Helpful Tips. Keyboard

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A clinical psychology intern at the Institute of Living shares some helpful tips on the APPIC predoctoral internship application and interview process.

By Shari Steinman, intern at the Institute of Living-CBT Track

To those of you applying for internship this fall, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips I have about the application and interview process. I found the APPIC experience to be a lot less painful than I expected it to be, and I’m hoping these tips will make it less painful for you as well!

Tips for applications:

  • Work with friends. My biggest recommendation for the whole APPIC process would be to meet regularly with classmates who are also applying for internship. Start early (I started during the summer)! Make a schedule of when you want to finish different parts of the application, and stick to the deadlines. I also recommend regular dinners together while working.
  • Get advice/cover letters/essays/etc… from friends who have already gone through the application process.
  • Have a couple of people read your cover letters and essays and ask them for feedback.
  • Write your essays and cover letters to show why you are experienced/knowledgeable/awesome for the sites, but also emphasize what you still want to learn/what you can gain from the sites. Specifically, in my cover letters, I used wording like “I have limited training in X, so your X rotation would fill gaps in my clinical training” or “gaining experience working with X would make me a more adaptable clinician.”
  • In your cover letters, make an effort to show how each site can help further your career/why you would be happy there/why you could be helpful for the internship program/why you are a great match/etc… I worked hard to personalize each cover letter, and tried hard to be very knowledgeable of each site during my interviews.
  • Ask your letter writers if they feel like they could write you a STRONG letter of recommendation—not just if they will write you a letter.

Tips for Interviews:

  • If you can, don’t schedule a bunch of interviews in a row. Give yourself time to breathe in between.
  • If you end up seeing a lot of the same people at interviews, save money by sharing hotel rooms/taxi rides/etc…
  • Answer practice interview questions with friends. Also, do a mock interview with your graduate advisor of director of clinical training.
  • Make sure you read each site’s brochure before the interview. Before each interview, I printed the site’s brochure and any other information I thought might be helpful (e.g., information about faculty and their research interests, etc…). The day before each interview, I read over the information, highlighted, underlined, and took notes in the margins about things I wanted to remember to talk about or ask questions about during the interview. Then, I would review my notes the day of the interview. I purposely did not prepare for interviews very far in advance, because I didn’t want to confuse the details from different sites.
  • Make sure to go into each interview with a bunch of questions to ask (some more generic, that you can ask every place, and some very specific to each place).

Side note: My favorite part of the interview process was meeting the other applicants and making new friends. :)

One final thing to remember: internship is only one year, and where you match is unlikely to make or break your career!

Best of luck to you!

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