread is an opportunity for folks in the field/making these decisions to give feedback to applicants.
 
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psych.meout

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I understand that. My post was not my application though. I came here for something else, not a debate about my field of psychology. We do neuropsychological assessments, it is embedded in our work, so is clinical assessment, behavioral assessment, sometimes we do tests that other specialists like OT's or SLP's might administer. I am sure this steps on the toes of a lot of professionals not just neuropsychs, I have similar reaction when I recieve outside evals. There is a split in the psychology field about school psychologists..but I am not here to debate that...not at all. It's been there for a while, and I am not concerned about it.
The point other people here are trying to make is not that certain measures are solely the realm of certain professionals, but rather that saying that you perform "neuropsychological assessments" as a school psychologist in either your personal statements or in interviews can and likely will come back to bite you. This is going to be especially true when you are applying for programs to with neuropsych tracks and/or neuropsych faculty. They are going to have their own perspectives on these things and trying to deflect criticism in this manner will not help your case.

Furthermore, your attitude towards the actual neuropsychologists here when they are politely trying to help you for free is also unhelpful. Is this how you're going to respond when you're inevitably be asked about the scope and responsibilities of your current role when it comes time to interview for programs?
 

studentmamasf

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The point other people here are trying to make is not that certain measures are solely the realm of certain professionals, but rather that saying that you perform "neuropsychological assessments" as a school psychologist in either your personal statements or in interviews can and likely will come back to bite you. This is going to be especially true when you are applying for programs to with neuropsych tracks and/or neuropsych faculty. They are going to have their own perspectives on these things and trying to deflect criticism in this manner will not help your case.

Furthermore, your attitude towards the actual neuropsychologists here when they are politely trying to help you for free is also unhelpful. Is this how you're going to respond when you're inevitably be asked about the scope and responsibilities of your current role when it comes time to interview for programs?
I feel like expressed appreciation and explained myself more than once. I also don't understand how much appreciation or gratitude I am supposed to display. I am kind of uncomfortable at this point. I appreciate the feedback and will discuss my use of neuropsychological assessments as testing measures and leave it at that . Beyond that again the only thing I have been told, is about the lack of research, is there anything else?
 

studentmamasf

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You should be... since stepping on people's toes isn't a great way to get into a program. There is a lot to unpack from the last few messages, but I think it underscores an important consideration as you move forward looking for programs that hammers in to what I asked when I first responded - "why do you need to train for a PhD in clinical psych and a specialty in neuro"? As you change careers, your may find yourself having to pick a side about what services qualify for provision by which providers, what is sufficient training, and what "neuropsychology" is defined as at the practice level. These are important things that are likely to come up early, particularly given your training and the way you discuss having done neuro testing.I work with a large number of neuro folk, either in research capacities or as colleagues. This will come up.

The feedback you are getting is about how to frame and discuss the scope of your experiences. Take the feedback for what it is though and feel free to keep it or ignore it. The WAMC thread is an opportunity for folks in the field/making these decisions to give feedback to applicants.
I do not represent all school psychologists, but the role steps on toes, my title is my title and my work is my work, if it makes people uncomfortable ...I can't do anything about that besides to encourage them to take it up with NASP or the APA. I don't think its appropriate that school psychs do a lot of things .. I feel that we should have doctoral level training, I am not sure if this is coming across or not. I have always had this view, and it is why I want a full education, not the limited education school psych programs provide across multiple psych disciplines. My understanding of neuropsych assessments is very limited, I still have to interpret the reports that come in and I have to use the NEPSY and other instruments in my work. This is my current role, right or wrong..it's my job. I have learned a lot about how to frame my experiences from these responses....I do use a number of psychometric measures and tests. I love assessment, its my most favorite part of my work, I will admit that this is part of my reasons for going further...I am good at it, but want to know and do more. I will take the advice given here like I stated in my other reply and say I used those instruments as part of my psychoeducational evals..and leave it at that, is there anything else you guys see?

Thanks
 
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Thought I'd drop in here.

