My Path to MSPP

It’s only Tuesday, but I am already exhausted.  I had an interview at 9 this morning at a potential fourth year intenrship site, and while I was happy to have the opportunity to interview, I usually get to sleep in on Tuesdays, and I was less excited about missing my late morning slumber.  Currently, I’m finishing the last third of my shift at Joseph Smith.  Thankfully, today’s schedule was fairly light, so now I have time to drink some tea, relax a bit, and of course, write this post.

Anyhow, I heard that MSPP conducted its first round of admission interviews last weekend, which reminded me of my own path to admission at MSPP.  I thought it might be useful to share my story here, where current applicants will hopefully benefit from hearing it.  Once upon a time…

In 2008, after graduating from Goucher College with a Bachelors in clinical psychology, I moved into my then-girlfriend/now-wife’s apartment in Washington D.C. and began working as a psychiatric nursing assistant at St. Elizabeth’s, one of our nation’s oldest psychiatric hospitals.  I knew I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in psychology, but I was pretty sick of school and wanted a year away from academics.  I thought my job would be a nice way to take a break from school, make some money, and get some pseudo-therapeutic experience.

I did make decent money, and I did get some time away from school, but I hated my job.  The hours were terrible, the facilities were dirty, and the job involved more involuntary restraints and patient on staff assaults than I was comfortable with.  The details of this job are probably best left for another blog post; suffice it to say that the work was unsavory.

However, the job did motivate me to apply to grad schools.  By September of 2008, I was studying daily for the GREs, which I took a few months later.  After my second GRE attempt, I obtained a satisfactory score, and decided I was ready to apply to schools.  My wife found MSPP on a google search, and we both agreed that MSPP’s Psy.D. program was ideal for me.  I collected my application materials, sent them out, and a few months later, I flew to Boston for my interview.

At MSPP’s interview day, after schmoozing with other applicants and eating a mediocre, (but free), turkey sandwich, I sat down for my group interview.  At this point, prospective students were broken into groups of five or six, and each group was taken to a separate room with two faculty members.  I was nervous; the group interview format seemed weird to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  A part of me worried that MSPP faculty members would use some type of sneaky social psychology tactic to trick us into turning on one another.  My fears proved to be a bit silly.  In my group, we were given a challenging and multifaceted question to answer together in the alotted 30 minutes.  I believe this was done to assess our ability to collaborate and to give and take during group work.

Soon therafter, I had my individual interview.  I was so relieved to be done with the group interview that I barely rememeber the individual interview.  I do remember that an MSPP professor and all around good guy named Gary Rose interviewed me.  Since then, he has become my academic advisor and my doc project committee chairperson.  I guess I must have made a decent first impression.

After the interview, I took the T (Boston’s public transit system) to meet some friends in downtown Boston.  We ate dinner in Chinatown, and then my friend Mayank took me to Bodega, the coolest sneaker store I have ever been to.

So there you have it; this was how I transisioned from a burnt out college graduate to an MSPP student, spending an absurd amount of money on sneakers along the way.

I’d love some feedback about this post.  Was this interesting for people to read?  If you are a prospective student, was this helpful to you?  Is there something I’ve left out that you’d like to know about?  I’m happy to answer questions or take requests for future blog topics if anyone has suggestions.

About sskeenmspp

Hey everyone, my name is Sam Skeen. I’m currently a third year PsyD student. I’m primarily interested in individual therapy with adults and adolescents and assessment with people of all ages. This year, I’m doing my field placement work at Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, where I am learning to conduct therapy in Spanish. I also have a part time job at MSPP’s Academic Resource Center, where I help other MSPP students complete challenging academic tasks. In my spare time, I like to exercise, cook, mess with my cat (an activity that once screened me as a potential sociopath on a personality test), update my fantasy hockey lineup obsessively, and of course, satiate my Words with Friends addiction.
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  17. Wow man, Great post!! be looking back at the experience from the vantage of being well into the program.

  18. Cindy says:

    We are flying out to Boston this coming weekend. My daughter has an interview on March 3rd at 8am ….Hope there isn’t too much snow coming from this storm,

  19. sskeenmspp says:

    I’m glad it was helpful! I’ll post an entry about finding a living situation in Boston now. Hopefully that will be useful information as well.

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  21. Hello! To answer your question, yes! This was a very helpful blog. I was just recently accepted into the psyd program at MSPP for next fall. I am excited to say that I am 90% positive that I will be enrolling. Can you recommend how I should approach a living situation? I am coming from New York so I would prefer to move in with other students (either from MSPP or another school) but def. people who are like minded and can respect a hard working student who needs to study! Any suggestions would be helpful! Thank you.

  22. great idea posting this blog. very informative and very helpful and full of ideas to share with the readers. keep it up!

  23. KBL says:

    Thank you for the information. I am interviewing at MSPP on March 9th. I am down to MSPP and one other school to which I have already been accepted. (I got interviews at all of the APA accredited schools to which I applied.. but have turned down all but MSPP and one other.) I really think MSPP is right for me.. so any info is good.


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  31. sskeenmspp says:

    Thanks tj!

    Yes, you’re right, it is certainly easier to think back on this than it was to deal with it at the time. I hope it’s been manageable for you, that is if you are in the process now.

  32. tj says:


    Thank you for the post, really interesting and informative. It’s great, i’m sure, to be looking back at the experience from the vantage of being well into the program. Great post.

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