I believe that myself and other very qualified classmates did not
match as a result of the imbalance between applicants and positions. I
believe that we, as a psychology community, have tried to create our
match system based on the medical students match system and that is not a
sufficient way of completeing our match process, as the medical
programs have more positions when compared to students. Getting an
education is time, money and energy-comsuming and the possibility of
being set back a year is somewhat traumatizing after one has been
working extremely hard for years to get to this point. It also has a
personal effect on one's self-esteem. I believe there needs to be a
better and more efficient system created, possibly based more on the
phone match system used throughout practicum placements.
I have not matched this year even though I have worked for an
internship program for the past 3 years. As a result of my position, I
received alot of help and was privy to inside information regarding how
to successfully match. I also have significant work experience as well
as a separate Master's degree in psychology from another program. I
successfully proposed my dissertation (before applications were due) and
have no ethical violations on my record. I have been told by numerous
faculty members that I interview well and have made a good name for
myself in my program (APA accredited). None of these experiences and
hard work has helped me secure an internship. This year, I saw my peers
successfully match without the same level of experience in the field, as
well as little to NO experience in the clinical setting of the site
they matched. At this time matching to an internship seems to be a
convoluted and unfair process to me. So now, I am in my 30s, still in
school and have at least 100K in student loans that I have to pay back
for a degree I can't receive for the next 2 years. Needless to say, my
husband and family are shocked and very concerned that I cannot move
ahead with my career. I am also starting to seriously doubt my decision
to become a psychologist (which since undergraduate school, I have never
doubted). I wish there was a way for APA to speed up the accreditation
process in order to create more slots at other sites. I can't think of
what else can be done at this point to address the imbalance. As a
result of not matching, I am unable to buy a house, or start my family
because I cannot finish this degree. I also have to deal with the stigma
of not matching from my peers as well as from faculty and future
employers (if I decide to tell them why I need additional clinical
experience). I know many would suggest not allowing so many students
into doctoral programs. I would counter that this is America. In this
country, we believe that if you have the desire, motivation, and good
work ethic, you can achieve your goals. Unfortunately in the field of
psychology this is no longer true for me as well as many others. So much
for the American dream...
I received an internship placement at a non-APA accredited site,
as did many of my colleagues and friends. We are worried about how this
will affect our future. I believe the imbalance between the number of
sites available and the number of students applying is a huge problem
and needs to be attacked at the source. Private schools should stop
admitting 100 students per year and start being more selective, since
the number of internship sites is unlikely to change due to economic
factors. Letting in so many students only serves to make our profession
more job competitive as well as furthering the gap in internship
Incredibly anxiety-provoking to know going into this process that
approximately 800 people -- all of whom could be qualified -- would not
match because there are not enough positions available.
I have accrued over $110,000 in student loans. I have defended my
dissertation, and I have successfully completed all other program
requirements. I am also attending an APA accredited program. This is the
second year that I have not matched and I have no idea what I can do
differently. I have consulted with faculty and classmates from my
university, as well as the counseling center to work on my interviewing
skills. I have worked so incredibly hard to get to this point and I am
terrified I will never match and all of the sacrifices my family and I
have made will be for nothing. Either the number of students allowed
into programs needs to be drastically limited, or there needs to be
enough sites to accommodate students. This is truly a travesty.
I find it distressing to have successfully completed my academic
requirements and paid an enormous amount of money to ultimately be
subjected to a numbers game in order to achieve my degree. I understand
the market is over flooded with applicants and the economy limits the
number of internship positions. However, it is then incumbent upon the
leaders and administrators in the field to address and remedy the
inequality in this situation.
The process of applying in itself is unduly stressful. Family, friends,
and significant others also bare the brunt of such stress. Thus the
stress is only amplified when the future is left more to chance and
ambiguity than hard work and defined process.
I am not sure how this situation can be remedied but I will leave it on
the laps of our leaders in the field and uneasily hope for the best.
The only benefit to the imbalance is that it helps with the
gate-keeping that psychology programs are not doing. Unqualified
applicants are more likely to fall in the group of those who don't
match. There are exceptions, of course, as I have seen unqualified
applicants match, and highly qualified applicants not match. Training
programs must do a better job of gate-keeping, and limit the number of
individuals they accept into training programs (of course I realize most
programs are not willing to do this).
The imbalance has motivated me to want to get involved in APA/APPIC and
counseling center administration to do what I can as a professional to
correct this huge problem. I know that no entity wants to take
responsibility for the imbalance, but someone MUST step up and make a
change. This is unacceptable.
I personally think that the large Psy.D school are partially at
fault for creating this balance. I don't think the APA is doing as much
to persuade these schools to limit the numbers of their students.
I'm also frustrated with the amount of money required and invested for
JUST one year in one's life. It's about equivalent to the amount of
money spent on the graduate school process, which is a 6 year process.
I did not match. I had eight interviews. NMS informed me that I
was ranked by six sites (information which I think should be made
available in general). Statistically, I should have matched. I had
almost 900 intervention and assessment hours at a variety of settings.
When I contacted sites after the match to ask how I could improve, they
said that my interview, application, and essays were all great and they
were surprised I did not match. I woke up that Friday morning with
excitement and anticipation. This past month, since getting the news, I
have felt despondent, depressed, and lost. I do not understand how
this system has allowed such a discrepancy to exist. There are
professional schools putting 70+ applicants into the system each year,
while they maintain affiliated sites that only their students are
allowed to apply to. Their are hundreds of accreditation worthy sites,
that have not been accredited due to the slow and expensive
accreditation process. I am 28 years old. I have been in school for 22
years. I am ready to start my life, and I have been stymied by this
ridiculous process. I worked very hard to be a competitive applicant.
Both my experience and the feedback from the sites I interviewed with
confirm that I achieved that goal. And yet I did not match. I know that
this is an issue that APA is aware of. But until you experience it as
someone like me, you cannot know how serious an issue this is on a
personal level. I feel that this professional organization of which I
am a member, has failed me and has failed 931 other students this year.
It is time to make a serious, drastic, and radical change to this
system. Not one that will be effective in 10 years, 5 years or 2 years,
I think it's ridiculous that there are so many applicants for so
few spots. At this stage in our educational career, we should have some
choice in where we end up. Instead, it feels like we will settle for
anything, anywhere. In every other field in which a match occurs, the
applicant truly does have a chance of ended up where they want to be and
not having to settle.
