Feature

A unique program is successfully introducing ethnic-minority college students to doctoral program training directors trying to attract them.

In the three years since the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) began hosting the Diversity Clinical Psychology Reception at its annual meeting, the program is "both getting students who otherwise wouldn't apply to those programs to apply and getting program directors who otherwise wouldn't see these students to get to know them," says Emilio Ulloa, PhD, an assistant professor at San Diego State University.

The reception-which Ulloa likens to "academic speed dating"-usually draws about 30 students and 40 training directors. The two-part event starts in the afternoon when students meet with Ulloa to get advice on topics such as applying for graduate school. He also briefs them on questions they should expect from the training directors, such as queries about the students' research interests-questions that help directors "have a sense for the fit, not just with the department but with a particular faculty member," Ulloa says.

After a break, the second half of the reception features a meet-and-greet with program directors. There, students who have brought posters talk with training directors about their research interests and work. But even students who don't have posters enjoy designated time with training directors.

The personal connections students make at the reception might convince them to apply to schools they might not have considered before, Ulloa says. Likewise, theevent gives training directors a chance to talk to individual students about their research, outside of the immediate considerations of grade point averages and GRE scores usually driving student admissions, he says.

Results from a CUDCP survey earlier this year-which received responses from 48 of the 73 individual students who have attended the receptions-has found that one-third of respondents have applied to and expect to start a PhD program this fall; one-third have applied to a PhD program and await a decision; and the remaining third either applied and were rejected or didn't apply. Some of the students who did not apply to clinical psychology programs are either going to master's programs, going to other PhD programs like counseling or have decided the PhD is not for them at all, Ulloa says.

--C. Munsey