Where am I going wrong?

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Khylovegood
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Where am I going wrong?

Post by Khylovegood » Mon May 18, 2020 5:35 pm

I was wondering if I could get some feedback because I am feeling so dejected from all the rejections.
I applied for an AP post and I thought in my opinion that I had written a personal state to at least be shortlisted for an interview. No surprise to anyone, I was not shortlisted for an interview, when I asked for feedback I was told that they had a large number of people apply- it was an internal application so I am shocked at the large level but not surprised.
The feedback stated that candidates who were offered an interview had:
- Extensive experience of working on adult inpatient wards
- Had a very good degree often with a postgraduate study
- Completed extra psychologically relevant training.
- Had experience of carrying out psychological interventions or assessments ideally under the supervision of qualified psychologist.

How on earth is one meant to gain such experience when the person spec did not ask for any of those as essentials. I highlighted my experience of working on inpatient wards as a Bank HCA, addition training I had completed, spoke of my co-facilitating a group alongside a psychologist. I understand that having a 2:2 would work against me, but I have worked as a substance misuse worker, bank HCA, special needs teaching assistant and now as a recovery coordindator which is a fancy of saying support worker in an CMHT. So where am I going wrong?

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Geishawife
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by Geishawife » Mon May 18, 2020 6:42 pm

I hate to be so brutally honest, but I think it's probably your 2:2. You don't mention here any further study (e.g. an MSc) and, I'm afraid without that your options will be severely limited. Very, very few employers will consider someone with a 2:2 when there are scores of people applying with 2:1s or 1sts. Plus, in these days of massive grade inflation a 2:2 really does stand out as a negative. I know that sounds very harsh and unfair but it is the reality. Similarly, you will find that some of the Clinical courses(I'm assuming that's your goal?) will not consider you with that class of degree.

On a more positive note, do bear in mind that an AP post is not essential if you want to do Clinical Psychology and there are some clinical courses that use selection tests and will not consider your degree grade s problem. But not all courses are the same and you have to be realistic here - a 2:2 and no further qualification is going to make life very hard for you.

If you are in a position to do so, I would strongly recommend you do an MSc to boost your academic profile. Also, look at what you are gaining from a job rather than what you are doing and present that in future applications. What you have posted above reads more like a list of duties. Describe how they have helped you develop and you might have more luck.

boayg
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by boayg » Sun May 24, 2020 5:33 pm

I would echo what geishawife is saying, but adding a few of my insights. Firstly, you definitely have a lot of relevant experiences so this is definitely a plus. Not many HCAs have opportunities in co-facilitating psychology groups so your team must see something in you!

Hundreds apply for AP posts (some ads close in under 24 hours), and applications are "longlisted" before being "shortlisted" based on the essential criteria listed. Depending on the organisation, longlisting individuals may be from HR or admin before they are sent to main shortlisters for the post.

I've been involved in the longlisting process for AP posts, and one of the first things we look at before reading an application form further is whether the person meets the minimum qualifications (e.g. minimum 2:1 in psychology or 2:2 plus merit in masters course relevant to psychologiy or MSc conversation course in psychology with merit - all must have GBC eligibility). If the person does not fully meet all of the essential criteria - then they are automatically screened out and then we move onto the next application. Once we finished the longlisting, the applications that pass the first stage will then move onto the shortlisting stage.

Yes you have a lot of transferable skills and relevant experiences, but perhaps your application didn't pass the longlisting stage due to your current degree classification. This is obviously very disappointing given that you perhaps have more experiences compared to other candidates who are being considered because they meet the qualification criteria compared to you.

Much like what geishawife said, my colleague got onto training without an AP post. If doing a masters is not desirable and feasible (as not everyone has the means to afford doing further studies), and DClinPsy is definitely the route you are pursuing, there are a few unis that do not require candidates having a 2:1 (or even consider looking at anyone's forms!). They use selection tests before their interviews (e.g. Lancaster University) and their ethos is that application forms do not accurately represent a candidate's potential so perhaps this is also an option for you to look into.