While University-based programs continue to have the opportunity
to carefully choose a few select students, professional programs are
accepting more and more students every year. This eventually greatly
contributes to the imbalance between internship positions and applicants
because the number of positions does not seem to be increasing at such a
high rate. This is incredibly frustrating for someone who didn't
match, particularly when their school is contributing to the problem and
the administration will not see reason. Another year of school without
internship is quite a financial burden and the quality of the students
seems to become diluted, lowering the school's reputation, and affecting
the probability of getting an internship not only of their own
students, but of students at other schools as well. It would be great
if the APA could limit the number of people allowed into a program as
part of the accreditation process. It may look like the school is
providing good experience on paper when they apply for accreditation,
but with the same amount of resources spread over more students, that
may not be the case (e.g. practicums have become increasingly more
competitive, and as such, students aren't getting the face-to-face hours
that they need). However, no student in their right mind would share
this with the APA because it would be terrible for their current program
to lose accreditation. For the people that get the experiences they
need, professional schools can be great, but the people who are left
behind can become stuck until they can get the experiences they need
(e.g. internship), placing a drain on financial resources, and personal
resources (its rather stressful). And what happens when someone has
completed everything but internship? If this problem continues to
worsen (which is seems to be every year) the ABD degree will become the
ABI degree (all but internship). It seems like without an increase in
internships, there will be people who may eventually have to give up
graduate school because they cannot complete their program, even after
all of the invested time and energy. This is incredibly concerning to
me and I think the APA should really take greater consideration of this
issue when accrediting a program.
As a competent candidate, I was devastated that I did not match.
Expecailly frustrating is the fact that I came the professional world
where I worked as a school psychologist. I have several years of study,
training, and experience under my belt- and the idea of having to push
off my plans another year is difficult in terms of finances, confidence,
and family planning. I feel that the matching system and imbalance is
imperfect and that many qualified candidates face unjust consequences as
I would also add that I have seen the match process bring out the worst
in people. Fellow students can be very competative and unkind. Students,
faculty and supervisors often display a lot of insensitivity. I have
had several people ask me what I did wrong on my application/interviews.
The worst thing that I experienced was having the training director at
my current practicum site lie about the match. The TD made an
announcement to the psychology staff at the practicum site that all
current practicum students had matched in phase 1. Of course, I did not
match. I had also told the TD that I had not matched. This was a very
humiliating experience for me. I had not given this person false
information or misled them in any way. I don't really understand their
decision to announce false information. It just made the reality of the
situation that much harder and has made my remaining time at my
practicum site uncomfortable.
I believe the current imbalance between the APA approved
internship sites and the number of doctoral students is an injustice to
all of us who have sacrificed so much to complete our doctoral degree in
psychology. I believe that programs across the country should not be
allowed to admit more students than there are internship sites. Many of
us who are not matched sit in limbo with our educational and
professional careers on hold until we are matched. It is unfortunate
that you may have completed all requirements of your program only to be
denied your doctorate pending an APA internship that may take years to
obtain. Additionally, I would like to see the programs that do deny an
interview provide feedback so that we may improve our applications in
order to have a better chance to match the next time around. I
understand that training directors are very busy but so are the students
and when our careers hinge on obtaining an internship then there should
be some type of feedback on why an applicant was denied.
Please see response above regarding family concerns.
I don't know if it's possible, but I wish the whole process could be
shorter. This is such a taxing, grueling process. For several months, I
felt like I put my life on hold to achieve this final milestone in my
doctoral career. I felt at the whim of training sites. Another major
issue in the process is that the sites I applied to varied widely in
terms of interviews: from a 45-minute telephone interview to a day-long
open house. How are you supposed to compare these two? I think it is
time for APPIC to declare telephone interviews only. I was lucky, I know
people whose sites had in-person interviews only and they spent
thousands of dollars. I am fortunate that I got matched to my first
choice, and glad to be done with this process. I enjoyed the process
overall. I liked looking inside myself to write the essays. I enjoyed
interacting with different types of people.
The fact that we, as committed graduate students, are not
guaranteed enough internship positions is absolutely unacceptable. The
time and money we invest is great. There are too many students an not
enough positions. This is primarily due to the rise of the PsyD
programs and professional schools that pump out students. The study of
psychology, in my opinion, should be conducted with smaller classes.
Having programs sending out classes close to 100 people in size not only
tampers with the match program, but chips away at what educated
psychologists should have experienced in graduate school: a close knit
intimate experience where professors develop strong mentoring
relationships with their students, and students do not feel like a
number. PhD Psychology students should be guaranteed an internship spot
if they meet the criteria for one. Something needs to be done to
create enough room for more students, or to lessen the amount of
students flooding our profession.
It hasn't necessarily affected my life per se, other than it
created more stress and an increased feeling of desperation during the
application and interview stage. In general, I think this issue has
broader implications for the field of psychology as a whole. For
example, APA's accrediting of free-standing programs contributes to this
inbalance and this represents a larger and more problematic issue. In
other words the imbalance of applicants and positions is a deeper issue
that temporally and systemically precedes the circumstances of the
internship application process.
Obviously since I was not matched, my career has been affected.
Further, I was not able to make a physical move to become a part of a
community I would like to serve (in other words, I do not intend to stay
in the area I am attending graduate school in). This will affect my
career even more greatly than the fact that my internship will not be
APA accredited. This is because of the well known fact that finding a
job often has little to do with achievement and much to do with who one
knows or is known by. Another point I’d like to make is CAPIC
internships here in San Diego where I attend school are (in my opinion)
equal to, and in some cases superior to, an APA internship experience.
As I applied to CAPIC internships, it made me wonder why I spent all
that money and time on APA in the first place when these CAPIC
internships are a better match for me. The application process,
interview notification process, and the interviews themselves were a
much better experience than the APA processes. To be brutally honest
with the APA, it wouldn't kill them to accredit more institutions such
as these in order to fill the need of more slots for the increasing
number of students. APA accreditation means standards for experience
for each student. These students are likely already APA members and are
going to be psychologists whether or not they get an APA internship…
they will take whatever experience they’ve had and use it in with their
clients in their practice as a psychologist. Isn’t it in the APA’s best
interest to ensure psychologists had an internship of a particular
quality and specific set of guidelines for experience, not only for the
student, but for future clients?
