Nov 27, 2010
4
0
Rocky River, Ohio
Status
Psychology Student
Hi everyone! I stumbled across this sight while researching things for school. Basically, I'm 20 years in old and I'm about half way through with my bachelor's in psychology, I'm transfering next year to a four year school as I've been at community college living at home. This is the first time I'm taking out loans to pay for school and living and I'm really nervous and trying to figure out debt involved and what's a good number. I eventually want to go the whole route and become a psychologist, so from what I can tell this is pretty heavy debt by the time all is said and done? I've been told also that a BA in psychology is pretty much useless, not just in the field but that's it's impossible to find a job doing anything when you work on your masters degree, does anyone know if this is true?

Sorry if this seems kind of jumbled, there's alot I don't understand and my counselor at school wasn't too helpful or too concerned. It's even scarier for me as no one in my family has graduated from college or occured any college debt, and then here's me wanting to go for 8 years and looking at debt near 100 grand. Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
Status
Hi everyone! I stumbled across this sight while researching things for school. Basically, I'm 20 years in old and I'm about half way through with my bachelor's in psychology, I'm transfering next year to a four year school as I've been at community college living at home. This is the first time I'm taking out loans to pay for school and living and I'm really nervous and trying to figure out debt involved and what's a good number. I eventually want to go the whole route and become a psychologist, so from what I can tell this is pretty heavy debt by the time all is said and done? I've been told also that a BA in psychology is pretty much useless, not just in the field but that's it's impossible to find a job doing anything when you work on your masters degree, does anyone know if this is true?

Sorry if this seems kind of jumbled, there's alot I don't understand and my counselor at school wasn't too helpful or too concerned. It's even scarier for me as no one in my family has graduated from college or occured any college debt, and then here's me wanting to go for 8 years and looking at debt near 100 grand. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Graduate school at the doctoral level does not have to be expensive if you get admitted to a program with good funding. Some master's programs even offer funding. But if you go to certain professional schools that offer PsyDs...well, then, yes you should expect about $150k + of debt (and that's not including interest).

Unfortunately, the BA in psychology does not offer many opportunities but that doesn't mean jobs aren't out there. There are some jobs out there working as a technician, care worker, research assistant, etc. but it depends on where you live. I'd like to add though...you can go to graduate school in psychology without majoring in psychology. Take a good number of psychology courses and major in something else which has a better job outlook and you'll be fine.

By the way, I've said it before but I think it is very prudent to think about debt before graduating. Good luck.
 
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Graduate school at the doctoral level does not have to be expensive if you get admitted to a program with good funding. Some master's programs even offer funding. But if you go to certain professional schools that offer PsyDs...well, then, yes you should expect about $150k + of debt (and that's not including interest).

Unfortunately, the BA in psychology does not offer many opportunities but that doesn't mean jobs aren't out there. There are some jobs out there working as a technician, care worker, research assistant, etc. but it depends on where you live. I'd like to add though...you can go to graduate school in psychology without majoring in psychology. Take a good number of psychology courses and major in something else which has a better job outlook and you'll be fine.

By the way, I've said it before but I think it is very prudent to think about debt before graduating. Good luck.
While there is a lot of truth to this statement, it is also a bit of an over generalization. Do many professional schools that offer PsyD degrees cost far more than the degree is worth? YES. However...these are not the only programs that would cause a student to accumulate debt. There are also PhD programs (at both the professional school and university level) that do not over full funding. Some offer no funding, and many offer full funding. However, there are also PsyD programs (ok, these are few and far in between..) that do offer full or partial funding. I myself am applying to a couple of them.

There are a lot of options, and a lot of factors to consider.
 

gunito

7+ Year Member
Jun 1, 2009
202
2
Status
Pre-Medical
If you're REALLY concerned about debt, consider medical school. Depending on what branch of psych you're into, maybe something in the medical field will be a better choice. I have a BS in psych, couldn't find a job worth pissing on (a blessing in disguise). I recognized that my passion is the study of the brain and how it affects behavior. I considered neuropsychchology but later found that neurology was exactly what I was looking for. And as long as you work while you're in school to pay for food and housing, your debt shouldn't be too outlandish. If you like science, double major in something with some potential.
 
