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Question for PsyDoc and RT about choosing a school(7 posts)

Question for PsyDoc and RT about choosing a schoolKristin
Oct 22, 2003 7:55 AM
I've recently decided that I will go into clinical psycology. My first task will be to finish my BA in Psychology. Originally my idea was to work for another 2-4 years, then sell the condo and become a full time student again. However, considering everything that is happening at work I'm considering starting back sooner, on a part time basis. However I'm concerned about my choice of schools out here. I want to place well as a therapist when I'm done. To that end, I think I should stick with a traditional program, but I'm not sure. How much does it matter where I acheive my BA? Is it equally as important as my school choice for my masters and/or PHD?
general rule of thumb:dr hoo
Oct 23, 2003 5:57 AM
Most weight will be given to your highest degree. So the school of your BA is important for getting into a good grad program, but the weight of that grad program will determine your prospects forward from that point.

That being said, you can do things to raise your prospects for grad school during your undergraduate program. Doing research with profs is great, but hard to come by. At my school we encourage that kind of thing, but we are in a small minority. Making an impression in a small seminar class helps with letters of reference. There are a lot of things you can do, depending on the program.

When it comes to grad schools, having very high GRE scores is a HUGE factor at getting to the top of the lists. Grades are important, but not critical. If you have high GRE scores AND have done some research with a prof as an undergraduate, resulting in a presentation at a conference or publication, then they will THROW money at you.

Research the schools carefully. Ask what percentage of psych majors go into grad programs. How many go into clinical psych? What do the profs specialize in, look at their publications and web pages.

I have more advice if you want it. I help people apply for grad school quite often, so just ask and I will try to help in any way I can.
Thanks! Good informationKristin
Oct 23, 2003 7:24 AM
You mentioned some things I hadn't considered. I was toying with the idea of finishing my undergrad at a community college since it would be afordable and local, but I don't think that's the direction I want to go. I believe that I will be a successful therapist no matter where I study, because my most valuable skillset is the fact that I've gone through therapy and experienced growth and healing first hand. My schooling will roundout my personal experience and broaden my perspective.

Yesterday, I did find some links to information from the Gourman report, which looks useful. Psych programs ranked by how well graduates did on the EPPP exams. I found a list of undergrad counciling programs ranked by EPPP test results. Nice. Univ. of Chicago is 10 on the list. Its a great school. I'd just have to figure out how to pay for it. I'm not 100% sure I need to go to a top notch school. I'm not looking for prestige. Successful therapy has more to do with how emotionally healthy the therapist is than what they were able to score on the EPPP. But I think having a good education might open some doors later. Not sure yet what I'll do with regard to that.

I may have an advantage getting research projects. I'm 33 and have been through the therapy process personally. But I'll be entering school as a Junior, which is a problem. The profs won't know me from Adam and will probably have some favorites already. Then again, I interview extremely well. My first 2 years in psych were at a tiny liberal arts school that had only 4 psych profs. So there wasn't any "real" research offered. Thankfully, I only took 100 & 200 level classes. Thanks again for the advice.
For the BA you want something more than....dr hoo
Oct 24, 2003 1:03 PM
... a community college. That is not seen well by grad schools at all. Better going to NIU or something. UIC. That type of place will stand you a much better shot at grad school and research.

If people do research at those types of schools, there are many ways into it. Simple knowledge of computers can get you working with many profs. I still recall with dread a 6 computer network (daisy chained serial port to serial port!) that I worked for an experiment once. The software was coded in ... QuickBasic!

Jr. is a perfect time to start a project. That gives you 3-12 months to "get up to speed" on the literature and 12-21 months of slave labor for the prof. Put it to them in those terms, and they will be fighting over you!

Research the schools, check out the faculty. Keep in mind that you can do school 2 or 3 days a week and still get 12-15 credits, so an hour drive each way is not that bad. That puts you in the range of lots of schools right?
Here's a strange questionKristin
Oct 23, 2003 8:07 AM
Should I take the SAT's? I never have. I have a GED and got very good marks on it in everything but math. When I applied to my first college, they let me in based on my GED scores and some entrance exams for the school.
not strange at all, very common question.dr hoo
Oct 24, 2003 1:09 PM
You can get into a school with the GED only. I have several students every semester who have.

SAT (or ACT depending on school) will be required for many scholarships. If you test well on standardized tests, you might give it a shot, it could be money in the bank.

Student jobs are available too, once enrolled, and if you work in IT for the school at the same time.... that might be a workable way to get through 2 years. Just a thought.
Kristin.....................Len J
Oct 23, 2003 6:12 AM

I know, from what you've shared, that you have been searching for "your place in the world" for quite awile. Congrats on finding a path.

This is a great choice for an ENFP. I'm sure you'll be a great help to your patients.

Congrats on taking the risk, best of luck.