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Should I attend the Extension School straight out of undergrad?

chatham0814chatham0814 0 replies1 threads New Member
edited August 25 in Harvard University
Hi everyone! I'm hoping I can receive some solid advice here as someone who is relatively unfamiliar with Harvard.

I am a current college senior, graduating early this December (I was originally c/o 2021). I am a psychology major with a double minor in neuroscience and biology, and I know that I want to go into clinical practice and/or research in the future. To me, applying to clinical psychology PhD programs seemed to be the quickest route to do so, and my intention has always been to send out applications to programs this fall (I still may do this). However, I have started to explore other options as well due to COVID derailing two major research opportunities I had planned (a publication included). Although I have quite a strong application and near-perfect GPA, I fear that may not be enough to give me a competitive edge over other older/more experienced doctorate applicants.

I recently stumbled upon HES and the ALM degree they offer in psychology. I spoke to a representative from admissions who informed me that I would be able to begin three courses in January 2021 following my undergraduate graduation the month before, and if I were to get a B or higher in all courses, would be given direct acceptance to the masters program. I will have to take the CRWS placement test in the next couple of weeks, and if I pass/decide to go through with the program, register for classes beginning in November. Unlike the usual HES student (I've been told most are parents, already work jobs, etc.), I would be taking classes full-time and could likely finish the degree in a year and a half to two years (that would mean taking around 16 credits/4 courses each semester, with the degree being 12 courses in total).

HES seemed like a good opportunity to take a meaningful "gap" year or two between my doctorate to gather more research experience/area knowledge, however I want to be sure that I'm making the right professional decisions.

I am mainly trying to figure out whether it is worth it to take a year or two to receive a HES degree. I want to keep my options open, but if something in my life changes and I no longer want to pursue my doctorate degree, will an ALM in Psychology leave me in good standing career-wise? I know that Harvard obviously carries prestige, but I've heard mixed things about HES and was hoping to get some real, honest answers as to whether or not it is worth it to attend.

I'd really appreciate any advice! TIA :)
edited August 25
1 replies
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Replies to: Should I attend the Extension School straight out of undergrad?

  • compmomcompmom 12056 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I don't think it is your best option. It is a master's in liberal arts, because. i believe, the extension school doesn't offer the intensity of focus of other programs.

    Graduating in December leaves some time that you can fill in a variety of ways. Are you definitely waiting to apply for a doctoral program?

    I understand the problem with COVID, as well as your desire to get certain experiences under your belt in order to apply. I would think you might be better off 1) taking classes online during COVID, possibly as an unmatriculated student 2) trying to get a job or internship in research or a treatment facility, when COVID allows 3) applying to an MS or even MSW depending on your interests (I realize funding is better for PhD).

    I honestly don't know as much about the psychology field as I do some others so hopefully someone else will come along. But from what you presented in your post I don't think HES is your best choice.

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