A total of 846 psychology doctoral students seeking internships this year — 23 percent — did not match with an internship, according to results released Feb. 22 by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.
The number of students who did not match is on par with last year, when a record 24 percent of applicants did not match.
The APPIC match connects psychology doctoral students with programs that provide a required year of experience working with clients while under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Following rounds of interviews, applicants and programs submit their preferences, and a computer program matches applicants with available positions. Unmatched students may seek internships through the APPIC Clearinghouse or apply again next year. For some students, not matching to an internship can delay and complicate the path to a doctorate.
But the news isn’t all bad. Thanks to efforts by APPIC, APA and the Council of Chairs of Training Councils, a record number of internships were available this year — 50 more than last year. It still wasn’t enough to match the growing number of applicants, but it’s a promising sign, says APPIC Chair Sharon Berry, PhD.
“It’s always disappointing to know so many students are dealing with the frustration of not being matched, but ... there are changes in progress that could make a difference over time,” she says.
Those changes include encouraging existing sites to create additional internship slots, and easing the way for training directors to establish new, high-quality internship programs at community mental health clinics, counseling centers, hospitals and VA facilities. To those ends, the Council of Chairs of Training Councils unveiled an online toolkit, this month, with tips on finding funding and garnering administrative support for internship programs, says Catherine Grus, PhD, APA’s executive director for professional education and training.
“It’s very practical, and we hope it will be useful to encourage people to expand or grow new internship programs,” Grus says.