In his role as APAGS associate executive director, Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, hears from many students who feel angry and anxious about the internship imbalance. He tells them that while APAGS works with APA leaders and training councils to push for change, there are also steps they can take to improve their individual prospects for landing an internship. They include:
Be informed about the process. Determine what internship options are right for you and consider how flexible you can be. If possible, consider sites an hour or two away. Also consider whether to apply to sites that have fewer applicants by looking up application statistics on APPIC's online directory at www.appic.org/directory. Find out how predecessors at your program fared in securing an internship—that's an indication of how you might do. For more answers about the match, read the FAQ page on the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers web site.
Manage your anxiety. If that means preparing your applications three weeks before the deadline, do that. If you feel like you want to apply to 12 sites as opposed to eight, and it's within your means, do that. Above all, engage in self-care behaviors: Make sure you have some free time to exercise, be with friends and family, work on your dissertation or meditate.
If you don't match, figure out why. Do some self-reflection and get as much feedback as you can about why you didn't match and try to address those issues. For example, if you wanted to do a child clinical internship and you didn't have enough child testing, get that experience before applying the following year. If you know there's a weakness in your vitae, develop a plan for how to address it—and next year get that message included in your letters of support. Or, you could get your dissertation done before you leave, and then your internship year is dissertation-free. For many people, that's a wonderful experience.
For more match tips, see "Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Fit, Second Edition" (APA, 2008). Order online.
This article was updated in September 2012 to link to the most recent edition of "Internships in Psychology."
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