Dear Inadequate Graduate,
I’m planning to attend graduate school this fall, but having a hard time deciding between programs. I was accepted to a school in my home state which is where I would eventually like to practice, but it is not as prestigious as a school that is half-way across the country that also interest me. My question is this: Should go to a doctorate program in the state where I eventually want to become licensed or should I go to a more reputable program?
This is a wonderful and multifaceted question. Many factors affect where we elect to attend graduate school, including location, cost, program specifics, and proximity to loved ones. I never intended to remain Washington DC where I went to graduate school, but I chose my particular program for the psychodynamic focus, the 4-year accelerated pace, and for the opportunity to live in a city I found interesting. I was happy with my choice because it satisfied a number of my interests, but based on what you’ve mentioned, I think one of the important things to consider is whether or not the schools you’re considering are accredited. This is imperative because coming from an accredited school will help you during internship application, as well as getting licensed in some states. Another thing to examine is you’re desire to practice in your home state. A lot can change in graduate school (often the span of 4-6 years for a doctorate) and it is also important to be open to opportunities that you might not expect, such as training opportunities or meeting someone who changes your future trajectory.
Additionally, state licensure requirements differ (e.g. some states require a post doctoral residency, others require taking a specific class such as cross-cultural psychology) so while it is wise to know what a particular state mandates, those can be facets to consider once you’ve decided on an accredited program. From what I witnessed with both myself and peers, people move all around after internship or graduation so you don’t necessarily need to go to school in your home state in order to practice there. I think focusing on reputable schools that have a good internship match rate is a solid place to start, as well as reaching out and speaking with people who have attended those programs. I know trying to decide where to attend grad school is stressful but remember that whatever you decide,
You. Are. Enough.
The Inadequate Graduate