Applying to internship this year? If so, December and January--when the bulk of internship interviews occur--may be heavy travel months for you. Many students travel cross-country, often more than once, to meet and interview with training directors, tour potential sites and question current interns. And while traveling can take a toll on one's credit card and schedule, veteran interview travelers and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) officials say those who tap travel discounts and plan carefully are likely to spend less time and money on interviewing afar. Specifically, they suggest students:
Schedule wisely. Former intern Jana Wachsler-Felder, PsyD, who lived in Miami when applying for internship, arranged for back-to-back interview dates in nearby cities to cut down her travel to the Northeast. Wachsler-Felder flew in, had one or two interviews, then rented a car to visit several other sites within driving distance before flying home. She scheduled one cluster of interviews for a New England trip and a second cluster in the New York/New Jersey area.
Book "circle trips." Many students are saving money by buying one airline ticket with several destinations. That way, a student who lives in Dallas, for example, can fly to an interview in San Francisco then on to one in Chicago before flying back to Dallas--a tack that often costs far less than a round trip to each city.
Tap APPIC and other travel discounts. APPIC's Web site, www.appic.org, includes a "Travel Links and Discounts" page, with resources for booking low-cost travel and links to online discount travel Web sites such as Priceline and SideStep.
Include rest days. Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System intern Adam Carrico advises scheduling a day off between interviews on the road. "It may have extended my travel time, but it also gave me time to recover and get centered before I had to do it all over again," says Carrico, a fourth-year graduate student in the health clinical psychology program at the University of Miami.
Get a little help from friends. When possible, stay with friends or relatives to avoid hotel costs. Additionally, "It's a good way of relaxing and destressing," adds Wachsler-Felder.
Students who want to trim their travel costs even further can apply only to internship sites within specific geographic areas, notes APPIC Match Coordinator Greg Keilin, PhD, though he warns against that strategy in particularly competitive areas such as New York or if there are only a few sites in a student's preferred geographic area.
Additionally, many counseling center sites conduct interviews by phone and require no travel. The caveat? Students don't get to meet the training director or see the site's resources in advance.
"Going to a site tells you a hundred times more about what it's like to be there on an emotional, logistical and physical level," says Keilin.
For more information on the internship search, read the September 2004 issue of gradPSYCH at www.gradpsych.apags.org/sep04.
Save the dates
The 2005–2006 official APPIC Match dates are:
Dec. 1 Deadline for students to register for the Match.
Feb. 8 Deadline for students to submit their ranked lists of preferred internship training sites.
Feb. 24 Applicants learn if they have been matched to an internship position, but not the specific program. Unmatched applicants begin preparing for the clearinghouse, in which students who aren't matched in the initial round vie for internships on or after Match Day.
Feb. 27 APPIC Match Day. Results of the Match are released to applicants and internship training directors. The APPIC clearinghouse opens. Unmatched applicants cannot contact programs about possible vacancies until 11 a.m. EST on Match Day.