I would not encourage others to apply to graduate school in psychology because of the current issues with internship.
We need more internships. This imbalance is crazy. What are ya'll
doing about this? The APPIC is not ready to meet the demand of qualified
candidates. Psychology is in demand. APPIC needs to make the apa
accrediation process for internship sites easier.
Due to the limited number of positions available it has been very
difficult to land an internship. I have also had other students inform
me that they have had difficulties in landing an internship position
through the APPIC process. The inability land an internship position can
be costly because it will result in having to wait an additional year
to graduate from my program. This is both a financial and mental strain
on myself and other students.
Not matching last year was a huge blow to me not just
professionally, but especially personally. As doctoral students most of
us are used to succeeding in most areas, particularly academically. I
felt like I did all that I was supposed to do, and yet, it wasn't
enough. It was the first time that I truly felt like a failure, and I
didn't know what this failure meant about me as a human being, as a
psychologist. However, I also believe that not matching is a high class
problem. Yes, it is an awful situation, but there are far worst things
that people are dealing with it. I chose to use my year off to better
myself as a person. I am blessed to say that I think I grew more from
not matching that I would have from going on to internship. I know how
to handle disappointment. I focused on other areas of my life that I
neglected. I understand perseverance, disappointment, shame, confusion,
faith, hope, determination. I CONQUERED these things. In the grand
scheme of things, not matching won't matter much over the course of a
lifetime. But, tell that to someone who just didn't match. To that
person, not matching is the worst thing in their world, and it is the
worst thing in their world at that moment. We work hard and expect to
be rewarded for that work, and in most instances, we are. This is one
time where how hard you work is not necessarily correlated with
matching. So much can and should be done to remedy this situation, and I
pray that it is. Weeding out processes shouldn't happen at the end of a
long, arduous journey when you're emotional, financial, physical, and
mental resources are depleted. Weed people out in the beginning, before
they are admitted into these programs lest you pull out the flowers
close to full bloom along side the weeds.
I feel that the imbalance between applicants and positions has
affected me tremendously. The application process caused so much
anxiety and stress solely because of this issue. Knowing that hundreds
of students (and in this case almost a thousand) would be displaced was
absolutely terrifying. The medical school match process is nothing like
this. Medical students do not have to be concerned with not matching to a
non-accredited site, and the implications that such an outcome may have
on their future endeavors. Ofcourse this issue is beyond APPIC's
control, as the total number of students applying for internship
reflects the disproportionate rate at which schools are admitting
students, particularly in Psy.D. programs that have classes ranging from
30-50 students each year.
Fortunately for me I ranked to one of my top sites. Unfortunately, for
some of my peers, they were forced to select nonaccredited sites to
avoid the financial and personal burden of delaying their internship
year an additional year. This issue greatly causes undue stress and
burden to us. Something has to be done about it.
It is extremely anxiety provoking to have to think about not
matching/reapplying due to the imbalance given it is a requirement for
students to graduate and it is an expensive process.
I experienced very high levels of anxiety due to the imbalance.
The imbalance affected my choice to apply nationally for fears of
not matching in my local and very competitive area (NYC) - this resulted
positively in my matching, but stressfully, in that I am now moving my
family across the country! Of course, we were willing to do so, or I
wouldnt've ranked that site. Though it was ranked low on my list, so it
was a bit of a surprise. Still, I'm very glad I matched.
The imbalance has also affected how I describe this process to friends
and family, possibly in part to justify why I put us in the position to
be moving across the country (and likely back again) in the first place.
It made me apply to 27 programs. Very anxiety-provoking and
upsetting considering the time and financial commitment to obtaining a
doctorate degree but internship is a required component for graduation
and there are not enough internship sites that are APA approved.
The current imbalance between qualified applicants and available
internship sites causes incredible stress for graduate students. Though
I was matched, several of my classmates who are highly qualified were
not matched despite strong applications and impressive clinical
experience. Not being matched after spending countless hours preparing
application materials and spending hundreds of dollars on applications
and interview expenses caused my classmates significant distress.
Funding is clearly needed to support the addition of more accredited
internship sites. However, APA and APPIC should also support, rather
than diminish, the value of state or regional internship member
programs, such as CAPIC. Such programs provide students with multiple
options for quality internship training and serve to reduce the
imbalance. Neither APPIC-member internships nor CAPIC-member
internships are accredited, so APPIC internships should not be given
specialized preference or support over CAPIC internships (or other
regional internship systems).
I did not match through APPIC and was lucky to have found a
non-accredited but strong training program close to my home. I have 2
young children and my husband's job does not permit him to move, so I
was very limited in where I could apply. I was extremely disappointed
to find how few accredited training programs there are in my city (of
over 2 million people). In such a large city, it is completely
unacceptable to me that there are not more opportunities. I was also
very discouraged because despite so many years of training, education
and dedication to the profession, so many people remained unmatched.
There are a lot of really talented and qualified students out there who
are greatly suffering because of this imbalance. If such a balance
continues to exist, then I believe that more programs should consider
allowing their students to completed non-accredited internships,
particularly if they can be demonstrated to provide training
opportunities that meet APPIC's standards.
Do something about diploma mills.
Despite completing a doctoral program that is APA accredited in
clinical psychology, I am unsure about my ability to obtain an
equivalent internship in order to complete my Ph.D. because of the huge
imbalance of internship sites and applicants. Professional schools
should not be allowed to participate in this internship match process.
There is a need for mental health services in the community and
many people who want to help meet those needs but it is discouraging
that many of those people must wait a year or two to complete their
education because of insufficient sites for internship. Also it creates a
good deal of stress knowing the imbalance and having one's life up in
the air during the process. Furthermore, the shortage of sites makes it
more likely that compromises in terms of placements considered need to
be made. This is concerning because internship is an important step in
one's career and sets a tone for future jobs that may be more limited if
internships in the desired area are few or lacking.
I do believe the imbalance caused additional stress as well as
undermined my sense of self-confidence as well others others in my
cohort. If I had the ear of the education community (including my
program) reduce the number of students accepted into the program and
require students to undergo their own psychotherapy. To APPIC - I would
like to see a requirement to begin internship is the completion of the
requirement; Internship should be the last step in the process and not
wasted on those who don't complete the projects...IMO:-)
This was a really stressful aspect of the process for me and my
colleagues. Though I am enrolled in an accredited program with a good
reputation in the internship community, it was extremely stressful to
think that I might not match. As a result, I went on all 12 interviews
that I was offered. I do recognize that I was fortunate to get all of
those interviews. However, attending all of the on-site interviews ended
up being an extremely costly venture, which created financial stress
during the school year.
