Hey y’all. Given what’s happening today in our nation, today is not so happy a Tuesday. I’ve been processing everything and praying for this nation. Hope y’all are doing well.
In my post from two weeks ago that was an update on my life, I shared how I got accepted to Montana State University‘s MS/DI program for my dietetic internship. Today I thought I’d explain what you should do the summer before applying to your dietetic internship, so you can get accepted.
The main reason I started this blog was as a way to help you easily learn more about dietetic internships. I also did it to motivate myself to learn about and work through the process of getting into one. I spent the spring of my junior year just creating and getting a feel for the blog and learning about the different internships. Then during the summer, I worked through these three tips myself!
Tip #1: Know What You Want in an Internship
With a less busy schedule during the summer, I began to research more internships. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, so I’m glad I started then instead of during the fall. I originally chose dietetics because I liked creating delicious food, applying science to life, and helping others set and accomplish goals. But I’ve learned so much more about dietetics since freshman year. There is a lot of diversity in this field!
During the summer, I gave myself permission to process what I’d taken in the last three years. Not on an academic level, but on a personal one. I thought about things like:
- Who I had become
- What I had enjoyed learning and doing in class and life
- Where I wanted to live
- What I could afford
Other important things to consider are:
- Is there an area of dietetics you’re dead set on making your career in? If so, make sure you look at internships with a concentration or rotation in that area.
- Do you want to get a master’s as part of your internship? Spoiler alert: if you graduate after 2024, you’ll have to get it either before your internship or complete it as part of one.
Because I answered those questions during the summer, I had more time available to focus on preparing for internship applications in the fall.
By the way, it’s okay if your answers change as you get closer to applying! Life changes too. I know last summer I was completely focused on internships in my home state, but now I’m going to school halfway across the country. I think what is important is beginning to understand what you want.
Tip #2: Narrow Down Your Dietetic Internship List
Once you know what you want, start looking at internships. There are over 250 programs in the United States, so this can seem like a lot! Here are some tools I found helpful in my journey.
For When You’re “Just Browsing”: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Internship List
This list from AND shows all accredited (i.e., official) internship options in the United States. It’s up to date and allows you to filter by state, degree, and distance education. Each internship lists the program location, features, and website so you can do your own research! This is a great place to start when you want to see what’s out there.
For Comparing the Data: All Access Dietetics’ Internship Database
All Access Dietetics is a company run by a dietitian with the goal of helping you succeed in your dietetic career, which includes internships. One free resource they have is a database of every internship. This database has filterable data on minimum and average GRE and GPA scores and average tuition costs. Because it’s a very large database, not everything is up to date. I’d suggest double checking websites to confirm what you find. Regardless, this tool is a great place to consider the pros and cons of internships you’ve chosen.
For Examining the Details: Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice
When you really want to see what goes on in each internship, look at the Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice (AGSP). This tool shows every type of rotation at each internship and is updated yearly. For some schools, the AGSP also ranks the importance of doing well in different parts of your application. That’s helpful when you need to choose between polishing your personal statement and studying more for the GRE. I didn’t put a link to this one because many schools have posted free copies online for you to search. Look for the version from the most recent school year, as many internships change rotations from year to year depending on preceptors.
Tip #3: Improve Your GPA, Resume, and Volunteer Experience
I wrote a whole post about this last year, but summer is a great time to improve yourself in ways that might have been difficult during the school year! Unless you plan to take a gap year between your undergrad and dietetic internship, the summer before your senior year is the last chance to make a major impact on your application. Since I’m satisfied with what I wrote before, I’ll let you go read my post “5 Summer Things That Will Improve Your DI Application.”
That’s it for this week! Hope y’all are staying safe out there. Remember to wear a mask, if not for yourself, then for the ones you love.
Is this the summer before your dietetic internship? What are you doing to prepare?
Until next time,