The dietetic internship is something I had heard about since I was a freshman. I assumed it would be straightforward and something relatively simple to do, but I was wrong. Not that being wrong is bad. I think that applying to dietetic internships (DIs) is completely doable, but I think it would have been helpful to know what I know now – which is why I want to share it with you all!
** Disclaimer: These tips are from my personal experience alone and may have been different for others.
Tip #1: It’s never too early to get started:
- Essentially, by the time application period rolls around you should have enough experience on your resume to make you an attractive candidate. Experience is a broad category – do not limit yourself to work and school. Volunteering, helping out with a club or a professor, major projects you have done in class, or extra applicable classes you took are all things that should be included in your application. Keeping track of all you have done is also helpful so when the time comes to apply you have records of involvement at your disposal.
- You may want to start thinking of who you want to write your letters of recommendation before the application period begins. You want someone who knows you well, who writes well, and can really speak about your strengths. A minimum of three is required, but you can do more if you want to have a specific person write a letter for a specific DI. It is common courtesy (and to your benefit) to give your letter of rec writer a good amount of time to formulate a strong letter.
- Transcripts are also something to think about ahead of time. If the application opens in December, you want to request your transcripts ASAP because sometimes schools take long to process and send out transcripts. Additionally, you have to request transcripts from each school you attended. For example, if you transferred from a community college to a university, you will need official transcripts directly sent from both schools to DICAS.
Tip #2: Guidance is goodness:
- The application process can be quite tricky on its own. Not only do you have to apply on DICAS, you have to go to the matching system on D&D, but also submit (via mail or online – depends on the internship) supplemental application materials to the program to which you are applying. Taking a class such as FN 431 offered at Cal Poly Pomona is a great way to break down the application process so that it seems slightly less daunting. I personally enjoyed the Q&A style of that class because our professor was able to just answer any questions we had about the matching process. She also brought in guest speakers who were internship coordinators.
- Going to DI Open Houses is also a good way to know details of what each internship entails, what sort of qualities they are looking for in applications, and if the internship is even right for you! It is helpful to be able to network and talk to current interns as well to get a better idea of what their experiences were like when they applied and got accepted.
Tip #3: Tailor it to fit
- Not all internships are created equal. Each one has their own mission, concentration, and is looking for qualified individuals that match them. DICAS allows you to submit multiple personal statements and letters of recommendation, as well as to designate which statement or letter will go to which internship. It is a perfect way to really show that you did your research on the internship and to highlight the qualities you have that they want.
Tip #4: Stay positive