Applying for internship can be an intense and arduous process, so it requires considerable forethought and planning. Students will apply for their internship during the beginning of their fifth or sixth year in the program. Before you can apply, you must have successfully passed your dissertation proposal by October 15th of the application year.
Clinical internships and the Internship application process are regulated and managed by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC; http://www.appic.org/). There are several hundred internship sites and several thousand internship applicants each year. APPIC administers a selection process in which applicants rate the internship sites they would like to consider attending, the internship sites rate the applicants they would like to admit, and a computer algorithm is used to match students who rated a site highly with internship sites that rated the student highly. Securing an internship is a competitive process. UMass Amherst clinical psychology students have been very successful in obtaining the internships and generally 80-90% of our students match with internships the first time they apply and all of our students have matched eventually. However, the internship application process requires considerable planning, careful preparation of your application, and consideration of a range of placements.
Some General Guidelines for Planning for Internship
Successfully securing an internship placement requires planning. It is essential to keep track of information about your clinical work in practicum and the administration of psychological assessments as you go through the program. This will make it easier to report your clinical achievements on the APPI (online application).
The DCT will help you prepare for internship applications starting in May of the year that you will apply and will meet with you periodically after that. The APPIC website provides useful information on the application process that you can access at any time. Students can explore this site to identify potential internship sites, to become familiar with the APPI, and begin to consider how you might respond to the essays on the application. During the summer prior to your application, you should decide on the sites to which you are going to apply. There are a wide variety of personal and professional considerations that students take into account when deciding which and how many internship sites to apply to. We will consult with you and help you with these decisions although generally folks apply to 12-15 sites.
You will append a current vita to the APPI. So, you should review your vita routinely and be sure to add professional achievements such as presentations, publications, and other educational experiences.
It is important to request letters of recommendation from faculty and adjunct supervisors early in the process. Be sure to give your recommenders the deadlines by which you need the letters.
Completing the AAPI – On Line
Completing the internship application process requires considerable organization. You will be asked to collate the variety of clinical experiences you have had, you’ll need to provide transcripts of your coursework, you’ll be asked to provide a vita, you will need to provide references, and you’ll need to have the Program’s approval for you to go on internship. You will write four essays as part of the APPI online, one of which is an autobiographical statement about your professional development. In these essays, it is critical to demonstrate how your interests, experiences, and training needs are a strong match with the programs to which are you applying.
Interviewing for an Internship and the Match Day
Internship interviewing often begins in December and generally continues throughout January. Traveling to various internship sites can be logistically complicated and can result in considerable expense. Most sites seek individual interviews. A few places interview applicants in groups. Some sites have informational sessions that are more or less required and involve minimal evaluative interviews. Remember you are interviewing the people at the site as well as being interviewed by them so you must be prepared to ask them questions. It is to your advantage, as well as the site's, to learn whether or not the internship site is a good match for you. Check the APPIC Match Policies on the web site for information about interviews, offers, and the Match.