Undergrad and MA GPA both were 3.6

GRE: Verbal I believe was 162 last time and Quant 154? Writing I think 4 or 4.5

I've been in 2 research labs: one right after undergrad for a year. I did a lot of field work doing research in public schools in low income areas in NYC and helped the lab advisor with a small conference she put together. Did a lot of administration of the intervention, filming, organizing materials for myself and the rest of the lab, administering surveys/research materials, and data entry.

In undergrad I worked on a research project and presented it at my schools psych conference.

During my MA I was in a lab for the whole 2 years. I worked on research with clinical patients, adults and children and during my last year of the MA got a competitive spot through my lab assisting on site at a hospital in a low income area with research and clinical work.

Work in the lab was attending meetings coding clinical and research videos, administering the questionnaires to the clinical research patients, filming research paradigms, administering interviews, transcribing interviews, attending workshops. I did not do any data entry despite offering to help (I was basically locked out by a small nasty girl clique in my lab who took over doing that unfortunately)
Clinical work included filming clinical sessions,and working with assisting administering the clinical intervention to child patients.

I completed 2 MA theses: 1 clinical qualitative project related to my lab and 1 quantitative project not related to my lab.

I presented the quantitative one at a fairly competitive international conference this spring (SRCD)

I graduated in may 2017 with my MA. I took a gap year to do the GRE and apply to PhDs right after graduation. I applied to 3 programs in NYC/LI, 1 in Virginia, 1 in utah, and 1 in Colorado. I was rejected with no interview from all except 1 unfunded PhD on LI. I got waitlisted then accepted, started there in fall 2018, then dropped out early on becuase it was too much stress to work and do the PhD and too much debt.

I've been applying (not aggressively but probably to about 15-20 positions) to paid RA and research coordinator positions in NYC and havent been so successful. I did have one phone interview though!

I'm on the fence on if I want to apply to clinical phds again or not. I'm 27, working class (my parents are divorced on both on disability, no support from them ever financially/with school/car/etc), I waitress in NYC and have through college, and my spouse is my HS sweetheart from blue collar town doing blue collar work. We want to get married and have children etc, I never imagined this process would take so long. I always thought I'd be halfway through a PhD at this point. it's really frustrating to me it hasn't panned out yet.

So please be honest; WAMC, and should I just give up and accept the pay cut and apply for MSW programs so I can get in somewhere and get working sooner. Start a family as a SW and maybe when I'm older and my kids are grown try again for PHD...

Dunno what's a better life choice for me right now. I really want to be a psychologist but I cant just keep working hard and putting all my effort and energy into something while my life is on standby with no results. Thanks
 

Justanothergrad

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I do not represent all school psychologists, but the role steps on toes, my title is my title and my work is my work, if it makes people uncomfortable ...I can't do anything about that besides to encourage them to take it up with NASP or the APA. I don't think its appropriate that school psychs do a lot of things .. I feel that we should have doctoral level training, I am not sure if this is coming across or not. I have always had this view, and it is why I want a full education, not the limited education school psych programs provide across multiple psych disciplines. My understanding of neuropsych assessments is very limited, I still have to interpret the reports that come in and I have to use the NEPSY and other instruments in my work. This is my current role, right or wrong..it's my job. I have learned a lot about how to frame my experiences from these responses....I do use a number of psychometric measures and tests. I love assessment, its my most favorite part of my work, I will admit that this is part of my reasons for going further...I am good at it, but want to know and do more. I will take the advice given here like I stated in my other reply and say I used those instruments as part of my psychoeducational evals..and leave it at that, is there anything else you guys see?

