27 February 2008

Hazard, Duchess of

cheryl, a childhood friend who currently lives in ohio, had written me with some questions about what exactly the match met and that led to other questions about his program, the phd process, and such.  cheryl is an engineer, and now, a lawyer as well.  so the references to briefs and bars are in that context.  below is the letter:

i'm sorry, sometimes i get so involved in my own stuff that i forget that others might know what i am talking about.  the match process is very lengthy and intricate.  it started last fall.  appic is the governing body over the match process. you do your internship after your classes, after you comprehensive and qualifying exams, after you defend your diss proposal; then you apply for internships.  appic controls the entire process.  you must complete  a predoctoral internship at an apa approved site that is listed with appic.  all the USA, puerto rico, canada (and i am sure i am forgetting someone) candidates must go thru this process.

the appic application is 30 pages, with 10 essays.  attached to that should be your 3 or 4 letters of references, your official transcripts, your vita, your cover letter, and anything else they ask for (some sites ask that you send a case report, i think that might be comparable to a brief).  it is an expensive process, and my guy felt it was more intense than applying to grad programs to start with!

he applied to 15 sites that were listed with appic.  you can visit the appic.org site for an idea what the actual site listings are like, it might give you a better idea than my description.  you must apply before the deadline (there were three waves, mid-oct (which my guy couldn't make because he was still defending his proposal and your profs must sign off in order to start the application process), mid-november, and beginning of december).  by the middle of december, all sites review the apps and then decide who they want to interiew.  then they notify you.  all sites you applied to must respond to you to let you know whether or not they want to interview or if they decline your application.  he had applied to 15.

eight places called for interviews, and he flew to maine.  he drove to all the other interviews.  they were at:  little rock, atlanta, knoxville, memphis, augusta (ga), biloxi, whitfield (ms).  by the beginning of feb, you must rank all your interviewed sites in order of preference.  by the middle of feb, the sites must rank all their interviewees.  you may not contact the sites after you interview (so you have no feedback from them) and they may not contact you (so they have no idea how you rank them).  then appic takes all the rankings and using whatever algarithm or matrix or whatever magical device they use, they match folks to sites.  it is a binding process, there is no other choice, either you match or you don't.  you must accept your match.

so my guy ranked his eight places.  then friday 22 feb, all applicants can look online at the appic site and see whether they matched.  then mon 25 feb, they (appic) posts where you matched and when you start (provided that on fri 22 feb you did indeed match).  if you discover on friday 22 feb, that you did NOT match (that is that you didn't match ANY of the sites you interviewed with, any of the sites you ranked~~which most people rank all the interviewed sites, so my guy ranked all 8 that he interviewed with); if you did not match, then you have the weekend to get prepped for clearinghouse, which opens online on monday morning.

clearinghouse consists of all the positions at the sites that were not matched/filled.  monday morning, on the clearinghouse site, there were over 800 applicants who had not matched and about 200 positions (at 120 sites) that were not filled.  so the competition is fierce.  you may only ONLY send a cover letter and a vita, combined into one document, which may be no more than ten pages (you may not include letters of reference or the original 30 pg appic application, or your transcripts, or your psych eval rport, or anything else:  only the cover  letter and vita).  monday morning it is like the stock market, when it opens there is a flurry of activity.  it is the first time you may see the list of positions and sites.  you must sort and send you email document (coverletter is combined with vita into one document) to which ever sites you want (my guy emailed over 20 of the 40 apa accredited sites).  some sites receive hundreds of applicants within the first hour.  then sites are free to call applicants and ask fro more info.  at that time you can send the other stuff that you couldn't to start with.  there is intense negotiation and then sites sometimes fill with someone else, decide not to fill at all, or whatever.

there was a site in san antonio that was very interested then decided on someone else.  there was a site in wyoming that asked for more and more info and then decided not to fill at all.  there was a site in southern mississippi that by the time my guy applied (2 hours after clearing house opened), they posted to say they had filled their positions.  monday evening ended with the folks from hazard, ky telling my guy they would let him know in a few hours.  then they called back to say that they couldn't get in touch with one of their supervisors so they would call my guy in the morning (tue) with a decision.

the thing is, if you accept one offer and then someone contacts you to say that they want you and that is the one you'd prefer, you cannot break the first offer's acceptance (it is a binding verbal contract).  so, do you take a chance that the one you think you might wnat and who has been very encouraging and acting like that want you (and so take the chance that the first offer might go to someone else and you won't be matched to the other, as well)?  fortunately, that didn't come down to that for my guy because he didn't have preferences and attachments, he just wanted to place.  period.

so tuesday morning, hazard, ky called and offered the position.  my guy accepted.  now within a few days, they must send the written contract and he must sign.

if you do not match, and then do not place within the clearinghouse; you are thru for that year and must try the next year.  most people who do not match, make use of their time in constructive ways (finish dissertation and defend it; take the licensure exams; do anotehr practicum, etc.).  however, you cannot receive your phd until you've successfully interned within the appic process.

in order for my guy to be eligible for his phd, he must also complete his dissertation (and defend it successfully); he defended the proposal last fall and has received irb approval (this is the internal review board which scrutinizes the proposal for what you wish to do and ascertains that there is no harm to the subjects/participants and it is very tricky to perform experiments and still get irb approval, esp for your dissertation).  he has set up the rest of the study and gotten approval from the institution which he will be using for the site of his experiments.  he is set to begin the actual collection of data in march and it runs thru june.

