I was pretty surprised when I got my acceptance into graduate school —not just because I didn’t expect to get in, but also because I hadn’t spoken a word to anyone in the department. They let four people in a year and they don’t interview any of them. Now, that might be understandable for a graduate program in math or biology or even creative writing, but this is a program in counseling psychology. We’re talking about people who are training to become therapists. You’d think that you’d want to at least talk to the candidates for a minute to make sure they weren’t, you know, crazy… because let’s face it, we’ve all heard stories about therapists who need more work than their clients.
But despite what common sense might lead you to believe, the research suggests that interviews do a pretty poor job of predicting success in these types of graduate programs. And this was a school that was smitten with research. If something moved, they measured it. If two things moved, they correlated them. So, the interview process was scrapped.
In my mind, research meant musty library books and columns of numbers — not particularly interesting stuff. But before each one of my oral exams, I was reminded, “We’re not interested in what you think… we’re interested in what the research says.” Continue reading “Bringing Research to Life” »