To me, the problem seems to lie with admissions to graduate
programs. Universities and professional schools stand to lose little in
terms of unmatched applicants, and stand to gain a great deal in terms
of tuition and fees for ever-increasing numbers of students. This is
especially true in light of the imbalance in the match; students have to
remain in grad programs longer in order to accumulate enough practicum
hours in order to become competitive. A boon for grad program profits.
To me, the focus of correcting the imbalance shouldn't be on increasing
the number of internships, but on tightening admission standards and
closer regulation of graduate programs.
This is the second year I had to go through the APPIC process as I
did not match last year. Other than the obvious barrier to graduating I
now have significant financial debt as I tried to do everything I could
possibly do to ensure a match this year (approximately $5,000!).
Thankfully, I matched this year but now have this debt on top of the
costs of moving for internship and cost of living since the stipend will
not cover all expenses. It is extremely stressful and draining on my
emotional well being.
I feel it is unfair to not have enough positions. Every qualified
applicant should be able to match to an internship site. It may not be
their first choice but they should at least have somewhere to go. I
believe the current system is very unfair to those individuals like
myself who did not match.
Well I am specifically looking for a psychoanalytic internship
site. Because Maple Center was not taking interns for the 2011/2012
internship year, my only options were Wright Institute and Saturday
Center. I interviewed at the Saturday Center and realized that it was
not truly a psychoanalytic site at all, in fact, I dont understand what
orientation it was at all. The interviewer was abrasive, off-putting,
and downright rude...I left the interview feeling confused and
disappointed. So the Wright Institute became my only hope at a
psychoanalytic site for my final internship. You can imagine my
disappointment when I wasn't matched at Wright. I'm now hoping I will be
able to find a satisfactory site through the CAPIC matching process.
The current imbalance between applicants and applicant positions
has created an enormous amount of pressure and stress for me both
personally and professionally. It is extremely upsetting to have
dedicated so much time, effort, and money to professional training
endeavors with the hope of becoming a qualified and competent
psychologist, and to then be presented with the hard reality that
through no short coming of my own the process may be delayed or
incomplete. Thus this question must be posed: How does the education
and training community ethically continue to accept high rates of
students when they are unable to provide adequate training opportunities
in a timely manner that they have demanded? Also, are the education
and training community responsible for enlightening prospective students
to the field of this imbalance?
I was not matched to any sites in Phase I. I applied to 23 sites
and was only offered 1 interview. I know this is because of the
imbalance between the number of applicants and positions. However, this
does not make me feel any better. It is a flawed system. How is a
student realistically able to secure an internship?
Devastated that I did not match. I worked VERY hard throughout
graduate school, attaining 5 publications (and 1 in the works),
presentations, completed 4 practicum, and also participated in numerous
types of service. To not match was devastating to me. I do think that I
have had some personal growth as a result of this experience, but I
still view this as disheartening. Why, I increasingly ask myself,
didn't I just do a masters degree or a MSW? Pay is almost the same, I
would have finished school 2 years ago without busting my hump on
research/clinical training/etc., and I would have a paid position.
I think the imbalance is very unfortunate. Students have worked
very hard to get to this point in the process and not matching is a
stressful situation. That being said, it appears that many students who
do not match are not totally prepared to enter the match. I think
training directors should be realistic with who is allowed to enter the
match. Flooding the process with unqualified applicants helps no one.
There are however, many qualified applicants who do not match each year.
As the need for psychologists grows, it is only fitting that more
positions should be available for internship. APA needs to investigate
additional sources of funding so that more positions can be available in
I started graduate school with a specific goal of going into
pediatric psychology. I started advocating for myself from day one to
get experiences beyond what was available from my program. I spent years
working more hours than most of my peers because I needed to fulfill
program requirements, but also wanted to get my own specific
experiences. None of that mattered to me because I felt I was working
towards a goal. I then went through this extremely stressful experience
and it ended without me getting an internship. I felt that I did
everything I could do and to no avail. It is a very helpless feeling to
work hard and do everything I knew to do and then not be successful.
With the imbalance between positions and applicants, it puts all of the
power into the hands of the sites. We talk about "fit" but they are the
ones with the true luxury of looking for the best possible "fit." I
appreciate being able to rank and I do feel my rank is considered
equally but I had 6 options, they had 200. Personally, I am in a place
in my life that it is okay for me to take an extra year, but I have
friends who are not. The results of the match have impacted their life
plans, in terms of children, moves, being with significant others, etc.
Graduate school is a major commitment and taking an unplanned year is
not always an option for people. The change of the match rate at my
program from the year I applied (and, ultimately, made my decision to go
there) and this year is drastically different despite the fact that my
program continues to get more and more recognition as a top program.
Additionally, I spent thousands of dollars to apply and interview this
year and I will now to have to spend that again next year, which is
unbelievable. I feel it is not me that is the weakness, I have worked
hard and am a good candidate, it is the system and the imbalance that is
the weakness. Which, more than anything else, just sucks.
The match imbalance is honestly the most worrisome and anxiety
provoking process of my entire graduate experience. I have been
terrified about not being matched, and this has led me to pursue
training experiences I thought might make me "competitive" instead of
what might be most in line with providing the best education for me.
Additionally, the fear of not matching at all led me to apply extremely
widely, and travel to every single interview I was offered. This led me
to spend over $4700 on the internship process. Given that I am a student
with a very limited income, I had to save money for 2 years to pay for
this, and I still went over my budget. Now I somehow have to pay for a
move this summer as well. This has created a tremendous financial burden
for me, and one that would be pretty much unnecessary if the imbalance
did not leave 25% of canadian applicants without an internship each
year. Getting into graduate school is hard enough. Getting through
graduate school is hard enough. It should not have to be this hard to
get OUT of graduate school and move onto a REQUIRED, yet not GUARANTEED
portion of our training.
