Applying to Externships

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

  1. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    Hello all! At my program we apply for externships pretty darn soon, in a little over a month. I was wondering if anyone has any advice, especially for someone like me who has worked with clinical populations, but not as a clinician or in a clinical capacity (i've shadowed groups as part of my training to lead one myself, i've worked in an educational and collegial way with people with SPMI, and in research I've recruited and given TI, T2, T3 structured interviews to participants in clinical research, but I've never worked on a suicide hotline or counseled at risk youth or anything like that). How do you apply to externships when the strongest part of your resume is research?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. psychmama

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    I wouldn't worry too much. Externs are not expected to necessarily have strong experience when applying. This varies with each site, of course, but the goal of the externships is to GIVE you that experience before you apply for internships. Your resume should highlight your clinically-related experiences and interests. Again, I wouldn't worry too much about being able to show this was actual clinical work. It's hard for people to get that before they hit grad school.

    good luck!:)
     
  3. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    thanks! i just worry when i look at the externship descriptions and see that well over half to three-quarters ask for 1 year or more of clinical experience. about 1/3 of my cohort has a masters already, so they can apply for those right away along with the upper class people, but the rest of
    us don't, because as you said it's touch, and maybe not all that advisable, for folks w/o grad education to work clinically with clients. I have a friend who is in her 1st year of a clinical program and, w/o prior clinical experience, started seeing clients her first month in the program. she was totally freaked out, but now can apply to those externships!

    it's way better being in a program than applying, but it's not like the stress ends once you get in!
     
  4. LaLuna123

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    I getting worried about applying to externships too! How many are you thinking of applying to? I am somewhat limited due to the population I want to work with. Also, I don't want to go somewhere that is more focused on cognitive and behavioral treatments. In my geographic area finding this can sometimes be difficult...
     
  5. psychmama

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    For what it's worth, I usually applied to between 1-3 externships during the years I was applying to them. Of course, in some cases the externships were more competitive than others. My strategy was to figure out each year what was the experience I wanted to add to my CV before applying to internship. So, one year I worked in an agency serving children and families, another I applied to 2 college counseling centers, another year I applied to a couple of psychiatric hospitals. This approach worked well for me, because I wanted to be able to say that I'd had exposure to a number of different treatment settings and populations. Of course, if I'd planned to specialize more in treating one specific population (eg., autism, or geriatrics) I might have structured things differently. I guess the main thing I'd advise would be to think about where you'd like to end up at the point you apply to internships, then plan the path that will get you there. Don't be discouraged if you don't get your top choice externship as a 1st or 2nd yr student -- sometimes you have a chance to get these when you're more advanced (eg, your 3rd or 4th yr).

    Good luck!:luck:
     
  6. LaLuna123

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    Thanks for the advice Psychmama!

    I'm surprised though that you only applied to 1-3, given that some of the placements I've looked at only take 2 externs. I was thinking around 6 or 7...but I have no idea how many people apply for each slot, some are at very competitive places. Maybe that's a bit excessive? I really have no idea whatsoever what my chances are, given that this is my first extermnship and I only have some assessment and therapy experience from my school's clinic.
     
  7. psychmama

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    I guess it depends on where you're applying. Some sites, like at the big hospitals, are very competitive. Others less so. Most of my externships took more than 2 externs, so maybe that's a difference. Best advice is to check with students in your program that are a bit more advanced than you. Find out what they did, since that will be more reliable than what I or anyone somewhere else did. Just remember that you have to start somewhere, and there should be time to get that "perfect' externship sometime before you need to apply to internships. I wish you well, and remember -- externs do not get paid, so they should be happy to have you! (No always true, but I found it helpful to think this way).:D
     
  8. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    Wow! I'm in NYC and I was told by upperclasspeople to apply to at least 20, since I'm a first year and have no externship-quality clinical experience. There goes my winter break!
     
  9. LaLuna123

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    Psybee, I am terrified after reading your post!! I'm in NYC too.... 20????? I went to an externship information session (for all of the schools in the area), and one of the speakers who was asked how many places one should apply to said he'd never heard of anyone applying to more than 7. Oh my.... Is that what you're planning on doing? I don't know if I'd be able to think of that many places where I'd want to spend a whole year, without completely changing the population I want to work with!
    :scared:
     
  10. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    Uh oh, I didn't mean to freak you out! PM me--It'll be okay! Especially if you have clinical experience.

