MU
Oak Leaves

May 5, 2017


Seniors Accepted to Ball State; Ready to Pursue Their Passions


Shelby Harrell


Fresh from receiving their bachelors of science degrees in psychology, a group of highly accomplished students who are currently pursuing professional careers in the fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience will take their places on Ball State University’s campus as members of their Masters of Clinical Psychology program.

As a program, Ball State University’s Clinical Psychology Master’s degree has a rich legacy and a history of graduating highly capable individuals who are well prepared to either enter the workforce or pursue their doctorate. “Ball State has a very high success rate for their graduates in the Psychology Program,” senior Megan Smith remarks with an excited smile. “Many students from Manchester’s psychology department have attended their various psychology programs and had amazing experiences.”

Smith, who will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in both athletic training and psychology, hopes to obtain a career that will enable her to help people by studying the effects of injury on the brain. “My athletic courses provided me with the knowledge and passion to help people,” Smith said. “In particular, my passion to study mild traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”
 
Smith attributes her success in gaining admission into the program to Manchester’s department of psychology. “My courses in psychology provided me with the skills needed to become a researcher and develop skills in the lab, communication and presentation,” Smith said earnestly. “I chose clinical psychology because it is a rigorous field that trains students to become researchers while also providing a large background of information.”
 
A degree such as a master’s degree or a doctorate, places a greater emphasis on the field of research as opposed to a newly accredited degree called a PsyD, which is heavily focused on practice. Senior April Mullen, who will also be a student of Ball State’s Masters of Clinical Psychology program this fall, explains her decision to pursue the former. “I am more included to get a PhD than a PsyD,” Mullen said, “because I am more interested in research than in practice.” 

From the time she entered middle school, Mullen knew that she wanted to study psychology. However, taking a few courses at Manchester helped her decide which field she ultimately wanted to go into. “I realized that I enjoy cognitive neuroscience,” Mullen said fondly, “but I did not know I wanted to be a neuropsychologist until I took Rusty’s neuropsychology course.” Though research holds more of an interest to her, Mullen also hopes to be trained in practice.

As yet another student pursuing a master’s degree of clinical and mental health counseling from Ball State University, senior Tiffany Harber simply describes her enjoyment of helping people. “I like helping people,” Harber said, “and I like learning how the brain works.” 

Aside from the program’s record and its highly respected reputation as an institution, there are many other reasons behind the student’s choice in program. “Ball State is close,” Harber said. “I really enjoyed the people there and I like the atmosphere.” Smith, who will be getting married this fall, made her choice partially due to its proximity as well. “I wanted a program that would best allow me to get into the PhD program I want to be in,” Smith said, “but still allow for me to be near my family and my fiancé.” 

The program, however, has a reputation of being highly selective in their admissions screening. By only accepting 8 to 10 applicants annually per year, the student to professor ratio stays relatively low. Mullen’s application process began in a simple way, with her submitting her application online. “I was not required to submit a general personal statement,” Mullen said, “but I was required to answer specific questions that would normally be incorporated into the statement.”
 
In contrast, those who wish to pursue a master’s degree in clinical and mental health counseling must go through the process of being personally interviewed in addition to writing a personal statement. “I had to create a personal statement,” Harber said. “I also had to create a vita, write some essays and do some group interviews at Ball State.”

According to Smith, the application process is the hardest part. Smith, who applied for 5 programs in total, was interviewed for one PhD program. “I felt Manchester definitely prepared me for this part of the application process,” Smith said. “We had to complete resumes for each department, and tailor them to the program.”