I hope this helps in some way.

xashx
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by xashx » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:06 pm

i really feel the need to offer you an alternative perspective. i’m happy to share with you that i have a 2:2 degree and, although the above replies do raise some good, valid points about how a 2:2 degree is viewed, please don’t feel ashamed of this or think you degree is worthless. This is a competitive game, but there may be a myriad reasons for your 2:2. I just want you to know that it’s not impossible, it’s just tricker and you have to sell yourself a little differently.
For context i am currrntly working as a band 5 assistant psychologist, my second band 5 AP post. before this, i was accepted on to the PWP training course with my 2:2 and without a masters and the only clinical experience i had was as a bank HCA. you have options. please don’t let anybody make you think you don’t.
i noticed you said you have worked as a bank HCA, in substance misuse, with people with special needs and in a community mental health setting? that is such a breadth of experience already, and i guess it’s more about thinking about how psychology can be applied across these different settings - for example in a substance misuse service i imagine trauma is highly prevelant, and you will have been thinking, consciously or unconsciously, about the psychological models of trauma and how they may be applied to a specific group. the same would apply to other roles. it’s all about how you apply the science to the population/role and how you have used psychology to understand experiences/enhance care/improve outcomes.
i really felt compelled to reply to you as i’ve continuously been told my 2:2 would hold me back - maybe it will when it comes to applying for training, but if psychology is what you want to do, please don’t let the degree classism stop you from pursuing it! if you want to PM me i’m happy to look over an application for you or just for general advice

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maven
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by maven » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:29 am

I'd be very cautious about taking the one exception as an expectation that progressing in this career with a 2:2 without an MSc is going to be anything other than incredibly difficult, to the point of being nigh on impossible. I don't know any CPs who will shortlist anyone with a 2:2 and no postgraduate qualifications. I wouldn't read any further down the form before putting it in the no pile, as I'd have 80 or more applicants with a 2:1 or better. Only one or two courses will even consider an application, and only if you score in the top percentiles on the assessments they set. Whilst there may be extenuating circumstances that you know contributed to your degree grade, it will require a lot of effort to explain them and compensate for that low degree mark.

Most courses want a high 2:1 and/or a merit or distinction at MSc level, and will find it hard to believe you can work at a doctoral level with a mark that is in the bottom 30% of graduates in your first degree. Even with a masters degree, only a minority of jobs or courses in clinical psychology will consider your application at all, and for every position you will be competing with a hundred other people with higher grades and/or masters level qualifications and (sorry to say it) better quality experience too. Also, and I mean this in a constructive way, you have made a lot of typos/grammatical errors in your post, and if you make these in an application it will also be a detracting factor.

You really need to think about whether this particular career option is going to be worth that fight, when you are starting a step behind everyone else, even if one or two people like xashx have progressed to some degree in a similar position, particularly when there are many equally satisfying and worthwhile career paths that lead to similar roles in therapy/mental health contexts that will not have that level of competition.
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boayg
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by boayg » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:49 am

xashx wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:06 pm
i really feel the need to offer you an alternative perspective. i’m happy to share with you that i have a 2:2 degree and, although the above replies do raise some good, valid points about how a 2:2 degree is viewed, please don’t feel ashamed of this or think you degree is worthless. This is a competitive game, but there may be a myriad reasons for your 2:2. I just want you to know that it’s not impossible, it’s just tricker and you have to sell yourself a little differently.
For context i am currrntly working as a band 5 assistant psychologist, my second band 5 AP post. before this, i was accepted on to the PWP training course with my 2:2 and without a masters and the only clinical experience i had was as a bank HCA. you have options. please don’t let anybody make you think you don’t.
i noticed you said you have worked as a bank HCA, in substance misuse, with people with special needs and in a community mental health setting? that is such a breadth of experience already, and i guess it’s more about thinking about how psychology can be applied across these different settings - for example in a substance misuse service i imagine trauma is highly prevelant, and you will have been thinking, consciously or unconsciously, about the psychological models of trauma and how they may be applied to a specific group. the same would apply to other roles. it’s all about how you apply the science to the population/role and how you have used psychology to understand experiences/enhance care/improve outcomes.
i really felt compelled to reply to you as i’ve continuously been told my 2:2 would hold me back - maybe it will when it comes to applying for training, but if psychology is what you want to do, please don’t let the degree classism stop you from pursuing it! if you want to PM me i’m happy to look over an application for you or just for general advice
In your circumstance, presuming that you fully completed your PWP course before working as an AP, your postgraduate qualification in PWP was most likely the reason that by-passed your 2:2 for any AP shortlisting, which is equivalent to obtaining a merit/distinction in masters - in the context of shortlisting.