in order for my guy to be eligible for his licensure, he must have completed all phases of his phd, have had supervision post-doc, and passed the eppp (exam that is national, but state specific; much like the bar i would imagine).  because he is on education leave, he must return to work the same amount of time he has taken for ed leave.  he chose the minimum three year option.  that was a different process of approval, but you cannot arbitrarily change the terms of that contract.  so if he didn't place this year for the internship, he would have had to go thru the process of asking for anotehr year for ed leave and that might not have been granted because it is a decision that must pass at several levels, including the state department.  it was very important for him to get the internship NOW for several reasons.

my guy started the phd program in the fall 2004.  for the first two years (til fall 2006), he continued to work (at NMRC) while he went to school.  then, he was to start his first practicum, and it would have been impossible to work, do his practicum, and go to school.  so he took educational leave (ed leave).  summer 2006 to summer 2007, he did his first practicum (with communicare, a community-based outpatient counseling facility several counties away).  he also finished his course work, published a chapter, worked as a consultant for head start, evaluated cases, conducted assessments, and counseled clients on campus that year.  the following year, summer 2007 to summer 2008, he has been during his second practicum (two are required), assistant clinical director of the psychological service center on campus.  he also passed all his comprehensive and qualifying exams, continued to do presentations at various conferences (including one in san diego, and one in texas dallas, i think) and all that other stuff, including defending his proposal, applying to internships, etc.  for the rest of that time (til summer 2008), he will finish the data collection for his diss, finish his second practicum, and finish another chapter, as well as the other stuff that i can't remember right off the top of my head.  then the third year of his ed leave, summer 2008 to summwe 2009, he will be doing his internship, writing his diss, and defending his diss, and maybe studying and taking his eppp.

once he has received his phd, and he has returned to nmrc (he is under contract to return in fall 2009 and serve his three years that he had taken ed leave), he has already been tapped for the linkage position between nmrc and ole miss.  there is tremendous pressure every step of the way because things happen and you have to stay the course becasue to not do so is not an option.  you end up in violation of this contract or that, if you need to take another year and cannot fulfill the ed leave terms, then you forfeit and are penalized a large monetary amount as well as ruining your career and your rep.

so, no pressure huh?

so we are very very glad that we've gotten thru this gauntlet this time.  and that we live to face another challenge.  my guy's dissertation is now one of the primary focuses and we are hoping for as smooth a sailing as possible.  dissertations are seldom without their own pitfalls, unforeseen problems with data collection are bound to happen and i know of no instances where there has not been a problem with a dissertation, there is almost always some delay of sorts.  so we are planning for the data collection to be march to june, with july serving as a bit of a cushion.  the actual dissertation must be completed and approved by the committee and defended successfully sometime in the early spring next year, with the rest of spring and summer as a cushion.  he must receive his phd by fall 09, in order to fulfill the ed leave contract.

well, that was lots and i hope it wasn't terribly confusing


  1. Actually Deb, it cleared up a lot for me.  But I am thinking ... one must be truly dedicated to their obtaining a PhD to go through that kind of a process.  I highly doubt I would have the stamina ... physical or mental.  

    CONGRATS to your Guy! (and you, of course)

  2. There is a tremedous amount of information there but it does clearly illustrate the process of a PhD candidate.   I have been seeing a pain and stress consular since 1993.    He had a brain tumor shortly after that and nearly died.    He went on to get his PhD. and has his own practice in a group of housing in the country near his home.    His fee is $75/hour, but for his poor self pay clients like me, he charges only $50/hour.   Right now I can only afford to see him once every 2 months.   (He cannot accept my Medicaid card because he did not choose to do an Internship -making him eligible to accept State Medicaid funding.   However, Rehabilitation funding did pay for me to see him weekly in the beginning years and on for another 7 years almost.) He is easy going and at points during our session he may write down some things about our conversation.    Why would someone want to go to a Pyschologist?     I am asking myself a question so that I can answer it you understand.    Because it helps me to explore myself by sounding my most important thoughts to a person that is not outer influenced in their response to me by their own relationship to me or others.    There is a lot I don't understand about myself.     In 1973 I lost conciousness when a semi-truck ran over our car at 70 m.p.h.    In one second my mind processed information that has taken me all this time to remember.    After the wreck my entire life was changed.    In 1971 I was hit by a hit and run driver on the Interstate while on my motorcycle.    The trauma had a similar impact on my life but I did not become unconcious.   The wreck in 1973 caused me brain injury and what is now called PTSD.   I have reached my limit of sitting at the computer right now and will return to my heating pad for my back which is causing me a problem.    I am not on th

  3. I see that my words were cut off.    In conclusion :    I am not on the computer much right now and have not been making entries.    I get around to visiting J-land people as I can.     mark

  4. You reminded me of Doc's match program decades ago when he started his residency program.  People do not realize how much stress this process is.  Well, glad THAT part is over.   Anne

  5. I meant KENTUCKY, not Memphis....
    See told you the brain ain't workin'...

  6. This hardly made any sense to me... but it was beautifully written.  So it wasn't you, it was my brain.  And the late hour.  And a stressful day.  So it's Memphis... and what does it mean to you in Mississippi?  How far will you guys be apart now?


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!