It was very difficult as a student who is top of her class, nearly
done with classes, and completed her dissertation to not match due to
limitations with practicum. Students do not always have control over
which practicum accepts them and internship sites may "know" that but
will favor applicants (or cull applicants) based on their sites. I
understand that there are way too many students compared to sites, but
it was frustrating to have sites judge me by my practicum experience
only. Also, coming from a clinical PsyD program, I felt that it worked
against me that I did not have any publications and additional research,
even if that is not the focus of a PsyD program. I had moved to another
state to work on this degree and four years later, I am done with
everything but my internship and that is the one thing keeping me from
graduating and starting to repay a debt of more than $130, 000. There is
no federal funding for PsyDs and our program only offers two
scholarships which are given to students who do not plan on going into a
field where they won't make enough to repay their loans. It leaves the
other 23 students in a big debt. This whole experience has left me jaded
and helpless at my situation. Again, I am left at the mercy of the
practicum placements in my area-- who favor applicants who speak speak
Spanish or are of Hispanic descent and another year of debt and trying
to boost my CV by Nov 1 again. It has been a heartwrenching process and
DCTs need to be honest and upfront with students when telling them the
reality of the internship match, rather than be endlessly optimistic
without a backup plan. They need to be more involved with their students
and encourage them to work together rather than work against each
This imbalance made the internship process and life in general extremely stressful both personally and professionally.
I think too often Clinical sites only take clinical students and
don't open up their pool to School Psych or even Counseling psych
students and they are missing out on the value that they could gain from
crossing over and taking on School and Counseling students. This is
much bigger though than just APPIC and really talks more to the elitism
in the field of Psychology. As I looked for internships as a School
Psych student with years of working as a School Psychologist I was
looking for a site to provide me with more clinical type experiences.
The sites I applied to were much more clinical based where I could have
gained much knowledge and experience but also had aspects of the
programs where I could have used my experience as a School Psychologist
to benefit the site. Unfortunately those sites overlooked me and I
received numerous rejection e-mails. I understand that many of the
sites received hundreds of applications and they need to quickly reduce
the numbers to a workable number of applications for interviews so they
have specific information they are looking for to make the process
better for them. I just truly feel that there should be more cross over
among the specialties within Psychology.
The process was grueling but well worth it. Even though I did not match
in Phase I and I ended up withdrawing in Phase II I am still glad I
went through the process. I do plan on using the Post-Match vacancy
service in an attempt to find an internship.
The imbalance in applicants to sites is horrendous. I'm not sure what
can be done about it however it definitely stinks. I went into this
with a back-up plan just in case and I'm glad I did.
very stressful. I felt like I had worked so hard and then was told
I couldn't continue when I didn't match the first year. I was fearful
and a bit depressed about it. If I had it to do again I would have gone
to med school instead. It also caused a financial strain as I had
planned to be finished by the time child support had run out. Now I will
be helping my daughter through college on an internship salary.
When beginning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology we have the
understanding that when we achieve the requirements for internship, one
will be available to us. Having 25% of qualified applicants unmatched is
awful and unfair to students for toil for, in many cases, 7 years
trying to achieve their goal. I and my colleagues were very stressed and
fearful of not matching. This should be addressed for future years.
I was not personally affected by this but know students who were.
It almost seems unacceptable that such a shortage exists for an activity
that is a degree requirement. Universities should make provisions for
students that are not matched. From my understanding, funding is the
core issue in terms of lack of positions. Thus, universities should
provide funding for unmatched students and contribite to the dearth in
positions that way. In this way, unmatched students could come with
their own funding (i.e. something like the minimum guarantee offered for
TA positions). I don't know if this solution makes sense economically,
but I feel that the university must play a role in finding positions for
their students when no position can be found. I know of one student who
was not matched 2 years in a row. That student can't move forward and
can't graduate. This is ridiculous when considering that all other
program requirements have been met.
I believe that one of the central problems with this imbalance in
applicants vs. positions is the increasing enrollment in professional
schools. I appreciate that these schools operate to grow or even profit.
However, this growth is having a negative impact at both the classroom
level (our class sizes have increased since my first or smaller classes
are taught by adjunct professors because the school does not have enough
faculty to teach the growing number of classes) and the internship
application level. It is unfair to request internship sites to offer
more positions simply because there are more applicants. These sites
should be funded by the APA for more positions or the APA should put a
cap on how many students can be admitted to a school each year.
I did not match to a pre-doctoral internship last year and believe
that it is was partly due to the imbalance between applicants and
positions. Like most students who do not match, I was extremely
disappointed because I felt (as well as my DCT and supervisor) that I
met the qualifications required for pre-doctoral internship. On a
personal level, not matching negatively affected my self-esteem. On a
practical level, it resulted in my losing a year before graduating from
my clinical program. Losing the year was financially difficult because I
no longer was eligible for research bursaries. I believe that the
imbalance problem is an important one that needs to be addressed. The
graduate program is already a challenging and laborious process that
requires significant dedication on the part of students. It is extremely
unjust that so many students are denied the training they deserve to
complete their degrees and enter the job market. I strongly believe
that more positions would need to be created to rectify the problem. If
not possible, pre-doctoral internships should perhaps be be
conceptualized differently and integrated within the doctoral program.
Universities need to ascertain that students are able to obtain this
type of training and to provide alternatives when students do not match.
I have extended my program by one year, so far, in my search for
an acceptable internship site in order to complete my program. I have
completed all possible components of my program and have invested a
great deal of money into my education. I feel this imbalance is unfair
and unnecessarily biased against professional psychology students.
This is my second time participating in the application process. I
am at the top of my class, do significant research, and have a job at
the masters level earning my LPC. I received assistance from a variety
of sources in reviewing and editing my materials. I only received 2
interviews and did not match with either site. In Match 2 I only
received one interview. I have talked with students who are of a similar
caliber and had the same experience. And yet we watch studnets whom we
helped through school, tutored them for finals and coached through
comprehensive exams - they have matched and are successful. Clearly
there is something wrong with the system that people in our situation
are slipping through the cracks.
The process is incredibly stressful. It is no surprise that people
will go unmatched and that creates a sense unease throughout the entire
I don't think there are too few internships; I think there are too
many professional schools popping up that have to enroll at least 50
students per class to meet expenses, regardless of applicant quality.
There are clear indications that the psychology job market is saturated.
I do not support expanding the number of internships, but rather hope
that state licensing boards will move toward accepting only applicants
with APPIC-member or accredited internships so that eventually there
will be a necessary closure of sub-par schools whose students don't
successfully compete in the match process.
