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Applying for internships when you have an academic goal

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by JockNerd, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. JockNerd

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    Although this is still a few years away for me, I was hoping to get thoughts from some people on applying for internships when you have a clear future goal of academic/researcher in mind.

    I certainly don't hate or fear clinical work (or I'd be in Social psych or BN or something), but I have a clear vision in my head of what I want to do and it isn't private practice or counseling center work. The problem as I see it is that in preparation for that career trajectory, my CV is going to become unmistakable as the CV of a person whose goal is academia. I'm going to get as much clinical experience in my entire grad school experience as my colleague Raynee got in her first year, for example, but I should have two first-author pubs by the end of this calender year and more on the way. So, while I'm doing clinical things and department service stuff, it's going to be obvious that I'm not going to keep on at, say, the student counseling center that I might apply to for internship.

    How did others who had this trajectory (board posters or people you might know) find internship applications? My understanding is that a number of places look for future employees when they choose interns. And, since it would presumably be clinicians who are making the intern selection, I could see that there may be a feeling they they "made their choice" for their career, and might see it as superior to a research-focused career (and thus me as less wise).

    Appreciate any thoughts on the topic. :)
     
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  3. psychanon

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    I don't think that having lots of pubs will ever hurt you, just as I doubt that having extra clinical hours will hurt you applying to an academically oriented internship. Internships don't expect every intern to become employees- or else they would have enormous staffs. Internships want to produce people who are leaders in the field, as it reflects well upon them. So I think you won't have a problem, given that you pursue that clinical work that internships want. That said, you may want to consider going to a more clinical science- oriented internship, simply because it may be a better match for your goals and because there your pubs will offer a larger boost to your chances.
     
  4. Ollie123

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    I'm glad you asked, I've been wondering this as well. We seem to have similar career goals, and I've always wondered whether pubs can "make up" for a lack of clinical experience. If you are applying to say, Brown (or U Chicago, Western, anyplace like that), do they actually WANT the people with the best publication records? Or are they still looking for top clinicians and just taking the publication record into greater account then other places? Like I said in the other thread though, I do hate clinical work, I just think its important to have SOME experience there to keep me grounded and not get too ivory-towerish with my research, otherwise I'd definitely be in an experimental psychopathology program.
     
  5. psychanon

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    Yes. They don't care that much about hours at those places.
     
  6. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Just be careful with where you apply because they are competitive for a reason, and you don't want to be left out in the cold because you only shoot for the very top programs. I'm not saying to go after poor matches, but just be aware that they are top spots for a reason, and many stellar apps are going to come across their desks.
     
  7. paramour

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    One of my profs who is heavily research-focused (vs. clinical work) recently indicated that he was not asked about any of his clinical work at most of his internship interviews. He pursued more research/science focused internships and they all inquired about his past/current/future research instead. He could only recall one place that asked him a single question that was directly relevant to clinical work itself.
     
  8. Therapist4Chnge

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    One of my supervisors did the brown internship (awhile back...maybe 10 years ago?) and she was pushing me to apply there....though I don't have the pubs to make it realistic. She said they didn't much care about therapy, but they asked her a ton about assessment and research.
     
  9. Cosmo75

    Cosmo75 Post-Doctoral Fellow
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    One way to evaluate the hours issue is to look at the APPIC database of sites. Each one lists the average # of clinical hours their applicants and incoming interns had for each year over the past 3 years, as well as minimum requirements for hours. They can also indicate special considerations, such as research/assessment criteria. I would suspect the heavily research oriented sites would be considerably lower in clinical hours than others who want more clinical experience.
     
  10. cmuhooligan

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    I was curious so I just looked up Brown's numbers on APPIC. 986 was the mean intervention/assessment hours for their most recent accepted class. To me that doesn't seem like they completely ignore the clinical side of things...however, simply looking at the number of hours doesn't speak to the quality thereof.
     
  11. psychanon

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    It's true that you should pick a balanced range of places when you choose where to apply, however it's also true that these types of sites look for different things. The more "clinically-oriented" sites look for tons of hours, whereas the more "research-oriented" sites look for tons of pubs, so someone very competitive for the latter may be uncompetitive for the former. One of my friends applied this year and got interviews at every research oriented place she applied (Brown, UIC, UW, etc.) but got no interviews at the clinically oriented places she applied (counseling centers, etc.), probably because she had a nice research vita but not too many clinical hours. I'm probably in the same boat when I apply this year. Which makes things difficult, because there really aren't any "safeties" that I could choose.


    Remember that the small N would distort things here.
     
