All About the DICAS Application

women on a laptop (working on DICAS application)

Hey y’all, happy Tuesday! How is everyone’s week going? I hope everybody’s doing well. I’m in the home stretch of applying for dietetic internships through a website called DICAS. I’ve still got a few things to tweak on my DICAS application, but it feels good to be nearly done.

DICAS stands for Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services. Like the longer name suggests, the website is the one place to apply to most internships. I’ll talk about that in a sec. For the DICAS application, you will need to enter stuff like…

  • Transcripts
  • A list of college classes
  • Awards you’ve won
  • Work experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Conferences you’ve attended
  • Campus and professional organizations you’ve been a part of
  • References
  • Personal statements (you want to personalize your resume for each school so you’ll probably upload multiple)
  • Your resume

If that sounds like a lot, it can be, but it’s mainly busywork. It is important, however, that you start on these applications as early as possible. Like I said, it’s mainly busywork, but emphasis on mainly, and busywork still equals work. So start as early as you can! (Applications for the spring usually open in early December and sometime in the summer for a fall match if that helps.)

Most internships will have you submit your application materials through DICAS, but there’s some exceptions to that rule. For example, if you’re applying as a pre-select, that will usually take place a month before the DICAS deadline.

Pre-select: Some colleges reserve some internship spots for undergrad students at that school. If you’re interested in going to your school’s internship and they offer a pre-select deadline, take advantage of it!

Of course, check your school’s website on the details for that because it’s a completely separate process from DICAS. Other trends I’ve noticed with internships is that many schools with coordinated programs don’t go through the DICAS application, as well as some WIC internships.

I’m not an expert on DICAS at all, but as someone who’s been working with it a lot lately, here’s some other advice I have to offer:

Confused? Try the Instructions

Ok, so I know that DICAS can be a bit confusing. You’ve got a lot of information to put in and it all has to be just so. If you’re not sure how to enter something, try looking at the “Instructions for this Section” button that’s at the top right of most pages. If you’re still unsure of what you’re doing, the website has a help center that you can access from the left panel. It’s pretty useful, so take advantage!

Reach Out to Your Recommenders Early!

You’ve probably been told this a million times for every thing from job to college applications, but it’s so true. Give anyone you ask for a letter of recommendation at least three weeks notice and give them details. Let them know what this is for, how to upload their letter, and when the deadline is. They’re hopefully writing you a great letter just to help you out, so try and help them out too! Along those lines…

Give Your Recommenders Info!

Some of the people who wrote letters for me were professors that I was on good terms with, but they didn’t know about every part of my life. Solution? Give them some kind of portfolio! I know there’s a lot of apprehension around that word, but imagine it as an expanded resume. Some of the things I gave to people when I asked for letters included

  • An actual resume
  • A list of classes I’d taken
  • My career goals
  • Projects I’d done
  • Places I’d volunteered (along with how often).

The bonus was that when I really started to work on my DICAS application, I had gotten a lot of the busywork out of the way!

If you’re about to submit your DICAS application, I hope this serves as a reminder in some way. And if you’re starting to prepare for your internship applications, I hope you found something useful in it. Either way, good luck future RDtobe’s!

Until next time,
Emmalee

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