    I really didn't mean to freak anyone out. I'm the freaked one who needs to chill! I'm especially wondering about how coverletters and letters of rec. should be formatted. Is this applying to PhD programs part deux, or can my letters of rec be more general. I guess that question is moot, since no ones gonna personalize 20 letters in 3 weeks.
     
  11. nononora

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    20?!?!?! Is it a program specific thing where they expect you to apply for externship in your first-year? I believe most programs in NYC require externships only in the third and fourth years.

    My program director says we should apply to 3-4 programs but most of us will be applying to more, maybe 6?

    I agree with LaLuna in that you'd be hard-pressed to find 20 NYC sites offering you experience with the same population.
     
  12. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    yep, we apply 1st year and usually begin over the summer between 1st and 2nd year (that's why it's so hard--we don't start in the clinic til second semester 1st year, after apps have already gone out). i think 2nd+ years apply to under ten. they tell us our goal should be to get general expereince, so i'm looking at a few different populations, and planning to get more specific the next round.

    stressy!
     
  13. LaLuna123

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    At my school externships are in 3rd and 4th year, but I do know some schools in the area start in the first semester of the 1st year.

    Does anyone have any idea how many applications a site will receive? Most of the places I'm applying to are pretty well known hospitals, and I'm scared that these places will be super competitive. I'm applying to maybe 2 "safety" places, but even of those may be more difficult to get than I'm hoping...I really don't know.

    Any insiders here who might know?
     
  14. LaLuna123

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    I have 3 questions to other NYC externship applicants:

    1. What form are your recommendations in? Just letters, or sealed+signed across seal?

    2. Are you sending materials that aren't specifically requested? E.g. transcript or sample report/other writing sample.

    3. Is anyone else having conflicts with wanting to apply to certain sites, but they have certain required day/days that you are required to be in class? I'm wondering how much you can get around this as a couple of my top sites clash with my school days...:(

    Anyone? I'm starting to stress...
     
  15. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    hey, i'm sorry i somehow missed your update to this thread--

    1. I was getting the trad signed/sealed thing--for me, there weren't too many where you were supposed to apply via email, but if that were the case i would have asked my recommenders to email it directly. i'm a put-everything-in-one-packet kind of person, since i know how easy it is for stuff to get lost.

    2. i didn't do that. in fact, i was told by 2nd and 3rd years that if you don't have everything together to just email them and attach your CV, letting them know that you are applying, interested, etc, ad that the rest of your info will be forthcoming.

    3. i ended up accepting an externship that means i have to miss one class and take it next year, it's kinda a pain but i doubt this is the 1st or largest compromise i'll have to make between academics and clinical work.

    i hope you're apps are going well!
     
  16. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    I didn't see your update either!

    1. Just regular letters - sites don't require seals + signature unless specifically requested. Only one site I've seen so far requires that.

    2. Nope. If they don't request it I'm assuming they don't place much importance on it?

    3. I don't know my Fall 09 schedule yet (like the days/times of my classes) but at this point, externship is more important to me than a class I can postpone till summer or my 4th year.

    I think people at my school are applying to between 6-8 sites. I personally looked at all the sites and only 6 matched what I was really looking for.

    psybee - sounds like you got an externship already?
     
  17. LaLuna123

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    Thanks both of you for the replies.

    Good for you Psybee for getting a spot already!
    I only just sent my materials off, so I'm not expecting to hear yet. Although I do have one interview lined up, which I'm getting really nervous about! I really have no idea how knowledgeable they expect me to be about clinical issues.