Thanks
More directive feedback will be hard to give with regards to competitiveness until you have your GRE scores in. If you can, and I suspect this isn't a possibility or one that you've been able to locate from your previous responses, I'd try to get involved in any sort of research you can between now and the fall. If you did a thesis, try to submit it for presentation and, if possible, publication (even submission will help drastically - even if not accepted). Attending conferences, much like GPA, is of little value for professors evaluating competitiveness.
 

biscuitsbiscuits

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I do not represent all school psychologists, but the role steps on toes, my title is my title and my work is my work, if it makes people uncomfortable ...I can't do anything about that besides to encourage them to take it up with NASP or the APA. I don't think its appropriate that school psychs do a lot of things .. I feel that we should have doctoral level training, I am not sure if this is coming across or not. I have always had this view, and it is why I want a full education, not the limited education school psych programs provide across multiple psych disciplines. My understanding of neuropsych assessments is very limited, I still have to interpret the reports that come in and I have to use the NEPSY and other instruments in my work. This is my current role, right or wrong..it's my job. I have learned a lot about how to frame my experiences from these responses....I do use a number of psychometric measures and tests. I love assessment, its my most favorite part of my work, I will admit that this is part of my reasons for going further...I am good at it, but want to know and do more. I will take the advice given here like I stated in my other reply and say I used those instruments as part of my psychoeducational evals..and leave it at that, is there anything else you guys see?

Thanks
What about applying to doctoral programs in school psych as an advanced standing student?
 

psych.meout

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Thought I'd drop in here.

Undergrad and MA GPA both were 3.6

GRE: Verbal I believe was 162 last time and Quant 154? Writing I think 4 or 4.5

I've been in 2 research labs: one right after undergrad for a year. I did a lot of field work doing research in public schools in low income areas in NYC and helped the lab advisor with a small conference she put together. Did a lot of administration of the intervention, filming, organizing materials for myself and the rest of the lab, administering surveys/research materials, and data entry.

In undergrad I worked on a research project and presented it at my schools psych conference.

During my MA I was in a lab for the whole 2 years. I worked on research with clinical patients, adults and children and during my last year of the MA got a competitive spot through my lab assisting on site at a hospital in a low income area with research and clinical work.

Work in the lab was attending meetings coding clinical and research videos, administering the questionnaires to the clinical research patients, filming research paradigms, administering interviews, transcribing interviews, attending workshops. I did not do any data entry despite offering to help (I was basically locked out by a small nasty girl clique in my lab who took over doing that unfortunately)
Clinical work included filming clinical sessions,and working with assisting administering the clinical intervention to child patients.

I completed 2 MA theses: 1 clinical qualitative project related to my lab and 1 quantitative project not related to my lab.

I presented the quantitative one at a fairly competitive international conference this spring (SRCD)

I graduated in may 2017 with my MA. I took a gap year to do the GRE and apply to PhDs right after graduation. I applied to 3 programs in NYC/LI, 1 in Virginia, 1 in utah, and 1 in Colorado. I was rejected with no interview from all except 1 unfunded PhD on LI. I got waitlisted then accepted, started there in fall 2018, then dropped out early on becuase it was too much stress to work and do the PhD and too much debt.

I've been applying (not aggressively but probably to about 15-20 positions) to paid RA and research coordinator positions in NYC and havent been so successful. I did have one phone interview though!

I'm on the fence on if I want to apply to clinical phds again or not. I'm 27, working class (my parents are divorced on both on disability, no support from them ever financially/with school/car/etc), I waitress in NYC and have through college, and my spouse is my HS sweetheart from blue collar town doing blue collar work. We want to get married and have children etc, I never imagined this process would take so long. I always thought I'd be halfway through a PhD at this point. it's really frustrating to me it hasn't panned out yet.

So please be honest; WAMC, and should I just give up and accept the pay cut and apply for MSW programs so I can get in somewhere and get working sooner. Start a family as a SW and maybe when I'm older and my kids are grown try again for PHD...

Dunno what's a better life choice for me right now. I really want to be a psychologist but I cant just keep working hard and putting all my effort and energy into something while my life is on standby with no results. Thanks
It sounds like you have some very good credentials and experience. The main problem seems to be that you're not applying to nearly enough programs and you need to make sure they're diverse enough. Typically, the recommended of applications is at least 12-15 and half of your applications are in the NYC area. I know that seems like a lot of work and money, but when you're concerned about time and putting off other goals and milestones in your life, it really is just a drop in the bucket.