COMMUNITY  CORNER

(by the student committee)

December, 2019

 

Author: Judy Su

For the month of December, I thought it would be helpful to distribute some practical resources for those preparing (or have already started) to go on their internship interviews! Some of you may have the following resource already if you have purchased the Internship in Psychology book. I thought having this information in email would be helpful, as you can pull this out easily from your phone the day before (or day of) the interview to remind yourself of what questions you might want to ask and be expected to answer.

 

Source: Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook by Carol Williams-Nickelson, Mitchelle J. Prinstein, and W. Gregory Keilin

 

Questions you may be asked:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Why did you apply to our program?

  • What do you want to get out of our internship (training goals)?

  • What things do you want to work on during internship?

  • What research would you want to pursue?

  • What is the status of your dissertation?

  • Why did you choose clinical/counseling psychology?

  • Why should we select you as an intern? Match with program?

  • Tell me about your clinical, assessment, and research experience, and most difficult client situation and how you handled it?

  • What are your personal/clinical/professional strength and weakness?

  • What are you looking for in supervision?

  • Tell me about a negative supervisory experience.

  • Tell me about a rewarding supervisory experience

  • How do you work with and understand people with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds?

  • What non-psychology work experience has helped to shape your professional identity?

  • Tell me about an ethical problem that you face and how you handled it.

  • What else would you like me to know about you that is not on your CV?

  • What do you do in your spare time?

  • Tell me about your most rewarding case.

  • Tell me about your toughest case.

 

Questions to ask internship faculty:

  • What is a typical day like for an intern here?

  • What are you looking for in an intern?

  • What is the relationship between psychology and psychiatry departments here? Other disciplines?

  • What do you the strengths of this internship are?

  • What do interns usually do after internship?

  • Are there any opportunities for postdocs here? (conveys that you are excited about the internship and your career; will be applying for postdocs, jobs, and so forth)

  • How are rotations assigned? How are patients assigned to treatments? Flexibility of assignments?

  • Supervision. How are supervisors assigned? Live? Video? Audio? How many supervisor does each intern have?

  • Assessment. Assessment philosophy? Availability? Typical frequency? Emphasis? Neuropsychology? Opportunities outside of rotations? Projectives? Proportion of assessment to therapy?

  • Research.  How strong of an emphasis do you place on research? What opportunities? How are research topics selected?

  • Resources. Computer support? Office? Treatment rooms? Referral agencies?

  • Is there ever a need to travel to other satellite clinics?

  • Are interns ever on call after hours?

  • How are emergencies managed? What is the typical frequency of emergencies?

 

Questions to ask the current interns: (many sites ask the current interns about their impression of the interviewee so definitely be prepared to ask questions)

  • Example of a workday/week

  • Relationship between interns and faculty?

  • Strengths of the program?

  • Limitations/disappointments with the program?

  • Time to work on dissertation?

  • Rotations: what rotations? Most rewarding? Hours? Supervision?

  • Cost of living?

  • Do you like the city?

  • Do you socialize with the faculty? With other interns?

  • What has helped and impeded your adjustment to the site?

  • Where are you from? What program? What type of program?

  • Why did you choose this internship site?

  • For you, a year ago, what didn’t you ask that would be important to know?

September, 2019

 

Author: Judy Su

This month in our Community Corner, we are posting FAQs for students/trainees who are preparing to apply for internships and post-doc positions. The following questions and responses were solicited within the student committee members and many of the responses are our opinions (although we do provide some publicly available statistics). The student committee members who responded to these FAQs are currently an intern or a post-doc fellow. The first set of questions will be relevant for internship applications and the second set for post-doc applications. Please note that these questions are not exhaustive; we tried to narrow down to the most frequently asked questions. Those that have different color fonts indicate a response from another student committee member. 

 

If you have gone through these processes and would like to add to the responses, please feel free to respond to this email chain (especially faculty at training sites whom may have insight from the selection side). 

 

**I am also attaching an updated Intern/Fellow directory for your reference (please backchannel me if you want to be connected to any one in the directory). 

 

INTERNSHIP

1. How many sites should I apply to? 

According to the APPIC's published statistics based on Applicant Survey 2018, there was "an average of 15.4 applications during Phase I." 

Mean = 15.4; Median = 15.0; SD = 4.8; Mode = 15; Range = 0 - 40

https://appic.org/Internships/Match/Match-Statistics/Applicant-Survey-2018-Part-1

 

 

2. What is considered a "Neuropsych Track" (vs. site offering neuropsych rotation as an option). Should I only apply to the sites that offer "Neuropsych Track"? 

- For a site to offer "Neuropsychology Track," it should follow the Houston Conference Guideline and offer at least 50% of the training hours. However, it is not mandatory to complete a formal "Neuropsychology Track" internship to qualify for board certification. Sites that offer Neuropsychology rotation may not identify "Neuropsychology Track" as their training model, but offer that as part of your training year. The hours will range depending on the sites. 

- I do believe completing a formal neuropsych track gives you advantage when applying to neuro post-docs, but unsure if there is any data to support this. Personally, I know several colleagues that have matched to a great Neuro Postdoc after completing a general internship with neuropsych rotation. 

https://www.theaacn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/houston_conference.pdf 

 

3. I am bound to certain locations due to family situation. Will I still match?

- I think this really depends on the location in which you are bound. For example, major cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, your chance may not be as high as if you were to expand to other "less popular" cities. If you really do not have any choice but to stay in a certain location, you may have to then expand out and apply to sites that do not offer neuro rotation or track, which is still fine in terms of applying for board certification for neuro, but it may put you at a disadvantage when applying for neuro post-doc. I really don't have any formal research to support the above opinion; however, this is what I heard commonly in various forums and colleagues. 

