3. Who is a good fit as a graduate student in my lab?

This list is not exhaustive, and sometimes “fit” is not entirely quantifiable (much to my chagrin). With those caveats aside, some general indicators of good fit might be:

1. You want a research career focused on eating disorders and/or suicide. i.e., you want to publish papers, you want to be savyy with stats/methods, etc., and you want your expertise to be in eating disorders and/or suicide.

2. You have relevant experience. For example, you completed a senior thesis, worked as a post-bacc research coordinator, OR you have experience doing other things that required systematic adherence to a procedure or protocol (e.g., you did computer coding, you managed an extremely difficult scheduling system, etc.)

3. You are already savvy with stats and want to get even more savvy, and you want to apply your stats skills to topics like suicide and/or eating disorders. Stats interests and/or skills are especially desirable, given the intensive longitudinal data I’m currently collecting and plan to collect in the future and the big datasets I’m analyzing. If you have these interests and/or skills, please highlight them in your personal statement!

Examples of stats-savviness include (but are not limited to):

  • using R
  • data wrangling and management
  • writing and using syntax
  • big data
  • multilevel data
  • ecological momentary assessment data
  • longitudinal and time series data/modeling
  • idiographic methods
  • machine learning
  • data visualization

4. You can balance multiple demands and projects at once.

5. You don’t give up easily. I think lots of people drawn to clincal psychology are naturally curious. You’re always going to want to learn more about new topics, learn new methods, ask new questions, etc. In order to learn all this new stuff, you’re probably going to have to fail a lot. There’s going to be stuff you don’t know, stuff you messed up because you didn’t know, etc. Recovering effectively from those failures is crucial, if you’re to be successful in my lab (or most others). Recovering from those failures means being open to learning more, being open to fixing mistakes, being open to feedback, and persisting despite struggling. For instance, midway through grad school I taught myself how to use R. That learning curve was steep. There were many times when I didn’t know how to do something and spent hours googling to find the solution (which is still true…to use R is to google using R!). Even though the struggle is not enjoyable in the moment, finally figuring out the solution is so rewarding to me. I wouldn’t get that reward if I didn’t persist. I think that type of mentality will serve you well in my lab.

6. You want to do this work because you care about people and want to contribute to making the world a better place.

7. You care about reducing health inequities.

Lauren Forrest, PhD
Lauren Forrest, PhD
Assistant Professor