Starting the Search
Jul. 6th, 2008 @ 10:05 pm
I've just started seriously looking for a graduate school. I've got one semester left of undergraduate, then I'm hoping to work for a semester before starting a doctorate program. And I'm not even sure where to start looking for a graduate school. I have no problem with leaving the state, but I'm from the midwest, and would like to stay in the general area. I've been looking into Michigan State, but unless I'm able to get an awesome scholarship, they aren't a realistic option for me. So far I've been narrowing down my search by looking at schools accredited by APA and NASP.
I'm confident that my GPA/GRE/work and volunteer experience would make me a competitive applicant at almost any school, but I'm just having trouble narrowing it down.
So I was wondering if anyone who is attending (or has attended) a graduate school in the midwest would have any positive or negative reviews. My major concerns are funding through the school (TA positions available, fellowships, etc), the availability of professors to help guide research projects, and just the overall strength of the program.
I'm just a little lost in my search, and some reviews from actual students would give me more confidence in the programs than the websites designed by the schools.
Thanks so much!
i'm looking at schools in the midwest right now too- only for eds programs, not doctorate. one of my top programs right now is illinois state. i believe that they fund all students that get in, and most students can get assistantships as well.
i'll be curious to see what everyone else says... it's hard narrowing it down! the programs at the top of my list right now are: illinois state, indiana university, ball state, university of wisconsin whitewater, university of northern iowa.
I'm finishing up my graduate work at Illinois State, which currently is the only APA accredited school psych program in Illinois. I would recommend giving them a try. Unless they drastically change things for some reason, everyone gets a full tuition waiver as long as they work an assistantship. So that equated to no tuition plus a salary every month. Not much, but enough to live on when combined with federal loans.
Do you know what kinds of areas you want to get into academically? I can let you know if there are good folks on faculty to check out...
how do you like ISU? i am looking to apply for fall '09.
I enjoyed ISU, and the program is really well-regarded for putting out strong school psychologists. I would certainly recommend visiting the open house that they're having this fall...that'll be one of the most important things because you'll get a decent idea for how you might fit within the program.
If you have any particular interests within the field, I might be able to give you a name or two to email when you're feeling adventurous.
I hadn't been strongly considering ISU...I hadn't known much about the funding there (as I said, I'm just starting my search). Since I'm from IL, you'd think it would have been the first one I looked at, but I guess I've just kind of passed it by.
Other than the tuition assistance, what have you found to be some of the strengths of their program? Also, are you in the PhD or EdS program?
As of areas of academic interest, I'm still a little scattered. I have a few areas of interest for research, but I'm not overly certain of any of them. I've been thinking about early childhood, support systems for children with high functioning autism, and effects of turbulent home-lives on academic performance and peer relationships.
Thanks so much for your response!
First of all, just make sure that you apply to as many schools as you can :)
If you're looking stay in-state, I would recommend putting ISU at the top of your list if it remains the only APA-accredited program after this year. While the other programs in Illinois are very good, the accreditation will save you a good amount of grief when it comes to applying to internships and licensure.
I'm a Ph.D. student, just about done with my internship. However, I started in the SSP program (it's not an Ed.S. because the program is in the Psychology department, not Education). For the first two years, everyone is in the same classes and such, and then when the SSPs go off on their internships during the 3rd year, the doctoral students start to branch into their areas of specialty. The training is very good, as long as you're invested in it. Personally, I did feel that I could have stood to get more counseling training, but honestly, it is hard to get completely well-rounded just from coursework when there are so many facets to school psychology. A lot of your training will come from advanced practica and assistantships, which you will have a hand in choosing.
Personally, I dealt a lot with autism from early childhood through middle school (therapy, home/school consultation, etc.). There is a fast-growing autism clinic in the psychology department that is always looking for help. If you're interested in that type of thing, e-mail me and I'll let you know who you can contact if you want. There is also research always going on concerning all the ecological factors weighing on students. You'll usually see collaboration there with the Developmental Psych folks.
It sounds that your interests fit with a few faculty members, so I'd be confident that you'll find a good academic/dissertation advisor. I mentioned earlier to the person above that there's an open house in the fall (maybe October?). Even though you're not applying this year, you might still be able to check it out.
Let me know if you have any other questions!