The imbalance is a way of maintaining some standard of quality in the
profession of psychology. Unfortunately, APA accreditation of a school
no longer seems to serve this purpose as several new schools get
accredited on a yearly basis.
After years of high costs and countless hours working for no pay I
find it very upsetting that a significant number of highly qualified
applicants remain unmatched and are forced to take an additional year.
Spending 4-5 years in graduate school is a huge burden on one's
finances. I find it unfair that everyone puts in a significant amount
of time and energy and there are 1,000 individuals who are left
unmatched. There should be more positions available and it is sad to
see how populations are under-served in regards to mental health
services, yet psych graduates students who are qualified and willing to
contribute for as low as 20,000 per year are prevented from moving
forward in the field. Moreover, there is a lack of neuropsych
positions, despite increasing interest among graduate students and
increased need for these services across a number of settings. Overall,
while I am fortunate to have matched I am disappointed in our current
imbalance between applicants and positions. I also believe the prospect
of not matching is highly anxiety provoking and creates a significant
level of stress amongst students that negatively impacts their well
being as well as their work with clients.
This shortage of positions, especially in the area of school
psychology, makes it a very nerve-wracking process to finish training. I
spent A LOT of time and money and experienced much stress over trying
to secure an internship position. This time and stress has been
prolonged over the four years of my graduate training in trying to gain
all of the appropriate experiences necessary to secure a position. The
shortage also meant that it was almost certain I would not be able to do
my internship close to family (in the Midwest) since there are VERY few
school psychology internship sites in the Midwest, and few that closely
matched my training interests. I am happy I matched and there is a
light at the end of the tunnel!
It is very difficult to work so hard and then to feel so unsure
and discouraged when there is a good chance you will not receive an
internship because of this imbalance.
This year was my second time going through the match process and I
still didn't match. It has been very frustrating. I feel that the
imbalance in numbers leads sites to be extremely picky, so it's
incredibly frustrating to know that although I am qualified I still
won't be finishing school. Due to this problem I am wasting time and
continuing to accumulate scary amounts of financial aid. My life has
been on hold for two years now with no end in sight. This experience has
taken all the excitement out of the internship. I just need to finish
school so I can pay my bills.
I believe in order to solve this problem there needs to be a serious
push for programs to limit the number of students in their programs.
Spending an extra year of tuition, the loss of morale, this
experience made me question and doubt if I really wanted to be a part of
a field that I have such a passion for. How can a field of psychology,
a human helping field, have such a huge gap in providing for our own?
How is there not even the start of a solution for this problem?
I did not match and was very disappointed. I had 9 interviews and
have been told by 4 training directors that they were shocked that I
did not match as they told me that I had a strong application and
interviewed well. I have never had a problem getting externships. This
system did not work for me. It is ridiculous that Ph.D. students are
required to complete an internship, but then are blocked from doing so
because there aren't enough spots. All students who have strong
applications should be able to have an internship spot. Something must
change in this system--more spots need to be created.
I didn't match in the first Phase. If I don't match in the second
Phase then my life plans will be prolonged by a year. Given the
imbalance between applicants and positions, I think that the
consequences for completing a non-accredited site should be reduced or
eliminated (e.g., not being able to work at a VA/problems with
The imbalance has affected me both personally and professionally. I
think that this process is not fair to so many qualified applicants and
should be changed by creating more spots.
The match imbalance must be addressed by APA, APPIC and doctoral
programs in a concerted, convincing and intensive manner. No profession
is so hamstrung by such an unfair and difficult stumbling block to
graduation. APA and APPIC should publish the APA internship match rates
by program in the APPIC directory, as well as in other publications,
such as graduate school admission guides, so that students can avoid
entering a graduate program without this essential information. Graduate
programs with poor (less than 75%) match rates MUST have
APA-accreditation rescinded permanently. The current situation is an
embarrassment to APA, APPIC, students and the profession.
I personally was not aware of the match imbalanace upon entering my
program. Given the lack of internship support and the overabundance of
students in professional schools like mine, and their deserved poorer
reputations, I did not match the first time around. The most competitive
sites will not even consider students from such programs. Therefore, it
would logically follow that such programs should have APA-accreditation
rescinded. There is no reason to maintain such programs (except for
profit, which does not serve students and certainly harms the
profession). Had I been fully apprised of the match imbalance, and the
match rates of my program, I never would have enrolled. As a student
without a BA in psychology, I would have simply taken a year as an RA or
completed a master's in psych, and elected to attend a fully funded
Ph.D. program. That said, I secured a fantastic internship program this
year, only by virtue of huge amounts of outside work, research and
networking unrelated to my graduate program.
APA and APPIC should fully shoulder their responsibility to inform all
students who may not be aware of the imbalance, otherwise the current
situation will persist: one in which students are preyed upon by
profit-seeking "educational" institutions and lenders, their lives
determined by debt and poor professional prospects *if* they do not seek
significant outside enrichment at cost to them.
Because I felt the ultimate match was iffy, I decided to choose a
non-APA/APPIC site. That is, I decided that rather than have to go with
a site that I might not have been happy with, and might have to move
for, I chose a site that offered me a position in my home state- a bird
in the hand . . . That siad, I was ws happy with the choice. On the
other hand, three of my classmates did not match - wonderful students -
one took a non-APA/APPIC site; the other two still have not heard, but
only applied to Match sites
The internship crisis has shaped my training in that since the
beginning of my training, we have talked about internship consistently.
Taking on additional departmental and professional roles and
responsibilities has been encouraged in part so that people will add to
CVs and become better candidates. The internship crisis has also led to
increased anxiety within my department that individuals have managed to
varying degrees of success.
It appears that this issue has been an increasing problem and
concern. I would have chosen a doctoral program with a greater match
rate if I had known this information when I applied to my program.
I think that until there are more internships available for
doctoral students that schools should limit the number of students that
they accept. In my program, fortunately, only one person out of fifteen
does not match each year (on average) but on externships, I have known
many students from other programs who do not match who are highly
qualified candidates and have to apply more than once and typically wind
up with non-APA approved internships that are unpaid. Considering the
significant time, effort, and financial sacrifice that people spend to
receive their degrees, the imbalance is unfair. On another topic --
although I matched, I felt that my status as a mother of two young
children made me a less attractive candidate to sites and I was
frequently asked on interviews how I would handle internship year with
my family obligations. Though I only applied to internships with
reasonable hours that I knew I could readily manage and within the city
where I reside, I still believe that I was at a disadvantage. Although I
matched at a place where I think that I will receive solid training, it
is a site that was towards the bottom of my list which based on
previous AAPIC statistics is not common.