    I keep going back and forth between worrying about not getting in anywhere, and having to turn down several sites if I'm accepted at more than one place... I guess the latter option would be better, but will probably apply again next year some of these sites so I don't want them to have a bad impression of me or make me seem uninterested. :confused:
     
  18. LaLuna123

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    I ended up applying to 8 sites. Have you heard yet from any of those that adhered to the Jan 15 earliest application date? I haven't heard a peep from these, but I guess it's only been a couple of days...:xf:
     
  19. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    someone in my program told me you need to be able to answer 2 questions: 1) tell me about your research and 2) tell me about a case you've had. this may not have to even be a one on one or anything--it could be an intake you observed, but just to be able to think clinically but the case, report the content of a case on the level of say a case report, that sort of thing.
     
  20. LaLuna123

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    Thanks for the advice! I feel like I haven't had an interview for ages, although it wasn't that long ago I was applying to doctoral programs.

    It appears the interview invites are starting to trickle in today! :eek:
     
  21. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    I applied to 6 and haven't heard a peep yet, although I did only mail them out on Friday (01/16).
     
  22. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    Just got my first interview invite!
     
  23. LaLuna123

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    I had a couple of interviews, which weren't as bad as I thought. I'm having more next week although I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of my top sites. I don't know how long I should expect to wait as most places seem to call me in a couple of days within submitting the application. I'm also realizing how important it is that the site is a good fit for me, beyond just the population being treated. However, I have no idea how I compare to the other applicants and what my chances are. I'd assume that most people accepted into doctoral programs would do fairly well in these interviews!
     
  24. LaLuna123

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    I hope I don't have to keep this thread alive by myself!

    I've interviewed at 5 of the sites I applied to, but still haven't heard anything from 3 of the sites, which also happen to be very high up on my list.

    Some of the places I interviewed will inform applicants about decisions within a week, but I don't know what to say [in the case that I get an offer] before I know what the deal is with the other two. Anyone else having/had this problem? I don't know whether I should contact the other externship sites and ask whether they've already contacted applicants for interviews.
     
  25. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    I imagine it's like when we were applying to Grad school (or applying for jobs)--if you haven't heard from them, you can always send a polite email or call, restating your interest. NYC is very competitive, and the proactive tend to be rewarded.

    Likewise with school or grad school, it would seem somewhat unprofessional to make you decide on the spot (I know my place gave me 2 weeks to decide). If they think that you're talented, they know that you've applied to more than just them and that you're likely to get other offers. Once again, as professionals in training, asking when would be best to get back to them, etc., should be fine.

    Good luck! I'm looking for a summer externship right now--if anyone has any leads (adults or geriatric), especially in Bklyn, I'd be very thankful!
     
  26. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    I've heard from 3 of my 6 sites and had my first interview yesterday with the second one tomorrow and the third on Tuesday. This is more competitive than I thought it would be!

    The director at my first interview said they'd let me know by next Tuesday and if offered a spot, that I'd have to make a decision that day. A little unfair if you ask me. I also interview at my top spot next Tuesday so it could definitely be a conundrum, although it's one I don't mind having to be honest.

    What types of sites did you apply to LaLuna123? Mine are all adult inpatient units. I heard that Elmhurst had 40 applicants for 2 spots! Can't wait for internship soon :laugh:
     
  27. LaLuna123

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    I decided to go ahead and email those places I haven't heard from, good advice psybee. You're site sounds great for giving you 2 weeks to decide! I know that at least a couple of the places I applied to give 2 days to decide.

    nononora: I applied to all child-adolescent sites. I had no idea how many people apply to these spots, but 40 sounds like a lot!! I know there's a number of programs in the NYC area, but still for so many people to have such similar interests...

    But this is definitely good preparation for internship, if anything. I wonder how internship interviews compare to the one's we are having now?
     
  28. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    Even the folks a year ahead of me were surprised by how competitive this years' process has been, and the 3rd and 4th years can't believe it.

    In NYC we have tons of schools and I know some internship sites accept masters and SW externs as well as doctoral psych externs, so the competition is even beyond the PhD/PsyD programs. I'm sure this is nothing like externship though!:rolleyes:
     
  29. LaLuna123

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    The more interviews I go on, the more I hear scary things such as 50+ people applying, getting loads of interviews but not being accepted anywhere, people having to send out a second round of applications after not getting accepted anywhere, etc. :scared: I just wish this was over soon! Although I am happy to be able to visit different sites, this will definitely help me decide what kinds of places I want to apply to next time around and internship.
     
