Welcome to the Internship Applications 2020 Quest blog! Each week Samantha Holdren, the 2020-2021 Clinical Liaison, will post an update about her process applying for internships this year. To catch up, make sure to read up on the first entry here!
I can’t believe it is already October. This process has gone from 0 to 60! Let me give you an update on everything I have done for the internship application process since my last entry. I will write each step I have taken in the general order that I completed them so you get a feel for the process.
1. Curriculum Vitae: My program has a shared Dropbox with each cohort’s internship application materials, going all the way back to 2015. If you have access to something like this, it will be super helpful to use when creating your own CV and other materials. If you don’t have a shared Dropbox (or Google Doc, etc.), you might consider asking your cohort to start one this year to help future students. Anyways, I went through and fully updated my CV (which takes a RIDICULOUS amount of time, somehow).
I was told by one advisor that rather than immediately beginning with clinical work, then research, or whatever other sections, that it is a good idea to put a section of “Current Positions Held” right up front below education. Then put your current practicum site, any research labs you are currently a part of, boards you are on, and classes you are teaching. This will give your readers an idea of all the things you are balancing at once, right now, and show your range of activities.
I also added a list of measures I have learned to administer at the end. Since I am forensic and want additional neuropsych training, I included sections for neuro/cognitive measures I am familiar with and have training on, along with all the forensic measures I have used. I also included personality/diagnostic measures I have been trained to use. Since I am somewhat more assessment focused (as opposed to therapy), this is a good way to show my experience with numerous types of assessment.
2. Transcripts: The AAPI application portal is where most of the materials are eventually posted, and where you fill out all your information. You fill out info about all the schools you have attended, and they will want you to submit transcripts for all graduate programs attended. You will NOT need to send undergrad transcripts. The process for ordering transcripts is supposedly straightforward—you click the “order transcripts” link under each school once you’ve listed it, and then choose one of the three services available to complete your order. I had to order a PDF version of my transcripts because I had trouble ordering e-transcripts, so I would recommend doing this early in case you run into issues. Once your transcripts arrive at AAPI, you’ll get notification that they have been uploaded.
3. Selecting Programs in the AAPI Portal: The AAPI portal allowed us to select our programs earlier than usual this year, so I went ahead and selected the 15 schools I will be applying to. Based on all available research, applying to 12 to 15 schools is the range most people should aim for. Anything after 15 programs does not substantially increase your chance of matching, but less than 12 decreases your chances.
My list of sites ended up being 12 U.S. internship sites and 3 Canadian sites—I have dual citizenship, so this was an interesting option for me. If you are not a Canadian citizen, I would make sure that citizenship is not a requirement for applying to Canadian sites before making a decision to do this.
4. Submitting Materials to Sites Through AAPI Portal: Now that I have added my 15 sites, I can go in and add materials for each site according to what they require (from reading their current program brochure). Some want a redacted report or a treatment/case summary to have a sample of your writing, so you’ll need to collect appropriate samples from your practicum sites for that purpose. Read each program brochure carefully to make sure you are submitting what they want, and make sure you redact it according to HIPAA guidelines: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/De-identification/guidance.html#standard
5. Letters of Recommendation: I finalized my “cheat sheets” that were tailored to each letter writer. These included work I have done with that writer along with a general overview of other roles I have taken on in my program outside of their supervision. I also wrote about my goals for internship and my long-term career goals, as well as my list of sites. Some students will include information about their strengths and weaknesses, as they see them, to help supervisors fill in this information. Check out the Standard Reference Form – Revised, which is used by all letter writers: https://appic.org/Portals/0/SRF-Revised-3-31-16.doc. You may also want to include how long you have known the writer so they don’t have to try to figure that out. Altogether, I sent my writers their cheat sheet, my CV, and the Standard Reference Form. Per my DCT, ideally you will submit these materials to your writers 1 month before your first letter is due, or earlier.
Once I sent my writers this information, on the AAPI portal I went into each site’s individual section and selected the tab for “letters of recommendation.” There, you can put in your letter writers’ names and emails, select the due date for that letter (I recommend putting the same due date across the board—whenever your earliest due date is), and select whether or not you forego your right to view the letter. You do this for every site, for every letter writer, so get ready to do this 45 times (3 writers for 15 sites) or more!
6. Hours: Oh man. This is honestly the most annoying part of the entire process for me somehow. If anyone happens to be reading this as they first start doing clinical work in their program, RECORD EVERY HOUR as accurately as possible from day 1! Using https://time2track.com/, you keep track of all your hours, everything from individual therapy and assessment hours to supervision to support hours. I did a terrible job of staying on top of this, so it has been a nightmare trying to figure out what days I did what. Under the “reports” tab in time2track, you’ll see your hours compared to past applicant average low and average high number of hours, for intervention only and total. You’ll probably want to fall somewhere in the middle, or closer to the average high, if possible. You will then connect the AAPI portal to time2track, and once your hours are completely updated, you will submit them for review by your DCT who will approve them. I am waiting to do this closer to the November 1st deadline.
If you had a master’s degree before entering your doctoral program, you may need to submit master’s hours to time2track as well. I didn’t have these readily available, so I emailed my MA program to see if they keep hours logs from my externship site. Hopefully they do, otherwise I will not be able to have those approved (my DCT requires some sort of proof of MA hours).
7. Essays: I have written 1st drafts of my 4 essays, and I have sent these to several people for review. One of my supervisors/letter writers, a peer who is also applying, and a former peer who successfully matched 2 years ago have all been sent this 1st draft to provide feedback.
8. Cover Letters: I am slowly starting to put together sets of paragraphs describing my therapy, assessment, research, leadership, and supervisory experience. My goals is to have several well-crafted paragraphs with different focuses for each of these areas, which will allow me to pick and choose sections most appropriate for each site. So, for a site that really focuses on assessment, I will include a more beefed up version of my assessment experience. I am continuing to update my excel document with site details, so I will use this to tailor each cover letter to that specific site.
Whew, this process is exhausting. Staying motivated and finding time to write/review materials is difficult, so I am really trying to focus on self-care in between frantic prepping! On a more personal level, I have been having discussions with my partner about potentially moving with me, and we have been discussing how involved he should be in the ranking process. You may need to consider a partner (or partners), family, or other significant people/factors when making decisions. I would recommend doing this sooner rather than later. Plus, it can be fun to get excited about the possibilities with someone else. I try to stay enthusiastic about the changes that will come, and I know all the hard work of applying will be worth the experiences I will have on internship.
Here are my goals for the next week:
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