The imbalance certainly affected me in terms of the sense of
pressure given the lack of an adequate number of sites thereby
significantly increasing the competitive aspects of this process. This
difference strongly influenced my decision to obtain an additional year
of training prior to application for internship. The extra year, while
professionally beneficial, also involved additional financial burden and
some emotional distress related to family issues. Anything that can be
done to narrow this gap would be greatly appreciated by me and my
current and future colleagues.
This is my second time in the APPIC Match process. Last year, I
completed the Match process, participated in clearinghouse, and
continued applying as new positions came available; however, I still
remained unmatched. Faculty and other professional (e.g., past
supervisor) mentors assured me that my remaining unmatched was a result
of the imbalance and not of any failure on my part. Indeed, I had worked
hard in my program and received positive evaluations along the way. Of
course, despite these encouragements, it was still extremely
discouraging and disheartening not to match. In addition, it meant
another year without a full-time salary, as well an additional year of
delaying my husband's graduate education, as we cannot afford for us to
both be in school at the same time. On the other hand, during this year,
I was able to train in an excellent facility in neuropsychology, a new
area for me, as well as to work part-time in an emergency room setting
as a psychiatric crisis consultant, also a new area for me. In addition,
I took some time to consider what I might I have done wrong in putting
together my application last year (e.g., not getting faculty feedback
about my cover letters and CV, applying to too many very competitive
sites and not enough less competitive sites, not spending enough time on
my essays); although I know that some applicants still made similar
mistakes and matched, I wanted to make my next application as strong as
possible. My program provided additional training in some areas (e.g.,
mock interviews, choosing sites to apply to, etc.). Thus, I was able to
gain invaluable additional clinical training and professional
experience, and also strengthen my application preparation and interview
skills this year. Not matching, at least in part due to the match
imbalance, was a very difficult experience, but also one that has
allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.
If I had not matched this year I would have been devastated. This
was my third year. The first year I was restricted in geographical range
and only interviewed at one place locally so that was not a big deal.
The second year was devastating. I had 4 interviews, and two open houses
and I still did not match. I was devastated and could not figure it
out. I am a good candidate and so I asked for feedback. I only received
one reply and they told me that I just needed more training. I did that
and this year I got my first choice. I was elated. However, out of 17
application submissions, I only got 4 interviews. I felt that the VAs
that rejected me before the interview did not even look at my
application but saw that my dissertation proposal was not checked and
did not bother. It seems so arbitrary. I don't know the solution but the
VAs need to specify in their descriptions that students will not be
considered if they do not have that proposal box checked so that
students can avoid spending time and money applying to them. I could
have saved alot of time, effort and money. As the rejects came in I was
humiliated. It was awful. thankfully for me, it worked out this year but
I know there are those out there that probably did not match and are
scratching their heads.
I think that the imbalance has affected me and others in the
program. I feel that it is rather unethical for large professional
schools to admit so many people that they do not have a chance of
matching. I feel that myself, as well as other students, have gone into a
great deal of debt in order to pursue our education only to find that
we may not be able to complete the final requirement for the degree. It
is especially difficult when one has received positive grades and
feedback throughout graduate training. It seems that many schools are
thinking simply of how they can use tuition money rather than the impact
it has on the individual student. I think that personally it affects my
life in that I feel stuck and cannot make concrete plans with my
partner for the future. It seems that we have encountered a great deal
more stress and have put off major life decisions because of match, only
to find that it was not resolved the initial match day and may not be
resolved in Phase II. As for improvement, professional schools should
not be admitting more students than the field can support and it may be
helpful to have the accreditation process less expense so that
internship sites can afford to have interns and maintain their APPIC
membership. Alternatively, revising the requirements for membership may
help as it seems that some sites want to have interns, but cannot
because of a more superficial requirement that they cannot meet at the
time. For example, each intern with their own office or having at least
two interns on site.
I have been very lucky to match on my first try. However, a close
friend of mine has not been as lucky. And I am using the term "lucky"
because that's what the internship process seems to amount to in a way.
Sure qualifications matter, but a sizable portion could be attributed to
a simple luck of a draw. My friend has done everything right from the
get go. She made sure that she passed and excelled at every grad school
milestone, by preparing ahead of time and preparing well. Internship
application process was no exception. She is a great applicant, and she
got several outstanding interviews, yet she did not match, alongside 25%
of other, seemingly decent and well qualified applicants. When we got
accepted into our grad program, our expectations were that if we work
hard and do our very best, it would be up to us when we finish our
degree and begin our professional lives. However, this imbalance takes a
large chunk of control out of applicants hands. An applicant can do
absolutely everything right, and still be delayed in obtaining a degree
by a year, two years, and I've heard in some cases, even three years. I
have heard of individuals completing every step of grad school process,
and then dropping out because they were simply unwilling to wait another
year to go through the application process, with what continues to be a
sizable chance of not matching again. I think it's wonderful and
necessary that internships be regulated by an accreditation program,
however, if that is a requirement for a completion of a degree, then
supply should match demand. In addition, I believe that the entrance
criteria to any psychology doctoral program should be made more
stringent, so that there is a higher quality rather than quantity of
psychologist entering the field.
The extreme imbalance between sites and number of applicants seems
ridiculous at best. The additional pressure and stress from this
imbalance caused a supportive academic community to withdraw and in some
cases turn against each other. I am a strong advocate for healthy
competition, but this felt very unhealthy.
This process was made extremely stressful by the inbalance of
sites. I felt I was forced to apply to more sites increasing my cost. I
lost sleep. I felt my stress levels increase. I got sick on several
occasions during the process and felt internship stress was a factor.
This process does not match really any other process in other graduate
programs due to the imbalance of internship sites and needs to be fixed.
If one does not match at a site in our program in means an additional
$40,000+ will be added onto your student loans and thus the financial
burden is extreme.
It puts a tremendous amount of stress on all the applicants, and contributes to a feeling of learned helplessness.
