How many sites should I rank?
Rank all of the sites at which you are being considered, APPIC experts advise. The numbers back up this strategy: In 2006, matched applicants submitted an average of 7.3 rankings while unmatched applicants average 4.3 rankings.
If a site is completely unacceptable--you'd rather go unmatched than intern there--leave it off your list, keeping in mind that it could reduce your chances of being matched. But because about 8 percent of students match with their sixth-ranked choice or lower, APPIC officials strongly advise students to rank all potential options.
What if I think a site won't rank me highly?
Students can actually hurt their chances of securing one of their top choices if they try to guess how sites will rank them. You are most likely to acquire a top choice if you rank their sites in their true order of preference, without regard to how programs may be ranking you, says Greg Keilin, PhD, APPIC match coordinator. "You want the computer to know your top choices so it can advocate for you. If you submit a rank order list that is anything other than your true preferences, it's self-sabotage," 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 Fit."
So, for example, if a site is your last choice, but it really wants you, you should still rank it last. The computer will try to get you into your top choices first, and if your more-preferred sites don't work out, you will still have an equal chance at the obtaining your last pick.
Should I rank a site if I like the training, but don't want to live there?
Only rank the places you intend to go, APPIC officials advise. If you get matched to a site and then decide you want out just because the locations too expensive or because it's too far away, there could be grave consequences, including possibly being barred from future Matches, says Nadine Kaslow, PhD, a former APPIC chair who runs APPIC's Informal Resolution Process. Applicants to the Match sign contracts agreeing to attend the program to which they have been matched.
Do couples really have a chance in the Match?
Couples who pair their rankings can fare well, experts say. In 2006, 21 pairs participated in the Match as couples, and 19 found matches. Moreover, 13 of those couples matched in the same city or within 50 miles and 8 received one of their top three choices. Of the 16 couples in 2005, 13 matched in the same city or within 50 miles, and 12 received one of their top three choices.
Some couples mistakenly think they would have fared better applying as individuals, Keilin says. In fact, participating as a couple will not reduce each individual's chances of a match if the couple ranks all possible pairing of internship programs. For more, see APPIC's FAQ for couples.
This article was updated in September 2012 to link to the most recent edition of "Internships in Psychology."
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