OP
S
Nov 27, 2010
4
0
Rocky River, Ohio
Status
Psychology Student
If you're REALLY concerned about debt, consider medical school. Depending on what branch of psych you're into, maybe something in the medical field will be a better choice. I have a BS in psych, couldn't find a job worth pissing on (a blessing in disguise). I recognized that my passion is the study of the brain and how it affects behavior. I considered neuropsychchology but later found that neurology was exactly what I was looking for. And as long as you work while you're in school to pay for food and housing, your debt shouldn't be too outlandish. If you like science, double major in something with some potential.
Well I am looked at about everything out there I could possibly do, at my school counselors push nursing to no end and I am and always have been absolutely horrible with blood! Even fake blood, moves like Saw are out for me! So that took out alot of options, otherwise truthfully I'd be a doctor probably.
Actually, I was molested by a family member for eight years and had alot of problems from that as a teenager since I didn't know how to cope or accept it, so I'm actually very passionate about working with children and teenagers someday that have gone through abuse.

As far as PsyD programs, I actually never came across this until these boards, I was planning on PhD, is one better than the other?
 
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Well I am looked at about everything out there I could possibly do, at my school counselors push nursing to no end and I am and always have been absolutely horrible with blood! Even fake blood, moves like Saw are out for me! So that took out alot of options, otherwise truthfully I'd be a doctor probably.
Actually, I was molested by a family member for eight years and had alot of problems from that as a teenager since I didn't know how to cope or accept it, so I'm actually very passionate about working with children and teenagers someday that have gone through abuse.

As far as PsyD programs, I actually never came across this until these boards, I was planning on PhD, is one better than the other?
uh oh, wounded healer alert. i would advise not letting that one slip in personal statements. i think your goal is noble, and it is fabulous to want to turn tragedy into a positive situation. kudos for that. but be careful how you spin it..
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
Status
While there is a lot of truth to this statement, it is also a bit of an over generalization. Do many professional schools that offer PsyD degrees cost far more than the degree is worth? YES. However...these are not the only programs that would cause a student to accumulate debt. There are also PhD programs (at both the professional school and university level) that do not over full funding. Some offer no funding, and many offer full funding. However, there are also PsyD programs (ok, these are few and far in between..) that do offer full or partial funding. I myself am applying to a couple of them.

There are a lot of options, and a lot of factors to consider.
Yes, which is why I said that you would have a better time controlling your debt if you got into a program with good funding.
 
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Why is that bad?
From what I've heard, the whole "wounded healer" thing is not looked at favorably. Programs may wonder if you have the mental capacity to work with this population, whether or not you can handle it, if you are mentally unstable, and if the only reason that you got into the field was to somehow "fix yourself" or "undo the damage." It is a slippery slope.
 
OP
S
Nov 27, 2010
4
0
Rocky River, Ohio
Status
Psychology Student
From what I've heard, the whole "wounded healer" thing is not looked at favorably. Programs may wonder if you have the mental capacity to work with this population, whether or not you can handle it, if you are mentally unstable, and if the only reason that you got into the field was to somehow "fix yourself" or "undo the damage." It is a slippery slope.
Oooh I see that makes sense. Honestly I think it's a bit rediculous though to claim psychology helps people, then turn around and say someone isn't able to help others based on the situation. Personally I don't feel any need to heal myself, my uncle is in jail and my life is good and it brought me to where I am today. But thank you for that bit of information, I'll be sure not to tell too many about it.
 
Jun 6, 2011
3
0
Status
Psychologist
Oooh I see that makes sense. Honestly I think it's a bit rediculous though to claim psychology helps people, then turn around and say someone isn't able to help others based on the situation.

