It's that time of year again; another round of the predoctoral psychology internship Match has come to a close. I congratulate all the graduate students who were successfully matched. Unfortun-ately, a large and growing number of internship applicants will not be matched due to an imbalance between the number of predoctoral psychology internships and students seeking slots. APAGS and APA are aware of the severity of this problem and are actively working with training organizations to find solutions. In fact, APAGS has been advocating on behalf of graduate students on this issue for approximately 20 years. To learn more about APAGS's work regarding the internship supply-and-demand problem, see our article soon to be published in the journal Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
As someone who went through the internship application process as a candidate this year, I want to share some advice for other students who are preparing for the next Match round.
Track your practicum hours. Check out how hours are defined by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) Match application, online at www.appic.org/match/5_3_match_application.html. Then, consider using a database to record your hours, including placement type and client characteristics, such as race, age, sexual orientation and clinical issues.
Review the internship directory. APPIC offers a free listing of internships at www.appic.org/directory/search_dol_internships.asp, where you can research the types of internship sites available and the qualifications needed for each site.
Schedule time to apply. Most students apply to 10 to 15 internship sites, and this can be a time-consuming activity. In fact, the time required to apply for internship is similar to taking an additional course, completing a research project, engaging in a supplemental practicum or working at a part-time job.
Take care of yourself. Advisers, practicum supervisors, mentors, colleagues, family members and partners can all support you as you go through this challenging and time-consuming process.
Attend workshops. APAGS and other organizations offer local, regional and national programs about preparing for internship. These workshops and programs can offer practical tips and alleviate any application anxiety. In particular, you may want to check out the APAGS internship workshop offered each year at APA's Annual Convention.
Work on your dissertation. Some internship sites prefer or require internship applicants to have made significant progress on their dissertations. Also, most internship sites are full-time positions and do not leave much time to work on your dissertation.
These recommendations were passed down to me from many people and from internship workshops that I attended. I hope that these tips will be as helpful to you as they were to me. I wish the next group of internship applicants the matches they deserve.
For more information, see "Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Fit" (APA, 2008).