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Internship Essay Advice

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by CatLover&PsychEnthusiast, Jun 21, 2018.

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  1. CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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    Hello,

    This is my first post on here. I am working on my essays for internship applications and I would like to ask for advice, particularly from seasoned psychologists on this site. So, the autobiographical essay, how personal should you really get? I have seen several examples at this point, all very different. Some seem not so personal at all. Obviously one doesn't want to make the essay like a diary entry to divulge things you would only tell your best friend, but what about experiences from your personal life that lead you to your interests? I'm not talking personal mental health issues, but for example, let's say your grandmother had Alzhiemer's disease and that made you want to help that population in particular. Would such topics be too personal? What do you look for (or not look for) in a candidate and their autobiography?

    Thanks for your insight :)
     
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  3. bigdreamer3

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    This has been addressed in the past, so it might be helpful to do a search and see what comes up. Basically, there is no "right" answer for this question. It's the autobiographical essay, which makes it completely yours. It is important to consider your audience, setting, and your comfort in what prospective employers will know about you. It is your chance to describe who you are and how your personal experiences have shaped your professional interests. Tell your story in a way that explains your journey and demonstrates the person that you are!
     
  4. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist
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    100% agree. I enjoy the bio essays that do this well, without going into details. Let me get a sense of the broad strokes of your journey, but keep me guessing and curious on the specifics - we don't need to know (or want to know) super duper personal things.
     
  5. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Everyone will have different answers here. IMO, the essays are the least important part of the application. The only thing I'm looking at is can someone write fairly coherently and make sure there are no glaring red flags in the essays. I'd go for the safe bet, but that's just me.
     
  6. CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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    Thanks for your response! I did do a quick search before posting and was surprised I didn’t find anything, though I may have search improperly. Anyhow, I appreciate the info :)
     
  7. bigdreamer3

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    Ahhh. Well I've been following this site for a few years now and I know I've read similar questions, but there may not have been previous threads focused on it specifically. Good luck!
     
  8. Thelostlilac

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    Hi! Not sure if you've purchased this already, but this book helped me a lot with the essays:

    I struggled with how personal to get as well, but the book has good, okay, and bad examples that can help you find the middle ground. Good luck!
     
  9. super.ego

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    I think the orientations/cultures of the sites to which one applies should be factored as well, e.g., psychodynamic sites might value self-disclosure—in moderation—and view non-vulnerable and conventional essays as indicative of defensiveness or a lack of capacity for introspection.
     
    #8 super.ego, Jun 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  10. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist
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    Agreed.
     
  11. Magick91683

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    If the reader feels slightly uncomfortable after reading your essay you have probably disclosed too much. On the other hand, a regurgitation of your CV is extremely boring. I personally hate the cliche quotes at the beginning but I do like a good metaphorical theme

    And the biggest no-no in my book is disclosing your own past mental health history and thinking that somehow makes you an expert or qualified in that particular area.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using SDN mobile
     
  12. CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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    Thank you all for your input, I didn’t know about that “Internships in Psychology” book, I’ll have to check that out.
     
  13. CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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    Oh yes, totally
     
    Magick91683 likes this.
  14. CompleteUnknown

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    Yes, exactly. More psychodynamic/humanistic sites (many university counseling centers, specific psychodynamic institutions, etc.) want to see that you can engage in some self-reflection and communicate it effectively. This doesn't mean totally spilling your guts (about trauma, your mental health diagnoses, your family's dysfunction, etc.) or being unprofessional. I am at one of these kind of sites and they pay attention for the depth of self-awareness in the essays because, well, you're probably gonna be miserable at the site if it's brand new to you.

    My sense from reading the essays of my friends who applied to VAs and hospitals was that they were much less disclosing and more focused on their career aspirations/achievements.

    My main advice for the essays is to get your garbage first draft out of the way by the end of August! Then get feedback from trusted supervisors/advisors. They will be able to tell you if the essay reflects you and your goals well.
     

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