The latest

Fewer psychology doctoral students landed internship positions through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) internship match program this year, as compared with the past several years.

The fact that there were 34 fewer positions this year than last-coupled with 121 more student applicants-meant that about 245 match-program participants did not receive internships through the APPIC Match, up from 90 unmatched applicants last year, says APPIC Chair Emil Rodolfa, PhD. This suggests that efforts to increase matches have lost ground after several years of successful growth.

"Based on the numbers of the last few years, the supply-demand problem appeared to be diminishing," Rodolfa says. "What we found this year is that it wasn't. It really reverted back to numbers we had a few years ago."

There were 2,718 internship positions offered in this year's match, and that number, Rodolfa notes, is comparable to the 2,631 positions offered in 1999-when APPIC was addressing the supply-demand issue.

In December 2002, 2,774 internship positions were registered to be part of the internship match in February, but a number of sites pulled out of the match because of budget problems, Rodolfa says. With 37 states and the federal government in a budget deficit, Rodolfa notes that some sites this year lacked funds to support interns.

But the outlook for internships isn't necessarily bleak. "If the budgets generally improve, we expect more stability and an increase in positions," Rodolfa says.

In February, 2,963 students submitted ranked lists of internship sites for the computerized match process. Eighty-two percent of those students were matched, and of those students, 81 percent were matched with one of their top three choices. Half of the students received their first choice, according to APPIC.

The remaining 533 students were then eligible to enter a clearinghouse where they could vie for one of 288 remaining positions.

When the APPIC board meets this month, Rodolfa says it plans to brainstorm ways to improve the internship-match process and stimulate interest in internship training in the hopes of creating more positions for next year.

-M. DITTMANN