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maven
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by maven » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:49 pm

Yes, good point, Boayg. I've seen a few people get into PWP training with a 2:2 and lots of experience, and if you do well at that course and gain experience as a PWP, then it is possible (though probably still quite difficult) to get an AP post. But there will be a very low number of clinical doctorate courses that will even consider your application, and most of those will expect you to score in the top ranks in their assessments to show your academic potential.
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Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

sorvio
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by sorvio » Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:07 pm

maven wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:29 am
I'd be very cautious about taking the one exception as an expectation that progressing in this career with a 2:2 without an MSc is going to be anything other than incredibly difficult, to the point of being nigh on impossible. I don't know any CPs who will shortlist anyone with a 2:2 and no postgraduate qualifications. I wouldn't read any further down the form before putting it in the no pile, as I'd have 80 or more applicants with a 2:1 or better. Only one or two courses will even consider an application, and only if you score in the top percentiles on the assessments they set. Whilst there may be extenuating circumstances that you know contributed to your degree grade, it will require a lot of effort to explain them and compensate for that low degree mark.

Most courses want a high 2:1 and/or a merit or distinction at MSc level, and will find it hard to believe you can work at a doctoral level with a mark that is in the bottom 30% of graduates in your first degree. Even with a masters degree, only a minority of jobs or courses in clinical psychology will consider your application at all, and for every position you will be competing with a hundred other people with higher grades and/or masters level qualifications and (sorry to say it) better quality experience too. Also, and I mean this in a constructive way, you have made a lot of typos/grammatical errors in your post, and if you make these in an application it will also be a detracting factor.

You really need to think about whether this particular career option is going to be worth that fight, when you are starting a step behind everyone else, even if one or two people like xashx have progressed to some degree in a similar position, particularly when there are many equally satisfying and worthwhile career paths that lead to similar roles in therapy/mental health contexts that will not have that level of competition.
Regarding the assessments, is this something all CP posts do? Are they basically IQ tests? I find that quite scary as it could simply invalidate any and all hard work and prior success there and then with nothing one can do about it.

You mention that there are other satisfying and worthwhile careers in mental health which are not as competitive - what are they? It all seems very competitive to me.

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maven
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by maven » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:17 am

Why not try reading some of the basic information about the profession such as that given in the wikis on this very site? We have a wiki all about other careers in mental health, and none of them are as competitive as psychology.

There are assessment days when applying to a small number of clinical doctorate courses, assessing competencies relevant to success on the course. They are not IQ tests, and the majority of clinical courses select based on the application form and expect evidence of both academic success and relevant experience when selecting the best 15% of applicants.
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Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by workingmama » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:17 pm

*Sorvio* Whilst assessments used are not IQ tests, you suggest that if they were this could invalidate years of hard work and prior success as if IQ and academic success are in no way related. A high level of academic attainment ('prior success' in this context) is superbly unlikely in the context of a low IQ. The are, undeniably, 'over-achievers' who have the benefit of factors such as socio-economic support to access excellent tuition, but that will only mitigate lower intellectual function to a point. Equally, I 'work' more than I am 'bright', so am working at the top of my intellectual capacity in a field where some of my colleagues clearly enjoy excellent intellectual function. I can make up for some of my likely relatively (to some peers) lower IQ, but again only to a degree. The course needs applicants who can work to a certain intellectual level AND can work reasonably hard for sustained periods, thus requiring evidence of both. I do agree with with the element of your post about there being 'nothing one can do about it' after a certain point. One can work hard, but we can all only do what we can do (I'm thoroughly rotten at lots of things that will never be in my reach, like applied mathematics).

If it's a case of having a level of ability but just not having evidenced this, that's rather different, in which case the only remedy (very sadly) is to save like the clappers and train more to show the evidence. This is where I do feel socio economic status comes in, very unfairly. One can be a slacker at 16 and afford to re-do things much more easily if the family can bank roll it. I was jolly slack as a teenager and took a disgusting amount of years to self-bankroll an OU degree to evidence my own bit of academic ability. Would have been much easier if I were the slack offspring of, say, Bill Gates. Presumably.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by lingua_franca » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:09 pm

Rather than asking yourself, "Which careers in mental health are less competitive than clinical psychology?" I'd try asking, "Which careers in mental health mesh with my abilities and skills?" Mental health nursing is a rewarding role, and much less competitive than clinical psychology, but I've worked with enough nurses to know that I wouldn't be great at it. Level of competition is a legitimate consideration (especially if you're a career changer with limited funds and want to move into a secure paid role relatively quickly) but it shouldn't be the only one, especially as you are much more likely to succeed if you choose a career that genuinely suits you.

