September 15, 2013

Internship Application and Interview Process –Advice from SSCP Members

Note: The below information can also be downloaded as a pdf here.


  •  Start the internship application process this summer! You will thank yourself later! 
  •  Want to apply to 12-15 sites - Apply to a wide range of sites in a wide range of areas. 
  •  Start with the list of clinical science internship programs recognized by the academy ( 
  •  Approach the application process as a mini version of graduate school, looking for sites with specific rotations of interest and research mentors you'd be interested in working with. 
  •  Focus on sites that would complement your graduate training, places that would provide new clinical and research experiences that you haven't gotten elsewhere 
  •  For students who are interested in research-oriented internships: keep in mind that those sites will look more closely at your CV than at your list of clinical hours. 
    •  Make sure you get the bare minimum number of clinical hours required by your graduate program and spend the remainder of your time focused on research. 
    •  As long as you can demonstrate that you are a competent clinician, no need to accrue hundreds of extra practicum hours.
  •  The application process is an opportunity to discover what type of therapist you want to be!
  •  Go to the website of each internship you are applying to – find out as much as you can (do this the summer before you plan to apply for internship)
  •  Make sure you tailor your cover letters and essays to each internship site
  •  Look at examples of cover letters and essays from older graduate students in your program, they will provide you with good guidance!
  •  DO NOT check out APPIC’s discussion forum – it will just cause you unnecessary anxiety!


  • Do as many practice interviews as you can!
    •  Prepare a case presentation – come in with info about at least 1 client, be able to provide a frame quickly and then expand
    •  Have examples of breakthroughs, struggles, transference/counter-transference, errors you’ve made
  •  Be prepared with lots of questions – but DO NOT ask information that is on their website
    • Try to have a mix of broad and specific questions
  •  Need to be able to think critically on the spot – need to be able to demonstrate clinical competence and confidence!
  •  Should definitely visit all of the sites you are applying to – some will have open houses, some will offer a visit if you want to
  •  Ask questions of the post-docs and graduate students about what it is like there – how is supervision? What type of collaboration is there? 
  •  Some travel tips: o Remember, there are many ways to get around (plane, car, bus, train, etc.). Check all options when traveling to a city, within a city, and between cities. Travel is expensive, so check your options. Sometimes flying into a nearby city and renting a car is a cheaper option. 
    •  For the best hotel and car rental prices, visit online forums that help you get the best quotes from – this can help you save a lot of money on car rentals and hotels! 
    •  Midweek is usually the cheapest time to buy airfare and also the cheapest airfare is on midweek days.


  • When you rank rites, things to consider:
    • Quality of life, both inside and outside of internship
    • What do you want to do long term?
    • Where do you want to live?
    • What is a good fit for me?

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