  12. Ollie123

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    That's actually my concern as well - although my department may not be too happy with me for screwing up our numbers, I think I'd rather not match than match someplace other than a pretty serious research internship. Of course that's not to say there aren't places that offer good research opportunities aside from the pretty widely known ones mentioned earlier (I'm sure I'll find some once I'm closer to applying). Maybe my views will change, but I think an extra year would be better for me than going someplace purely clinical.
     
  13. Therapist4Chnge

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    It makes a difference, since it is a training year and you should train in what you want, and/or what will be helpful for your career.
     
  14. Eternalstudent2

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    Bumping this up because I see myself being in the situation in a few years and wonder if any of the original posters on this thread have since gone through the process.

    My situation is probably a little different because I'm in school psych and thus have fewer options for APA internship sites in general as well as fewer research heavy sites specifically. As others noted above, I've noticed that the research heavy sites tend to be among the most competitive, which doesn't make me any more optimistic. :oops: How much does going to a known research heavy internship site versus a solid, APA accredited site with less emphasis on research (e.g., sites offering major research rotations v. those offering only minor research rotations) matter in terms of securing academic or research jobs and post-docs?

    My program makes sure we get at least 600 or so intervention and assessment (face to face) hours before applying, but I know that's on the lower side for internship sites. Does it make sense to stay an extra year pre-internship and get more clinical experience (and publications out) if funding is available?

    Also, I've read somewhere about an informal 6 or 8 article minimum for in order to be in the running at research heavy sites. With the obvious caveats of quality over quantity, impact factor, and so on, is there any truth to that?

    Thanks!
     
  15. psycscientist

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    My experience has been that as long as you develop a consistent research story in grad school and get a decent number of pubs pre-application (I had 5, plus 1 submitted and 2 in prep), then post-doc generally works out fine. I didn't take an extra year, and applied to internship in my 4th year. My research specialty is pretty rare, so when I applied, I applied to all the sites where I could do my type of research in any fashion. I matched to a place that has a minor research rotation of 4 hours per week (although I put in more some weeks). I've had no problem securing a competitive research postdoc and I got interviews at most of the places that I applied.

    As for staying an extra year before internship, if the funding is there and you feel like you could do that, then that will obviously make you more competitive because you will have an extra year to get some more pubs out. I was really focused on getting out in 5 years and getting closer to making a real salary, so another year in grad school was not that appealing to me. Your mileage may vary.

    For academic jobs in a university, you will need at least a 3-4 first-authored pubs (in addition to others). For medical school academic jobs, they're hard to go after unless you've secured some type of grant funding. So unless you've done this in grad school, it's likely you'll need a postdoc before you'll be competitive for research jobs. Even then, depending on what you want to eventually do, you may need a postdoc for extra research training to develop skills you were not able to get in grad school.
     
  16. Eternalstudent2

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    Thanks for the input! By "secured grant funding," do you mean major grants (NIMH, NIDA, IES, etc) as a PI/Co-PI? I've been written into (by name) major grants but only in lower level positions (e.g., consultant, research assistant), but I'm guessing that wouldn't count for much....? As a first year, I have one first author publication accepted and three other articles with other authorships accepted or published, plus another first author submitted and three in prep (one first author, one second, one third), so I'm hoping to have a decent publication record if I can keep the momentum up. :)
     
  17. ClinicalTrainee

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    I'm currently on internship and applying for tenure-track faculty jobs (all at universities with clinical PhD programs, no liberal arts colleges or places with masters) straight away, without doing a postdoc. I've fared quite well on the job market (5 campus interviews, a few offers already) and I am at what I'd call a "research-friendly" internship rather than a research heavy internship. My internship site allows 4 research hours per week, mostly for finishing the dissertation, but it is a clinical year with very good training.

    I actually applied to many of the research-focused internships (Brown, WPIC, U of Washington, etc.) but ranked them lower than my current site because I knew full well that I was pursuing an academic career and this is the only time I will really have the opportunity to be a clinician. I wanted the clinical training, experiences with new populations, etc., so that I might ask more informed questions with my research and have some good clinical examples for teaching. From other people I've known who are on the academic track, this was a very different internship choice, but I feel very good about my decision. I can also say that being at a non-research internship has mattered exactly squat to the places I interviewed.
     
  18. psycscientist

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    Yes, that's what I've been told. So like NIH career development awards, etc. I'm not sure if this is a hard and fast rules for medical centers, but I do know that those jobs are typically soft money (i.e., you have to justify your position by either billable hours or grant money).
     
  19. LM02

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    This is largely true. And that's why staying for postdoc is often a good thing - during that time, you can submit the grants that will secure your transition to faculty. It's a stressful enterprise, both before and after you become faculty (because then you have to maintain the funding!). But the nice bonus if you can make it work?

    No job talk!
     

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