Hello and WELCOME to PsychAssist. As you know it’s application season and for many hopefuls, this is the first time that you’re applying for the clinical psychology doctorate course. Well (as always), PsychAssist is here to help! Within this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about that so called “scary” application form. We have also gathered some top secret tips from our clinical psychologist friends who just so happen to be selectors for different Clinical Doctorate courses.
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Application season is well and truly upon us and the first thing that you NEED to know is when the application deadline is. In a nutshell, the application season starts each year between the beginning of September until the end of November. References are also required to be completed by the end of December (in most cases).
So, we can imagine that even before the application process began, you would have a slight inclination of where you would like to apply for (if not then check out the courses section on the Leeds Clearing House Website). However, it’s not unusual for applicants to change their minds at the last moment or change where they want to apply for from the previous year. We have heard so many stories of applicants changing their choices and getting onto the new course as they didn’t realise that they actually fit their ethos. This is why it’s very important to read and re-read about the different courses available.
PsychAssist Tip: Don’t just read the entry requirements of the different courses. We know it can be easy to think “I’ll take any course that will have me” but from the advice we’ve received from qualified clinical psychologists, the ethos of the course is the most important thing to look at when considering courses.
Every applicant needs 2 references when applying. Some courses will ask for at least one reference to be from your CURRENT EMPLOYER to gain the most up to-date picture of yourself. Now, in some circumstances, those courses will accept references from previous employers or from other people if a sufficient reason is given. The second reference is usually from an academic perspective. The reason being, the course is still a doctorate course and therefore has a high expectation academically of its students. This is why it would strengthen your application if you were to have an academic submit your second reference and for them to comment on your academic abilities.
PsychAssist Tip: Make sure you speak with your references before you type in their email address. This is particularly close to us as we didn’t realise that reference requests get sent out before you click submit as I received an email from my academic reference about an email she received before I had approached her for a reference. As you can imagine, I just wanted to the world to swallow me in that moment!!
This is by far the most stressful and difficult part of the application. The personal statement comprises of 6 sections which asks various questions to examine your personal, clinical and academic attributes. The main difficulty is the very limited word count that you have as its very hard to express yourself in 3000 characters! This is also the section that many applicants will write and then re-write multiple times whilst constantly seeking the advice of others on how to express themselves. This can be beneficial at times however can easily be the downfall of your application. We know many selectors for different courses and they constantly tell us about robotic applications they have read and how scripted they are. Don’t fall into this trap!
PsychAssist Tip: Just be you! try to take little snippets from other people but ultimately it’s your name on the application. Let your personality shine through as ultimately that’s what they want to see! Show them that you’re a human being that can reflect on the experiences you have! There’s a reason why they ask about other things that you do outside the world of psychology (and no that doesn’t mean to brag about your trip to Bali) so let them know about your crazy obsession of 80’s trivia.
This is another difficult section for some applicants as some haven’t been in education for years and may not have the documents needed to apply for the doctorate. This actually happened to one of the PsychAssist Team as they had misplaced their Uni transcripts and was forced to enter a lengthy pursuit to gain a copy from their university that they had graduated from years prior. As you can imagine this was a very stressful for him and really put a dampener on the whole application process. Nevertheless, the application requires a good (clear) copy of your undergraduate transcript to evidence your degree classification.
PsychAssist Tip: If you can, ask your undergraduate university for a letter asking for confirmation of GBC status as there is a common myth that you need to have BPS membership to apply for the doctorate. This is completely false and a simple letter from your university confirming your accreditation. Also make sure that you leave as much time as possible in between the application deadline and getting in contact with your university.
Tune in Thursday for more great content!