When you are applying for a dietetic internship, there are two things you will really need to be prepared for: DICAS and D&D.
DICAS – Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System
Apparently, DICAS has only been around for a few years, but I’m super glad it is! Occasionally, I’ll hear stories from preceptors and professors about when they were applying to internships and I’ll feel very thankful for DICAS. Back in the days pre-DICAS, if you wanted to apply to more than one internship, you had to order transcripts for each school you were applying to, send a package to each school containing all the application paperwork, including a check for the application fee…It sounds like it was a huge hassle.
DICAS has simplified the application process. Yes, it still requires you to do a lot of work, but it sounds a lot easier than our mentors had it. For those of us using DICAS, we submit all our paperwork to DICAS and copies of it are sent to the internship programs.
One tip I have for DICAS: as soon as it opens up, enter in all your demographic/personal information and get the forms for your transcripts. These should be the first things you do and you should have them done by the end of the first week. Why? Because you already know your name and other personal information and it’s an easy part to complete. (If you don’t know what your name and address is, you may not be right for a dietetic internship.) Being able to cross off “Start DICAS” from your to-do list is an amazing feeling. So is “Finish DICAS” but that one takes considerably longer. So get your demographics entered right away and be motivated to continue.
As for the transcripts… Keep in mind that DICAS for Spring Match opens up the first or second week of December every year – right before the holidays when a lot of schools are closed or have limited hours and when you want to spend some time celebrating. You might be in finals, but definitely order the transcripts as soon as you can. Sometimes it takes a long time for your request for a transcript to get processed, and you really don’t want to be worried about your transcripts arriving late. Ordering your transcripts the first week allows you enough time to re-order if necessary. If you’re really nervous about your transcripts getting there in time or you completely ignored this advice and the DICAS deadline is only days away, most universities allow you to rush order transcripts. However, those transcripts can be pretty pricey. Save yourself some money (you’ll need to be saving as much as possible!) and order your transcripts early on.
DICAS has already opened up this Match cycle, so if you haven’t put in your demographics or ordered your transcripts, do it NOW. It’ll help with your mental well-being over the holidays.
After getting your personal information entered and your transcripts ordered, get the requests for letters of recommendation done. You should already know (before DICAS opens) who you want to write your letters of recommendation. All you have to do in DICAS is fill in the contact information of the person writing your ltetter, so make sure you have all the important contact info (name, email, phone, etc). Then, DICAS will send them instructions on how to submit the electronic letter of recommendation. I’ll make my next post about the letters of recommendation.
You’ll want to take your time with your personal statements. If you’re applying to multiple programs, you’ll want to have an essay for each program. My big suggestion for the personal statements is to write the perfect (or as perfect as you can make it) statement for the program you want the most. Then, once that one is complete, you can use it to craft the other statements. Just double check that the personal statement is truthful, states why you are a match for that particular program, and that it answers all the questions. I’ll do a post about the personal statements, since there’s a lot I could say about those.
When it came to the resume, I left this until about a week before the deadline. I was still volunteering and working and I knew I would have more experiences to add, so I wanted to make sure it was all on there. I know some people put an estimate of how many hours they expect to have by the time of the application deadline. I don’t like that because I feel a resume should be an accurate statement of what you’ve done, not what you think you’ll do. So my suggestion for the resume is to have your resume formatted and looked over in the beginning, and as you gain more experience, add the experience in. Then upload it shortly before the deadline, so you’ve put as much experience on your resume as possible.
How much of a total fee you pay to DICAS depends on how many programs you apply to. There’s an initial $40 charge for the first program you apply to, then $20 for each one after that. (It gets a little weird if you’re applying to 20 or more programs, but you really shouldn’t do that. More on that topic later.) The $40 initial and $20 after that is separate from any fees the program may charge.
D&D is the “matching” part of the dietetic internship application. D&D is where you will rank the programs in the order that you like them and the website where you will find out your Match status in April.
There is a separate fee for D&D ($50), but that’s regardless of how many programs you apply for.
You can log in as many times as you want and re-rank the programs right up until the close date. Many people will swear they won’t do that, but I know quite a few people (myself included) who agonized about my rankings right up until the very end. I’ll do another post about rankings, since deciding how to rank your programs is a whole other topic.
(Sorry for the delay with this post. It pulled a disappearing act and had to be re-written. I’ll now be writing all my posts in Word and copying them over to keep this from happening again.)