  30. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    I do think you have some of the same phenoms that occur w/ applying to Clin PhD programs--people applying to a lot of externships and also people positions way above them, thus to a degree artifically inflating the ratio of applied to accepted. I know I talked to folks w/ no clinical experience to speak of applying to places like NYU Child Study and Beth Israel, some of the most competitive ones around, and people are applying to more positions than before as well--sine externships are not funded, it's unlikely that there are less available slots, so the question is are there more qualified applicants applying (making things genuinely more competitive) or are there just more applicants than usual, but the same amount of truly qualified people and available slots.

    all we can do is our best--I'm sure you'll get something swell!
     
  31. LaLuna123

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    I don't even really know what's considered very competitive in this city...I guess hospitals affiliated with medical schools tend to some of the most competitive, like Bellevue or Mount Sinai. I interviewed at both places you mentioned, and I have no idea how many people I'm competing against. I'm guessing the more specialized the placement the less applicants? Or perhaps not.
     
  32. LaLuna123

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    I just got my first rejection by email, I'm getting super worried now!!!!!!! It's really starting to affect the rest of my work, it's hard to concentrate on anything else when all I want to do is refresh my email!
     
  33. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    Any luck yet LaLuna? I've already accepted an offer so I'm glad it's all over with. For now. Most in my program have heard back too.
     
  34. LaLuna123

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    I just accepted a place, it was my first choice and I'm so excited!!!! Although now I'm getting a bit scared also...it'll definitely be challenging and a lot of work, but great experience. Are you happy with your placement nononora?

    I haven't heard anything from most places I interviewed at, and I wonder whether I should inform them that I've accepted an offer.
     
  35. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    Yup I got my first choice too! Took some time to do my victory dance :)

    I think it's a good idea to tell the places you interviewed at to take you out of consideration lest they call you with an offer and you have to awkwardly reject them :laugh:
     
  36. LaLuna123

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    Congratulations!

    Haha I know exactly what you mean, I definitely did a dance all around my apartment after I got the phone call! :p I still can't believe it! I want to get prepared for it somehow, do some extra readings on the specific area etc. - I don't want to let them down..
     
  37. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    congrats both of you!!! i was lucky to get the one i wanted right away, which saved me some stress, but i think i also missed on on the learning expereince you two had (my only interviews were rather informal ones). i you can bet i'll ask for pointers and tips in the future!
     
  38. LaLuna123

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    I'm resurrecting this thread for 2010!!!

    I found it quite helpful to read though our exchanges last year, as once again it's time for externship applications.

    I'm getting really anxious again, although I am SO much more prepared this year.

    Last year I sent all my materials so that they'd be at the sites on the 15th, but this time one of my letter writers told me she won't be able to write my letter until early next week. Will this put me at a significant disadvantage? I know the 15th isn't a deadline, but last year I got interviews pretty soon after the date.

    Should I mail my existing materials before I receive the final letter, or just wait to send them together?

    :eek:
     
  39. LaLuna123

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    Any New Yorkers out there?


    I found it so much easier to pick sites I wanted to apply to last year, this time around I'm not finding many sites that seem to offer the experiences I'm looking for. Also, I'm getting worried about whether each site will provide the training I need before APPIC.

    Anyone had interviews yet? A couple of people in my program have had some, but not at sites that adhere to the Jan 15 deadline.
     
  40. IT514

    IT514 Neuropsychologist
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    I'm in Chicago, applying to my 2nd practicum (therapy). I'm definitely less excited this time around, mainly b/c I'm in neuropsych and want to stay in my rut. I'm sure I'll get over it once I visit a few sites. I applied to a handful of hospitals and schools, which will give me at least a few assessments.

    Our deadline for apps is Feb 12th, so we have a few weeks out here before interviews.
     
  41. dynapsych

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    FYI, I am the training director at a clinical site that takes between 5 and 8 externs each year from local doctoral programs (although not in the NYC area). If you have any specific questions I might be able to answer, feel free to post them here or PM me. Good luck with the application process!
     
