For the fourth year in a row, the number of students competing for internship slots in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) Internship Match rose while the number of internship slots gained only marginally. The 2006 Match saw 90 additional students over last year's Match and only 22 new internship slots. Since 2002, the number of Match applicants has grown 13 percent, while the number of positions has grown by 1 percent.
Of the 3,210 applicants who submitted rank order lists for the 2006 Match, 2,479 matched in the initial round and 731 unmatched applicants went on to vie for internship slots in the APPIC Clearinghouse.
APPIC expects to release data later this year on where the influx of students is coming from in an effort to address the disparity.
"Every time we feel like we make progress, all of a sudden more students come through the system," says APPIC's Match coordinator, Greg Keilin, PhD. "We are working with our academic colleagues to better understand that and see what can be done."
Despite the applicant increase, many students fared well in the 2006 Match, with 45 percent matching to their No. 1-ranked site and nearly two-thirds to one of their top two choices. Applicants who matched successfully submitted an average of seven rankings each, while those who weren't matched ranked an average of four sites.
As a general rule, APPIC advises students to apply to 11 to 15 sites to maximize their chances of securing a match. Ideally, students should apply to only those sites that offer a fit for their background and provide training that suits their professional goals, say APPIC officials.
Too often, students hurt their match chances by limiting their rankings to one geographical area, says Keilin, who sums up his ranking advice in a chapter of the book "Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Match" (APA, 2004). Such a limitation can decrease the likelihood that each ranked site offers a good training fit, and therefore lessens the chance that any of those sites consider you a good fit. Another problematic strategy is to apply exclusively to highly competitive sites, he says.
Consistent with past years' Match data, approximately two-thirds of the unmatched students who then vied for positions in the 2006 Clearinghouse--where unfilled slots are posted on Match Day--found placements.
Still, that approximately one-third of Clearinghouse contenders that don't match year-to-year has APPIC officials worried. For one, there appears to be a rising number of students carving out their own internship experiences if they fail to match, says Keilin.
"You potentially risk licensure problems if you go out and negotiate your own experience," says Keilin. "Your program may approve it, but a licensure board somewhere may not." Students should carefully consider the licensure and employment implications of attending an internship that is not accredited or an APPIC member, he notes.
Additional data on the 2006 Match include:
• Of the 21 pairs who participated in the Match as couples, 19 found matches, and 13 of those couples matched in the same city or within 50 miles.
• Four out of five matched applicants received one of their top three choices.
• Sixty-six percent of positions were filled with the training sites' first- or second-choice applicants.
Mark your calendar
The official dates for the 2007 APPIC Match are: