In This Issue

Applying for a predoctoral internship

Recent predoctoral internship applicants share valuable tips for starting the application process.

By Nicole R. Gross and Tess M.S. Neal, PhD
Securing and completing the predoctoral internship is the last step in the long journey as a graduate student. The great news for students who are passionate about working with criminal justice populations is that there are many internship opportunities available. Having collectively completed the internship application process and internship itself, we thought sharing a few tips we learned might be helpful.
Getting Started
  • Start early. Part of the stress of applications is getting everything polished and submitted by the deadline. Get a head start over the summer by narrowing down your sites, updating your curriculum vitae and starting on your essays.
  • Be organized. Having a database for potential sites with categories that are most important to you (e.g., rotations, location, didactics, pay) helps to compare and narrow down your sites. Use the same database to rank your sites.
  • Stay connected. Ask other students you know about their experience or advice. The APPIC email lists also provide information and insights regarding the process, and you can set the notifications as “digest” so you do not get overwhelmed ( join Match-News and/or Intern-Network lists).
Application and Interview Process
  • Sell your fit. Have different cover letters that emphasize the aspects of your training and interests that would be most appealing to each site (e.g., medical schools may value clinical research versus clinical practice emphasized by prisons or hospitals).
  • Dress professionally and conservatively. This is especially important in correctional settings.
  • Keep organized. After each interview, write down your impressions and reactions, as the sites will begin blending together.
  • Take care of yourself. Use your peers for support and carefully attend to your sleeping and eating behaviors throughout the process. Eating well and having a comfortable place to unwind before and after interviews goes a long way in keeping you physically and mentally healthy.
  • Socialize with other applicants. You may see the same people at multiple interviews, and afterward on internship or the job market. This is an opportunity to make connections and reduce the stress that comes with the competitiveness of the process.
You Got It! Now what?
  • Choose wisely. Pick a site that will prepare you for your future career aspirations.
  • Think ahead. Soon after the start of internship, begin thinking about potential jobs. Academic positions, postdoctoral internships and other clinical practice positions (e.g., prisons) all have their own timelines and application deadlines vary.
  • Start studying. If you want a clinical position, begin studying for and take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology as soon as possible.

Just like graduate school, applying for a predoctoral internship is challenging and stressful, but it can also be exciting and highly rewarding. We encourage you to appreciate the hard work you have put in to get to this point, and wish you the best of luck in the application process.

We are currently recruiting campus representatives to increase division membership among students. If your university doesn’t have a campus representative and you are interested in taking on that role, please contact Nina Nassab .