Student Selection Process

Committee Review

Our program aims to admit between 5-6 new students each year. The selection of students begins with the review of complete applications by our program's admissions committee. Our program does not employ a set of formal "cut-offs" with regard to any of the quantitative application elements (e.g., GRE scores or undergraduate/graduate GPA). Often a strong record in one area may make up for a weakness in another area. However, considerable attention is given to upper-division coursework, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and the applicant's personal statement. The committee will also evaluate each candidate's potential for research and the extent to which stated research interests align with the focus of core faculty.

Faculty Mentor Review

The program embraces a mentorship-training model. From the applicant pool, individual faculty members select students with congruent research interests to consider for admission to the program. Thus, a student's personal statement should indicate his or her research interests and training, as well as his or her choice(s) of the faculty mentor with whom they are most interested in working.

This mentor admissions system does not mean that each faculty member will admit one student each year. Some faculty may wish to admit more than one student. Faculty who are currently supervising a large number of students may not admit any. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact prospective mentors to learn whether that faculty member plans to accept new students for the coming year. Often that information will be available on the faculty member's website, so please check there first.

Applicant Interviews

Each faculty member who is accepting new students typically invites 3 to 4 applicants to visit the UTRGV campus and participate in our annual applicant visiting day. Visiting day typically occurs on a Friday and is a daylong program of activities that includes an orientation, question-and-answer period, opportunities to meet the faculty, and a tour of the Department, campus, and community clinic. Final applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the campus; however, phone/Skype interviews can be arranged in exceptional circumstances.

Offers

The core clinical faculty members meet following visiting day and select which students will be offered admission based on the applicants' submitted materials, fit with a faculty mentor, and impressions from personal interviews. Applicants are notified of the decision toward the end of February or beginning of March. Those offered places are strongly encouraged to notify us of their decisions as soon as possible, but have until April 15 to make a decision about whether to accept the offer.

Because some students with offers elect to go to other programs or change their career plans, a list of "alternate" students is also generated. Students on the alternate list will be informed as early as possible that they are being considered as an alternate. These applicants may be offered admission to the program when an offer extended to another applicant is declined. When all places have been filled, students on the alternate list will be informed that they are no longer under consideration for admission.

Policy Regarding Admissions Offers and Acceptances

The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) has adopted a set of procedures designed to facilitate the Graduate Admissions process by outlining expectations of both applicants and programs. Our program adheres to these CUDCP-adopted guidelines, which are summarized below.

  1. In most CUDCP programs, a subset of applicants will be invited for an interview. Within a few weeks of the final interview dates, applicants will be notified regarding the status of their application. You may be offered admission, declined admission, placed on a wait list, or in some cases, a decision has not yet been reached regarding your application.
  2. Training programs will notify students no longer being considered for admission as soon as possible. In some cases, this information is communicated by the university graduate school and can take several weeks to be processed. In some cases, you may be able to get updated information on the status of the application process (e.g., whether all interview invites have been extended; whether all offers have been extended), on a clinical program's website, or by contacting a program administrator. Beware of information posted on student-focused online forums that may be inaccurate or incomplete.
  3. Offers of admission can be extended during a large time period. Most initial offers of admission are extended by April 1. Offers may be communicated by phone or email, but should be followed up by a written confirmation within 48 hours.
  4. You should not be pressured, nor feel compelled to accept an offer of admission before April 15! This applies to offers of admission and to funding offers that accompany admission. It is impermissible for programs to request a decision prior to April 15 or to indicate that funding will be available only if students make decisions earlier than this date. Violations of this policy should be reported to CUDCP immediately and your identity will be protected. Of course, it is permissible for you to accept an offer as soon as you are certain of your decision (i.e., even before April 15). But the decision to do so should be based on you, and not due to pressure placed upon you by a training program.
  5. Do not hold more than two offers for more than one week unless there is specific information (e.g., a visit is scheduled, funding decisions) you are waiting to receive from the program. Difficulty making up one's mind is not considered an adequate excuse to limit the options available to other applicants.
  6. Once you have accepted an offer of admission to a training program, you should inform all programs in which you are still being considered. Be sure to inform programs either that you are declining outstanding offers of admission or you no longer wish to be considered for admission.