Jan 12, 2015
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I am trying to get a better understand of the hierarchy of internship sites out there for clinically-oriented students. Not sure if one exists. I have heard VAs take the top spot and university-based counseling centers are at the bottom (for reasons I don't fully understand). I'm not saying I intend to use this hierarchy to solely determine which sites to apply to - but it would be helpful to have an understanding of how the field views internship sites for post-doc etc.
 

str63

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There is not an overarching hierarchy. This is going to depend on what you want to get out of your training and what your career goals are. UCCs are actually quite competitive and I'm not sure why you'd hear that they are at the "bottom." Additionally, VAs for internship are great if you want to work in a VA for a career, but there are other settings that may be better if you have different career goals. Sometimes within an area (i.e., neuropsych, forensics, peds, health, etc.), some sites will have a more prestigious name than others, but again, these sites may not fit your goals. I'd recommend findings sites that match your training/career goals.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Agreed with the above. At this point, I don't think there's a clearly-defined hierarchy in terms of setting. And given that internship is only a year, I recommend focusing on sites that will afford you the types of training opportunities you're wanting. Working with well-known staff and/or at a well-known site is a bonus, such as for postdoc apps, rec letters, and networking, but isn't going to make-or-break an otherwise solid CV.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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It’s probably more helpful to think of which sites will give you the best opportunity to secure a solid post-doc/fellowship. It’s a bit harder to get at until you interview, but if your program tracks student matches and where they go, that can be a place to start.

I ranked my eventual match site a lot higher after I interviewed bc it had a solid record of placing Neuro ppl at top-tier Neuro fellowships, despite being a generalist site. I put it ahead of most of the prestigious sites bc I trusted my mentor who told me to rank based on my feel of the place (and supervisors) and how it fit my career objectives. Match is a lot less chaotic now compared to 10-12 years ago, so that should help too.
 
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Sanman

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As others have mentioned, there is no real hierarchy as it really is more about career goals. That said, you may have heard the VA is more prestigious and UCCs are less prestigious due to competitiveness because of the pay differences.
 
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foreverbull

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Agree with others; internship selection is about career fit and should be in the same training area as your intended postdoc, usually.

I think some grad students tend to overestimate the prestige concept. There are competitive spots amongst all of the types of internships, so it’s not as simple as saying X type of site is more prestigious than Y type of site.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t any biases at times amongst some faculty/supervisors/sites with regard to certain types of training sites, which may have been communicated to you, perhaps?
 

NeuroWise

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By how much some of the people I've interacted with over the years have fawned over and lauded the San Diego consortium and Brown, you'd think it was them at the top of the heap and then the "others."
 

PsyDWannabe

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I think some grad students tend to overestimate the prestige concept. There are competitive spots amongst all of the types of internships, so it’s not as simple as saying X type of site is more prestigious than Y type of site.
THIS.