It’s true- IUP informed me I was 18th on their waiting list. My second choice flat-out rejected me. As did my third choice. And my fourth, and my fifth, and my sixth, and my seventh and so on down the line. It’s really very disheartening, though not entirely unexpected. As a sociology major trying to go into clinical psychology, I’m not exactly in the target group these schools are looking for.
The biggest reason for my rejection, I suspect, is my complete lack of research experience. The two interviews I went to with the programs both cited it as a concern. The second reason I’m not overly surprised by my rejections is that I was applying exclusively to PhD and PsyD programs, rather than the more attainable masters programs.
Currently all hope is not lost- two of the schools that rejected me have suggested I apply to their masters programs instead, so I’m waiting to hear back from them. If that falls through, I have another plan. It goes as follows:
1. Cry for approximately a week. Feel like a failure and be horribly disappointed.
2. Apply for work and attempt to get a job in a related field.
3. Apply to graduate programs again.
Not getting in on the first try is a new experience for me. When I was applying for college, I cockily only applied to one school and got in. It was pretty rough to discover that not everything is always going to go my way. But I’m very lucky in that I have a great support system- something very important when your plans go awry. Both my mom and my professors are already encouraging me in my back up plans, and telling me that “many different routes lead to my desired ending, so don’t get too discouraged.”
For those of you who have been rejected as well, my first bit of advice is “It’s okay to feel down.” My mom passed that one on to me, and I found it invaluable. If you’re really hoped and worked for something, feeling let down is to be expected. However, once you move past that phase, it’s important to start planning again. Start applying again, to different schools if it makes sense. Get a job and save up to try again. Look around and see what is the best method of getting what you want.
For anyone gearing up to apply to graduate schools for the first time, make sure you’ve got solid recommendations. Make friends with your professors- their recommendations will mean a lot. Show off how well-rounded you are- just getting good grades isn’t enough anymore. You’ll need to be involved in on campus organizations at the very least.
To those of you in the same boat as me- don’t give up! To those about to apply, good luck!