No one claimed that you can't help people, but rather, telling a potential graduate program about your childhood molestation might be considered inappropriate for an interview. I'm a clinical psychologist, and in my job I interview prospective interns. When someone tells me about their troubled childhood, I genuinely feel empathy. However, you don't want empathy at an interview. You want to impress. You want to highlight your accomplishments and goals. I've had applicants tell me about their divorced parents, past battles with drug addiction, molestation accounts, and other painful skeletons. These are important issues that have no doubt affected people's lives, but in most cases, such personal disclosures do not work to one's advantage. Do you frequently tell perfect strangers that your uncle molested you for 8 years? Probably not. If a stranger volunteered such information to you, you might think it unsettling. When in doubt, leave it out.
 

aequitasveritas

PhD
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2008
643
9
NY
Status
Psychologist
Oooh I see that makes sense. Honestly I think it's a bit rediculous though to claim psychology helps people, then turn around and say someone isn't able to help others based on the situation. Personally I don't feel any need to heal myself, my uncle is in jail and my life is good and it brought me to where I am today. But thank you for that bit of information, I'll be sure not to tell too many about it.
I would strongly advise that you go through in depth long term therapy before you consider entering into a life long endeavor such as a doctorate.

Your history is not unique, and indeed we all have our personal motivations for entering the field. Some are healing themselves vicariously, some enjoy the power, some like to feel superior...etc etc.

Per the comment from Student4Life....nobody looks down on this issue at all. Moreover, most (balanced program panels) would not consider the issue itself a problem. It is the fact that someone would lower their boundaries to such an extent as to invest personal information at will in an inappropriate context.

It's about process; not content ...people.
 

aequitasveritas

PhD
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2008
643
9
NY
Status
Psychologist
Hi everyone! I stumbled across this sight while researching things for school. Basically, I'm 20 years in old and I'm about half way through with my bachelor's in psychology, I'm transfering next year to a four year school as I've been at community college living at home. This is the first time I'm taking out loans to pay for school and living and I'm really nervous and trying to figure out debt involved and what's a good number. I eventually want to go the whole route and become a psychologist, so from what I can tell this is pretty heavy debt by the time all is said and done? I've been told also that a BA in psychology is pretty much useless, not just in the field but that's it's impossible to find a job doing anything when you work on your masters degree, does anyone know if this is true?

Sorry if this seems kind of jumbled, there's alot I don't understand and my counselor at school wasn't too helpful or too concerned. It's even scarier for me as no one in my family has graduated from college or occured any college debt, and then here's me wanting to go for 8 years and looking at debt near 100 grand. Any advice would be much appreciated!

If you do not get into a funded program you should consider what is truly feasible fore your life.
Are you saying that you are gonna owe 100k before grad school? If so, avoid...your ship has sailed.
If you think that you're gonna owe 100k out of grad school you have another thing coming. You'll either owe way less than that or way more. Funded programs are free....so no or very low debt. Professional schools will saddle you with more like 250,000 in debt.

Do not take this lightly. Think about things like a mortgage (which your debt will count against you in), needing to buy new cars, partners who will not want to take on a mate with such financial baggage. I cannot state enough....really think about this. There are lots of ways to help people on this earth...and one is not necessarily better than the other.
 

roubs

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2006
1,084
4
Status
Psychologist
Oooh I see that makes sense. Honestly I think it's a bit rediculous though to claim psychology helps people, then turn around and say someone isn't able to help others based on the situation. Personally I don't feel any need to heal myself, my uncle is in jail and my life is good and it brought me to where I am today. But thank you for that bit of information, I'll be sure not to tell too many about it.
Other posters may disagree, but I don't think you're being advised to keep it a secret always--just that on interviews it may look like you haven't seriously thought this though. If an interviewer comes away with the impression that your primary reason for wanting to be in this field is your prior experience as a victim of childhood abuse they may view your application unfavorably. Sometimes even mentioning it as one reason is enough to set off a red flag.
 

starsinnight

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2008
161
30
Status
Psychology Student
Personally, I think you should do what you want. Ignore everyone else, close your eyes, and what you want to do should be what you aim for.

