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What kind of people apply to clinical programs?

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lookitssara

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What kind of people apply to clinical programs? When schools have 300 applicants, are nearly all of them amazing students with research backgrounds who have informed themselves of the program and process? Or are there lots of people who apply "just for the heck of it" or who aren't competitive applicants? I think I fool myself into thinking I'm not up against a hundred people just like me and was wondering what was really the case.
 

Ollie123

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Its a mix. It also depends on specific areas. At least at our school, I've heard that our area (substance use) gets a relatively small number of applicants, but all of them tend to be extremely high quality. In contrast, the child psych folks get TONS of applications, but once you cut out the "No chance in hell" ones, it works out to about the same number of serious applicants.

The numbers are complicated...there might be 300 applicants, but its possible only 2-3 others are applying to the same mentor. Or 50 are applying to that super-famous individual, and almost all of them have killer CVs. Or 150 are applying to the mentor because they like the general area, but most of them are not serious applicants. It also varies by school. I imagine schools in "destination" locations get a lot more crappy applicants than say, Minnesota (not to pick on it since I've actually heard its a nice area, but it probably doesn't have the same allure as say, Southern Cali, for most people).

This is one of the reasons fit is so important. Generally speaking, everyone who makes it to interviews will be really, really competitive. Prior to interviews, there is a wide range that depends on a lot of different factors. For sure it is super competitive, and even many of the "No chance in hell" applicants will go on to successful careers in psychology or elsewhere, but there are also plenty of people who apply who realistically have no chance of getting in.
 
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psychmama

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What kind of people apply to clinical programs? When schools have 300 applicants, are nearly all of them amazing students with research backgrounds who have informed themselves of the program and process? Or are there lots of people who apply "just for the heck of it" or who aren't competitive applicants? I think I fool myself into thinking I'm not up against a hundred people just like me and was wondering what was really the case.

You may not like this answer, but most of the applicants to clinical programs are really good students who come to the process with research experience and often some background in work or volunteering that relates to their clinical interests. Naturally there are some applicants who just apply on a whim and are weeded out quickly. That still leaves a lot of competition for every Phd and Psyd slot. Of course, since applicants usually apply to many schools, the pool of applicants is smaller than in appears. There's a lot of overlap -- every accepted applicant can only matriculate at one school.

So, what kind of person applies to these programs? Usually someone who's highly motivated and is willing to do what it takes to get into a good doctoral program in psychology, even if that means waiting a year or two in order to get GRE's up, gain research experience, and the like. It's a tough process, but if you truly love the field, then go for it!:)
 
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