  42. LaLuna123

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    Only heard back from one place I applied to...this is making me so nervous! Then again, a lot of the sites did say to send materials by Feb 1, so maybe they're actually waiting until that date to start interviewing. I'm worried as I only applied to really competitive sites this year.
     
  43. IT514

    IT514 Neuropsychologist
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    I wouldnt worry too much about it. Our deadline in Chicago is Feb 12th for most sites. I would think that if the sites you are applying to have intern and post-doc applications, they arent going to think about externs until after that cluster-f is over and those decisions are made.
     
  44. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    I'm having the same situation too, tho I'm not entirely sure which sites are most competitive (i mean, outside of bellevue). i feel like i wrote some darn fine cover letters, but also am waiting for interviews. like you said, most places have the feb 1 deadline so it's not time to worry just yet ( tho of course i am)! I always wonder how to balance wanting to just get a good extenship (so applying to as many sites as you can imagine wanting to train at) with the thought that I still have 2 more years of externship training and if i apply to everyone i want this year, what if i have the great fortune to get 2 awesome sites, and have to turn down one, one which i would love to attend next year? will that be a strike against me?
     
  45. psychmama

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    This can be a dilemma. The way I resolved it was to concentrate on different aspects of my training goals each year. So the first 2 yrs I applied to child-oriented sites. The following yr I did a counseling center, and yr 4 I did a hospital and ran some groups through my school clinic. By the time I applied to internships I had a well-rounded cv in terms of clinical experience. I realize this approach wouldn't work for everyone -- some people prefer to be more focused in their training. It worked well for me though.
     
  46. psybee

    psybee Psychology Grad Student!
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    how many spots did you apply to per cycle? i've got a few specific training goals myself but if i just apply to only one of them a year, that's maybe 5-7 sites and i worry that isn't enough apps to secure myself a spot.

    also, what do you think of doing 2 externships that are part of the same hospital system ( in my case i think it's the system you're interning in). the sites, populations, etc are very different and i know my training won't be inbred, but i worry others may see it that way.

    many thanks!
     
  47. psychmama

    5+ Year Member

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    psybee - in my case I was sort of assigned my first year externship (yes, we do one right when we start school).

    Second year I applied to just one -- an agency serving children and families -- and I didn't really have a backup plan if that didn't pan out. Luckily it was less competitive since it wasn't in NYC.

    My third year I applied to three counseling centers and got accepted to two.

    Fourth year I knew I needed hospital experience, so I applied to three sites and ended up at an inpatient hospital.

    Fifth year (I took an extra yr before internship) I applied to three sites, got accepted at all three.

    I agree that externships get more competitive every year, so applying to more than 1 or 2 may make sense, particularly if you're looking in a competitive area like NYC. I never applied to as many as 5-7 sites, but I looked at some outside of NYC that were not as competitive. I see no problem with applying to a different externship at the same hospital. Bellevue, for example, has at least 3 different externships run by different supervisors and addressing very different populations and training needs. I think as long as you could articulate this on interviews and in your CV, you'd have no problem.
     
    #47 psychmama, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  48. LaLuna123

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    I think I applied to 8 last year, 6 this year. A couple of the ones I'm applying to this year I didn't even get an interview at last year. I'm hoping that's because I had no prior externships, rather than there being something else in my application that they didn't like! This year I only applied to major hospitals, and sites that also have an internship program. I'm guessing that makes them more competitive (or at least more well known), but I'm not sure.

    Psychmama: that's a lot of externships you have behind you!!! In my program we only do 2 (plus clinical work in my school's clinic). How many hours did you have when applying for internships? Do you have significantly more than others at your internship site now?
     
  49. psychmama

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    I had about 1100 face to face hrs going into internship. It was more than some, but there was another intern who had even more than me. He also took a 5th yr before applying. Also, I'm in a psyd program where they start you in the clinic and at practicum right away your first year. Most from my program have done like 4-5 externships before internship.
     
  50. JerseyChick

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    Hey...

    I am so glad to know that there are a few others here in NYC.. I applied to 8 or 9 places and have two interviews so far. I'm scared though because I haven't heard anything else from the other placements and the other two responded rather quickly...

    I am thinking about calling the other placements later this week to follow up on them.
     

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