Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fuckity, Fuck, Fuck

I have spent the last 36 hours trolling through the comprehensive list of social psych doctoral programs in the US, found at the wonderful Social Psychology Network. This is the fucking second time I have done this, the first time was a year and a half ago. 

Someone needs to create a website (or add on to SPN) so that I can search for faculty members in social psychology PhD programs who share my research interests, with a little spot for them to update whether or not they are accepting grad students. Because clicking on page after motherfucking page of faculty members' profiles is boring, exhausting, and frustrating. 

While I was doing all of this, I was simultaneously checking the Carnegie classifications of these schools so I wouldn't waste my time looking through more R2s. 

All of this searching and clicking led me to a total of 6 Good-Best matches for research that I have not previously applied to, and they are as follows: Arizona State University, Boston College (I've heard they treat their grad students like shit), Northwestern University (I will NEVER get in), Penn State University, Purdue University, and UC Santa Cruz. The absolute best matches are ASU and Penn State. 

If any of you have experience with these schools and are willing to share, please email me. I will keep it confidential. 

I have not yet been able to muster up the motivation to go dig out my APA Guide To Graduate Study in Psychology to find out their average GRE scores and all that happy horse shit. I shoved it into a box somewhere when I was done with applications and really believed I would never have to look at it again. 

Regardless, I know I need to work on boosting my math score without losing the verbal skills that got me the score I obtained last time. I haven't the slightest clue where to begin, because the books were mostly useless last time and even the computer simulations didn't help me get faster. 

If any of you have tips, resources, etc., that you think might help, please let me know. I'm strongly considering taking the written exam rather than the CAT because it will give me a little more time, will allow me to skip around the section, and will not cause me to develop a headache from staring at a wavy computer screen on a monitor dating back to 1985. The disadvantage is that supposedly it is more difficult to obtain a higher score on the written exam because the number of high-points questions is fixed. So I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do. 

Last year I was really excited to go through this process. It was hard and it was stressful, but it was a hopeful experience. This time I am pissed off, bitter, and annoyed that I once again need to convince these fucking people that not only CAN I do it, but I WANT to do it, and that my ability and desire are stronger than everyone else's. 

I hope to achieve it this time around by networking in advance. I have no idea how to do this, really, but my mentality has changed. Instead of being afraid to say something stupid or annoy a rockstar professor somewhere, I have decided that they are regular fucking people who just happen to be doing the job that I want, and I have nothing to lose. I am not a lowly undergrad, I am a potential future colleague. I intend to approach it that way. 


Comrade PhysioProf said...

I am not a lowly undergrad, I am a potential future colleague. I intend to approach it that way.That is a good attitude. But remember that during the admissions process and until you have a firm written offer letter, everything you say and do should be directed solely at convincing the PIs/institutions that you have a lot to offer them. They do not give a single flying fuck about your perceptions of what they have to offer you, and if they sense that you are focused on that, it will be a turn-off to them.

Once you have any offer, you can worry about what they have to offer you.

jess said...

I might be wrong (I took the GREs almost 6 years ago), but I thought that you couldn't take the paper GRE test in the US.

Something that helped me a lot with the GREs was practicing with the online format, since it's so different that the other standardized tests that people have experience with. I would suggest taking the sample tests they send you over and over again, even though you'll eventually start seeing repeat questions. I'd also recommend doing test prep with a book that comes with a CD or DVD to practice on your computer, just again to practice with doing this stuff in that format. I took the GREs twice, 6 weeks apart. Before the first time I studied content. Before the second time I practiced with computer materials. I ended up raising my verbal score (which was the weak point for me) by 130 points, and keeping my good math score exactly the same.

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