PhD Admissions Question
December 15, 2009 9:24 PM Subscribe
Help me understand PhD admissions
posted by anonymous to education (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A few months ago I finally decided that I want to go for a PhD in psychology. My background is in biology and I don't have research experience or a ton of formal coursework in psychology (although I do have chemistry research experience), so I went in knowing that my chances are probably not great for the programs I'm looking at (top 15 or so mostly). I was Phi Beta Kappa at a good undergrad, my GRE scores are significantly higher than the median in the programs I'm looking at, and I think my statements of purpose are pretty good. So I'm very well-qualified except that I don't have a degree in psychology, and if I was applying to biology programs I don't think I'd have much trouble.
I'm skeptical about my chances because I've been reading through the admissions sites on the departments I'm interested in, and most of them say they get like 300 applications for 10-15 spots. With such a low admissions rate it seems like you would have to be perfect in every respect to get in.
So I have two separate questions:
-First, who gets in to top-20 PhD programs in psychology? What kind of background do you have to have, given their admissions rates? Or, in those 300 applicants are there a bunch of people who just apply for the heck of it, so it looks more competitive than it actually is?
-Second, I qualify for a special fellowship that funds PhD students for 5 years. It is specifically for people with disabilities. I haven't got the fellowship yet, because you have to apply along with a research advisor, but I would have a very good chance of getting it. Lots of admissions sites say that they have to deny qualified applicants every year because they have limited funding. Is it appropriate to contact professors in the department and mention that I probably would be able to bring in my own funding? If so, would the ability to be funded from outside improve admissions chances, or is this a non-factor?