Don't take time off if you don't need to. Don't worry about debt if loans and finances are there, don't let it stop you - that's for sure. And don't worry about your past getting in the way of your dreams - get therapy if it's something that effects your daily functioning - it may be required in many graduate programs anyways. But do what you want to do.

As far as bringing up a "wounded" past, I would agree to not share it during interviews or in an everyday context. I think it can be a powerful healing tool during a therapy session or group if you feel you want to share how far you've grown, but not really necessary if you don't. And you wouldn't want people to think you are only in psychology for your own reasons and healing.

About debt and finances, if you get a university position at most universities it will pay for your masters degree. Both my brother and I paid for our graduate degrees 100% this way at an expensive private college. I lucked out even more and got a research position in psychology as my job, but it can be any job with tuition remission. And then PhD's are usually somewhat funded if not fully funded, so it's possible to leave almost debt-free. I still have my undergrad debt to worry about but they also have loan forgiveness programs if you work in the military or at-risk populations, as well as if your debt is over 100k and you pay for a certain period of time it may be forgiven too.

If there is a will, there is a way.
 

cara susanna

10+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2008
5,502
1,704
Midwest
Status
Psychologist
Do you like research? I would only pursue a PhD if you do. Otherwise, it sounds like a Masters in counseling would get you to that same goal point. This is only anecdotal of course, but I've worked with sexual abuse victims and most therapists I've met have their Masters.

Another issue with revealing your history is it makes people concerned about self-care. Vicarious PTSD is a huge issue when working with this population, even for people with no abuse history themselves. It could really trigger things if you have a trauma history.
 
C

ClinicalPHD5

I would advice you not to pursue more than 80K in debt total, including undergraduate and graduate school. Psychologists don't have the same incomes as physicians so a higher debt load will make things difficult to pay off with interest rates. I agree that if you already have 100K in debt it would be insane to go to graduate school in clinical psychology and accrue more debt. It doesn't sound like you have any financial help from your family so even if you went to a funded program you would still have to take out some money in loans.

an MSW at a state school would be a good option or a funded master's program.
 

aequitasveritas

PhD
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2008
643
9
NY
Status
Psychologist
Personally, I think you should do what you want. Ignore everyone else, close your eyes, and what you want to do should be what you aim for.

Don't take time off if you don't need to. Don't worry about debt if loans and finances are there, don't let it stop you - that's for sure. And don't worry about your past getting in the way of your dreams - get therapy if it's something that effects your daily functioning - it may be required in many graduate programs anyways. But do what you want to do.

As far as bringing up a "wounded" past, I would agree to not share it during interviews or in an everyday context. I think it can be a powerful healing tool during a therapy session or group if you feel you want to share how far you've grown, but not really necessary if you don't. And you wouldn't want people to think you are only in psychology for your own reasons and healing.

About debt and finances, if you get a university position at most universities it will pay for your masters degree. Both my brother and I paid for our graduate degrees 100% this way at an expensive private college. I lucked out even more and got a research position in psychology as my job, but it can be any job with tuition remission. And then PhD's are usually somewhat funded if not fully funded, so it's possible to leave almost debt-free. I still have my undergrad debt to worry about but they also have loan forgiveness programs if you work in the military or at-risk populations, as well as if your debt is over 100k and you pay for a certain period of time it may be forgiven too.

I'm sorry...but this is absolutely crazy advice. Financial decisions are real and are forever.

You say go ahead-don't worry about racking up financial debt...then in the same post you say you still have your UG loans to worry about....hello:rolleyes:

If there is a will, there is a way.
This is the kind of non-reality-testing that gets people into trouble. Would you tell a patient to not plan and to not think about their decisions..to just close their eyes and go for it?