On my conversion course I met several people who had enrolled in the belief that clinical psychology was basically a prestigious and well-paid type of counselling, and that educational psychology was therapy with children. They weren't prepared for the science and research methods involved (especially not quantitative methods), and they viewed these as hurdles that they had to clear before they could be highly paid counsellors. They didn't register that understanding, working with, and contributing to a scientific evidence base are an integral part of the psychologist's role. If they had, they might have chosen differently. As it was, they saw clinical psychology as some kind of fortress that was fenced in by all these unnecessary academic obstacles, which they might be lucky enough to penetrate if they just worked very hard. Make sure you know what's involved and whether it's likely to be a good fit for you before deciding to pursue it.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by Spatch » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:39 am

lingua_franca wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:09 pm

On my conversion course I met several people who had enrolled in the belief that clinical psychology was basically a prestigious and well-paid type of counselling, and that educational psychology was therapy with children. They weren't prepared for the science and research methods involved (especially not quantitative methods), and they viewed these as hurdles that they had to clear before they could be highly paid counsellors. They didn't register that understanding, working with, and contributing to a scientific evidence base are an integral part of the psychologist's role. If they had, they might have chosen differently. As it was, they saw clinical psychology as some kind of fortress that was fenced in by all these unnecessary academic obstacles, which they might be lucky enough to penetrate if they just worked very hard. Make sure you know what's involved and whether it's likely to be a good fit for you before deciding to pursue it.
This encapsulates perfectly so much of what I have observed too. They should have this as a mandatory preface to every undergrad Clinical Psychology module.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by mungle » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:37 pm

My frustration has been the opposite - that I thought the job would be very varied and involved all the elements but it turned out to be therapy with a little bit of other work tagged on, at least until someone reaches a much higher level. The emphasis was on churning out therapy sessions or maybe assessments and 1/2 day of the other work if you're lucky.

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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by sorvio » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:43 pm

workingmama wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:17 pm
*Sorvio* Whilst assessments used are not IQ tests, you suggest that if they were this could invalidate years of hard work and prior success as if IQ and academic success are in no way related. A high level of academic attainment ('prior success' in this context) is superbly unlikely in the context of a low IQ.
No doubt, but I still find the idea of being IQ tested at jobs scary and sort of Gattaca-esque, since it's entirely based on genes/environment and there's literally nothing you can do to change it. The idea of working incredibly hard for years in order to get ahead and overcome anything I lack only to be immediately shot down one day and have my dreams crushed because I scored 115 on an IQ test instead of 130 like some of the other applicants is very scary indeed. Further, I don't know how much I trust IQ tests and whilst I do quite well on verbal questions and some others, there are certain ones (namely spatial logic, having to rotate shapes in my head etc.) that I do very poorly on and might really bring my score down even though I don't think it holds much relevance to mental health careers. When it comes to socio-economic classes, IQ does tend to 'discriminate' from what I understand but I don't know whether this is simply due to richer people naturally being more intelligent.
lingua_franca wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:09 pm
On my conversion course I met several people who had enrolled in the belief that clinical psychology was basically a prestigious and well-paid type of counselling, and that educational psychology was therapy with children. They weren't prepared for the science and research methods involved (especially not quantitative methods), and they viewed these as hurdles that they had to clear before they could be highly paid counsellors. They didn't register that understanding, working with, and contributing to a scientific evidence base are an integral part of the psychologist's role. If they had, they might have chosen differently. As it was, they saw clinical psychology as some kind of fortress that was fenced in by all these unnecessary academic obstacles, which they might be lucky enough to penetrate if they just worked very hard. Make sure you know what's involved and whether it's likely to be a good fit for you before deciding to pursue it.
I think I'm somewhat like the people that were on your course. I personally like the scientific/research aspects, so that doesn't bother me, but nonetheless I have viewed the undergraduate course as almost unrelated to the actual role of a psychologist, only getting to the heart of it - therapy - when you get on to the PsyD. I've read this forum but I haven't really come across an in-depth 'day in the life' of a psychologist that would give me a good overview of what it's actually like to be one. Is there such a resource? Do clinical psychologists working in the NHS really contribute to a scientific evidence base or use the statistical and experimental skills they learn earlier on?
Spatch wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:39 am

This encapsulates perfectly so much of what I have observed too. They should have this as a mandatory preface to every undergrad Clinical Psychology module.
Well here's the problem. I'm going to be studying at the University of Bristol soon and, as far as I can tell, they do not have any clinical psychology modules. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that aspiring clinical psychologists look at these courses and their utter lack of clinical subjects as a hurdle.
Last edited by sorvio on Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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ell
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Post by ell » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:58 pm

There's a couple of posts in this Wiki about what CPs do in a typical week.

viewforum.php?f=19

For my part, I would say that less than half of my work is direct therapy work. I work in older adult services, both in community and on mental health wards. I do a lot of supervision, service development, MDT work, work with carers, neuropsychological assessment... oh and meetings.

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