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Advice on how to strategize apps for internship this cycle

neuro21

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I am hoping to get some advice for someone interested in a specific region. I am currently at a midwest PhD program looking to match at internship sites in the west (ie. UCLA, UCSD) this cycle. I would like to know of ways to improve my chances, for example how I can build connections, stand out especially coming from a different region, express my interest well on the cover letter. Here is my background:

~400 intervention hrs
~500 assessment hrs
~400 supervision hrs
~60 integrated reports
15 poster presentations
2 first-author publications
1 co-author MS under review and 1 first-author MS soon to be submitted before apps
2 co-author book chapters
1 first-author book ch will be in hopefully before apps
Teaching experience for 2 semesters, TA in various courses
Letters from neuropsychologists from AMCs and chair

I would like to pursue a postdoc in neuropsychology afterwards and hoping for an internship site with a postdoc opportunity available as well. I’m not too familiar how selection for interviews works, do programs comprehensively pick from an applicant pool, do they screen out application based on hrs, number of pubs, Any insight/advice would be appreciated.
 

beginner2011

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Current intern here, not pursuing neuropsych, but at a major metro VA with a neuropsych fellowship. I can say from my experience that all elements of your application will be considered, and based on your numbers you should be just fine on metrics (assuming the supervision hours weren't all group supervision?). My experience is that the difference makers among top neuropsych applicants were quality of letters and quality of communication/writing demonstrated in the essays. Given that interviews this cycle are expected to be all virtual, interpersonal factors observed on interview will probably be weighted even less heavily than usual.
 
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SomeGreatNotion

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Current intern here as well. I agree with beginner2011. Additionally, my understanding is that some sites may use hour cutoffs to screen (which it appears you have more than enough to be considered sufficient) but I'm sure that this varies by individual sites. I would advise that you tailor each cover letter to each specific site. Read their training site brochures and build an understanding of that type of training environment and how they could fulfill your training goals. Additionally, some sites will ask you to submit an integrated report as a supplementary material so submit your best, most comprehensive work. You still have a lot of time to build your application but spend some time on your internship essays. Revise, revise, revise, and have others review your essays.
 
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Lots of students apply to internships in different regions, that isn't a problem. I know a *huge* number of people who ended up in California internships from my midwest grad program (granted, many of them were from California originally). There's nothing specific you really can DO besides making sure that your application package as a whole (CV, essays, letters, etc.) convey a clear message about you wanting to pursue neuropsychology and hopefully suggesting that you have done a good job thusfar in training.

Each internship site has it's own way of selecting applicants and it's own way of ranking people after interviews. You won't/can't know about those, which is frustrating because there's a lot of mystery and it feels like you have no control, so.....there's not much you can do besides put forth the best application you can. Based on the stats you provided, it doesn't look like you'd immediately get screened OUT at most places, but....again, every site gets to do their own thing.

Apply to enough sites but not too many, have people look over your materials and give you honest feedback, and prep for interviews. That's what you can do.
 
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BuckeyeLove

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Given that interviews this cycle are expected to be all virtual, interpersonal factors observed on interview will probably be weighted even less heavily than usual.

I'm really curious about how this is going to play out. When I was on fellowship at my AMC, I was part of the internship committee, and the on-site interview was almost 100% about the interpersonal aspect. There was also rampant internalized sexism at play, as I saw many woman applicants get cut for things such as "wearing stripper boots" or something similar, however, that's for another discussion.
 

beginner2011

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I'm really curious about how this is going to play out. When I was on fellowship at my AMC, I was part of the internship committee, and the on-site interview was almost 100% about the interpersonal aspect. There was also rampant internalized sexism at play, as I saw many woman applicants get cut for things such as "wearing stripper boots" or something similar, however, that's for another discussion.

Wow! That couldn't be more different than my experience at VA. I guess there's quite a large degree of variation between programs' selection/ranking criteria.

In your experience, what proportion of ranking was interview vs application materials?
 
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neuro21

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Thank you all for the responses! I will definitely keep these valuable advices in mind while working on my apps. One more thing I would like to ask is regarding post-interview communication. I know how you express interest in the cover letters tailored to specific programs will matter when it comes to receiving interview invites. I was wondering if sending a letter of intent to a site you plan to rank #1 or top choices is encouraged after the interview?
 
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beginner2011

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Thank you all for the responses! I will definitely keep these valuable advices in mind while working on my apps. One more thing I would like to ask is regarding post-interview communication. I know how you express interest in the cover letters tailored to specific programs will matter when it comes to receiving interview invites. I was wondering if sending letters of intent to rank a site #1 or a top choice very highly is encouraged to send to programs after the interview?
I'm not entirely sure on the specific letter-of-the-law on this, but my understanding is that this is highly discouraged. It may actually be a punishable offense. I believe applicants and sites are explicitly instructed not to discuss rankings.
 
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SomeGreatNotion

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I'm not entirely sure on the specific letter-of-the-law on this, but my understanding is that this is highly discouraged. It may actually be a punishable offense. I believe applicants and sites are explicitly instructed not to discuss rankings.

Yup I'll echo beginner but I'll be more forthright on this. DON'T DO IT! Do not even try to allude that you plan on ranking the site as your #1. If anything, a site might infer that you are willing to bend on ethics and not rank you at all. I had considered sending brief, handwritten thank you letters to interviewers at sites I especially liked but did not have the time (or energy) to do so. I still got matched to my #1.
 
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futureapppsy2

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Yup I'll echo beginner but I'll be more forthright on this. DON'T DO IT! Do not even try to allude that you plan on ranking the site as your #1. If anything, a site might infer that you are willing to bend on ethics and not rank you at all. I had considered sending brief, handwritten thank you letters to interviewers at sites I especially liked but did not have the time (or energy) to do so. I still got matched to my #1.
100%. Don't in any way allude to how you would rank a site.
 
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forensic13

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Thank you all for the responses! I will definitely keep these valuable advices in mind while working on my apps. One more thing I would like to ask is regarding post-interview communication. I know how you express interest in the cover letters tailored to specific programs will matter when it comes to receiving interview invites. I was wondering if sending a letter of intent to a site you plan to rank #1 or top choices is encouraged after the interview?

A thank you letter is fine, and people will give different advice on whether or not to do this. But absolutely do not tell them how you plan to rank; that is against APPIC rules. They also cannot give hints as to how they plan to rank you.

I agree with others that the rest of your metrics seem strong. Making sure you submit quality reports for writing samples and tailoring your cover letters to each site will be important.
 
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futureapppsy2

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I'm really curious about how this is going to play out. When I was on fellowship at my AMC, I was part of the internship committee, and the on-site interview was almost 100% about the interpersonal aspect. There was also rampant internalized sexism at play, as I saw many woman applicants get cut for things such as "wearing stripper boots" or something similar, however, that's for another discussion.
How were they operationalizing “stripper boot”?
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Wow! That couldn't be more different than my experience at VA. I guess there's quite a large degree of variation between programs' selection/ranking criteria.

In your experience, what proportion of ranking was interview vs application materials?

It can definitely vary from one site to the next. From training through being an ECP, I've participated in ranking meetings that varied from placing little emphasis on the interview other than whether or not applicant remained appropriate and was reasonably personable, to basing much of the decision (particularly not to rank) on interview appearance and performance. However, my anecdotal experience is that generally more sites lean toward the former than the latter.

Also, I agree 100% with what those above said RE: sending a letter after interviews. A"thank you" email is acceptable if you'd like, although it's not necessary and is very unlikely to impact your application status, but indicating how you are going to rank a site is against APPIC policy.
 
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