- I agree with the above, and would also add my own anecdotal evidence. I do not get the sense that geographic limitation by itself is a reason why one does not match. Rather, if a specific program has a high ratio of applications to positions, your chance of being offered an interview and subsequently, attaining that position, might be important to consider. 

 

4. How many hours should I have to be a competitive applicant? 

- According to the APPIC's published statistics based on Applicant Survey 2018, the average intervention hours was 656 and assessment hours was 218. 

a.  INTERVENTION: Doctoral Hours           Median = 609   N  = 1742

                                                                     Mean   = 656   SD =  283

d.  ASSESSMENT: Doctoral Hours             Median = 175   N  = 1718

                                                                    Mean =   218   SD =  172

 

- From the internship site's perspective, when I spoke to the training director at my site, they look and see if your hours and tests administered makes sense with how many integrated reports you've written. 

https://www.appic.org/Internships/Match/Match-Statistics/Applicant-Survey-2018-Part-1

 

5. What are some questions that I have not asked that you think might be important for me to have during this process?

- How excited/enthused are you to be working with the supervisors in this program? How would you feel if you matched here? Will these rotations challenge your growth edges? These might be helpful to consider for both internship and postdoc; I had a wonderful mentor who encouraged me to consider the importance of BOTH personal satisfaction and professional development.

 

POSTDOC


1. How many sites should I apply to? 

-According to APPCN match statistics, applying to 8-10 match programs is considered an average number of sites. 5-7 would be considered a conservative number, whereas below 5 would be considered at risk for not matching. On the other hand, 11-13 would be considered liberal, whereas I would personally consider above 13 entering the insanity range. Keep in mind, this is the number of match programs, so the number would not include non-match programs.  

- I've had colleagues who have as few as 3 applications for Peds Neuro, up to 20+. I will say that anecdotally, it seemed the two most salient factors in these situations were 1) whether or not they applied to match vs. non-match programs, and 2) what their personal priorities were for work-life integration. On the former, the colleagues that were applying to match programs tended to apply to more sites than those who were not. That might change year to year as well. It might be helpful to look at the match rates to get a better sense of how many one would like to apply to, for this reason (https://natmatch.com/appcnmat/statistics.html). 

 -To address the second point, for every applicant, I feel that family and personal relationships played a varying role in their decision-making process throughout this process. I feel that it is important to acknowledge that some may have partners who were more/less able to make that lateral job transfer with them or other commitments, which is completely understandable; life goes on outside training, after all. If you don't have such commitments, that's great. But it is important to consider that the numbers do not discriminate between those were limited geographically versus those without limitations. 

 

2. Where should I be looking to see post-doc opportunities?

- If you haven't already, sign up to receive listserv emails from NPSYCH where they send out post-doc brochures:  

https://jneuro.mrivner.com/index.php/neurolist/85-nprequest 

- APPIC post-doc news email listserv:  https://www.appic.org/E-Mail-Lists/Choose-a-news-list/Postdoc-News

- Use the APPIC post-doc search engine: https://www.appic.org/Postdocs/Universal-Psychology-Postdoctoral-Directory-UPPD

- Other listserv such as SCN will send out opportunities as well

- AAPCN member post-doc sites are listed here: http://www.appcn.org/member-programs

- For those that are looking for pediatric fellowships, opportunities are often posted on the PED-NPSY listserv: https://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=PED-NPSY

-The biggest resource I had was talking to people who had recently gone through the process and asking them about sites they were interested in. If you have any relationships with fellows, most would be happy to answer any questions you have and may have suggestions for fellowship sites you did not consider.

 

3. Is it important that the post-doc site is APA accredited?

- It might be helpful to consult with neuropsychologists licensed in the state you are moving to settle down in. Some states require postdoctoral training for licensure; having an APA-accredited program might make the state licensure process a little smoother. The board (ABPP-CN) process does not require one to complete an APA-accredited postdoc program. In fact, there are many postdoc positions that are not APA-accredited. More important for the board process is fidelity to the Houston Conference guidelines (https://theabcn.org/credential-review-frequently-asked-questions/). Again, consult with licensed psychologists in your state of preference.

 

4. What is APPCN? Can I complete a post-doc that is not part of APPCN to obtain board certification?

-The APPCN match was developed to ensure quality of programs, but there are many great programs that do not participate in the match. Support for the match is divided across the country (Belanger et al., 2013; Bodin & Grote, 2016; Nelson et al., 2016; Towns et al., 2018). It is up to you how you want to apply. I personally went with all match programs to eliminate the stress of needing to navigate non-match programs, especially since my top choices were all in the match, but plenty of my colleagues were equally or more interested in training programs that did not participate in the match. A significant benefit of applying to non-match programs is the ability to leverage the offer with match programs. 

- All APPCN sites participate in the MATCH; however, there are non-APPCN sites that participate in the Match. 

- APPCN member programs: www.appcn.org

 

5. What is the application procedures like for post-doc?

- Depends. Each post-doc site will require different aspects but generally speaking, most sites require your current CV, 3-4 letters of recommendation, cover letter, sample report, and graduate transcript. Many are submitted via email and some uses APPA CAS applicant portal (part of APPIC: https://appicpostdoc.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login). 

- Some sites will notify their applicants up front that they require on-site interview (e.g., Johns Hopkins requires on site interview) but many will offer phone/skype interview. I personally did not have to go to INS for any of the 8 sites I’ve applied to; they all offered either phone/skype or required on-site interview.

- Many programs (particularly APPCN match programs) do interviews at the annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society in February. Plan to attend this conference the year that you would be interviewing for fellowships. Even better, if you can submit an abstract for INS, this would help increase your visibility during interviews.

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