The imbalance makes this process quite stressful. It is uneasy to
know that you can invest multiple thousands of dollars in tuition,
hours in free work obtaining practicum hours, and hundreds of hours in
class and studying, to end up not matching to an internship and having a
lot of education that is useless. This makes the internship process
I believe the imbalance of the number of students to the number of
APA accredited programs is potentially problematic for many. Being at a
non-APA site may limit future employment opportunities for many. I do
not believe the quality of the training is lessened being at a non-APA
site. Many sites simply do not have the funding to become APA accredited
and choose to use their resources for their agency and the communities
they serve. However, knowing there is a possibility my employment
opportunities may be limited because I am not at an APA accredited is
something I have pondered. I believe the bigger concern, then, is the
number of students in any given program which impacts the number of
applicants any one training program is sending out...10 applicants or
45. If more training programs than not have larger numbers, it is quite
natural there will be significantly more students than there are
available positions…which means the higher the probability a greater
number of students will have limited employment opportunities.
I have gone through the match process twice and have so far come
up empty handed. I am hopeful that I will receive notification of a
placement through Phase II tomorrow morning.
Not matching has caused tremendous stress, both emotional and financial,
to myself and my family. I went through an APA accredited, university
based, Psy.D. program and am considered among the top students in the
program by nearly every measure. There is no reason that someone like
myself (and 936 others!!!) should have to suffer this fate.
The profession has an obligation to its future. It must either figure
out how to create more internship positions, or demand that schools stop
accepting students who will never be placed. Every time I read about
committees and task forces that are "working" on solving this problem I
shake my head in disgust. Every time I hear about how wonderful it is
that a negligible number of new internship slots were created, I realize
how out of touch the committee and task force members are. I think you
have the process backwards. First, I believe you need to take immediate,
drastic action to get a substantive handle on the problem of the
imbalance. Politically correct, "sensitive" steps are not working. Each
year, hundreds of students are going into debt to the tune of millions
of dollars only to find that after 3, 4, 5 or more years they must
decide whether they can endure another year. The manner in which this
problem is supposedly being addressed is, in my opinion, unethical.
There isn't an IRB in the country that would allow this "experiment" to
continue, given the costs to the participants. Only after such steps are
taken would it be appropriate for committees and task forces to begin a
slow, painstaking process of developing guidelines for whatever
solution or solutions are deemed viable.
I could go on, but I have to be up early tomorrow to go to work so I can
support my family while I wait for an algorithm to decide my fate.
The imbalance is very unfair and unjust. Hundreds of qualified
applicants remain unmatched every year and it only gets worse. Schools
need to stop accepting so many students when they see there is such a
shortage of internships for us. I believe they take so many students for
their own profit and gain, leaving the students at a disadvantage come
Although the current imbalance made the internship search
extremely anxiety-provoking for me and the process incredibly
competitive, simply adding more positions will not even place a bandaid
on the imbalance. There are too many people being admitted to graduate
school as there are too many people being admitted to college as there
are too many high school students that are being told they are entitled
to higher education. Our American educational system has been so
denigrated and demoralized and so many have sought to profit from the
low standards and esteem that has been set. Until that problem is
fixed, addressing the imbalance will be largey ineffective.
It sucks that there's soooo much competition for sites. Made my last months hellish b/c I have to pursue round II.
it is making the internship experience extremely stressful.
My perception is that the imbalance may make it more difficult for
applicants to pursue international experiences. If this is the case, it
is unfortunate, because international knowledge exchange is incredibly
I guess the question is whether the current rate of matched
psychology interns is a match with the number of new psychologists
needed each year in the profession. Simply put, do we need more intern
positions to meet the need for new psychologists, or do we need less
students so that there is balance between the number of applicants and
positions. The answer to that question guides the solution: either make
it easier to become an internship site, or harder to become an
The current imbalance has greatly affected me. I did not match in
Phase I and subsequently did not obtain interviews in Phase II.
Thankfully, I have previous practica sites that are willing to accomdate
me to ensure that I obtain an intership, otherwise, I would be one of
the 700 who did not place. I believe it would be helpful for the APPI to
include a question on whether previous practicum placements were
obtained by the student or if they were place through their school. This
may have been helpful in my obtaining a placement, as I was not allowed
to choose my placements, thus I did not have the experience in my
desired area of psychology that was needed but was not by my own doing.
This has been a nightmare. Our cohort has really banded together
to support each other during this time, but the match imbalance has
created huge amounts of stress, depression, anxiety, distraction from
academic tasks such as finishing dissertations, and a lack of faith in
the leadership of APA. For an organization which puportedly adheres to
the principle of nonmaleficence, how can the damage being done to those
who are almost ready to enter the field as practicing psychologists be
ignored? Having to wait an additional year (or two or three) will
inevitably cause those student loans to go into repayment before
students have been given an opportunity to gain employment with income
sufficient for repaying them. Also, the time and money invested in
creating the appi, writing essays, updating vitas, obtaining work
samples, individualizing cover letters, applying, waiting, mourning,
then doing it all over again while trying to go to class, conduct
research, present at conferences, teach courses, write papers, take
exams, and finish dissertations is physically, emotionally, and
financially exhausting. APA should be ashamed.
I think professional organizations need to act strongly and
quickly to address this crisis before it snowballs into something
unmanageable. It is indeed sad to see well qualified applicants missing
out on internship sites due to a computer matching process. Talk about
feeling helpless! There is a stigma about non-accredited sites which
needs to be addressed with applicants and potential employers.
Specialized fields like neuropsychology, child sites are very
competitive and this aspect of the crisis also needs to be addressed. I
am not sure how federal rules and regulations limit the sites that
international students can apply to; however, I am sure that it impacts
students' choice to sites to apply to. This crisis is deeply tied with
the health and well-being of psychology. How you address and shape the
future of potential professionals will leave a deep mark on the field.
Please act now!! I think professional organizations need to act strongly
and quickly to address this crisis before it snowballs into something
unmanageable. It is indeed sad to see well qualified applicants missing
out on internship sites due to a computer matching process. Talk about
feeling helpless! There is a stigma about non-accredited sites which
needs to be addressed with applicants and potential employers.
Specialized fields like neuropsychology, child sites are very
competitive and this aspect of the crisis also needs to be addressed. I
am not sure how federal rules and regulations limit the sites that
international students can apply to; however, I am sure that it impacts
students' choice to sites to apply to. This crisis is deeply tied with
the health and well-being of psychology. How you address and shape the
future of potential professionals will leave a deep mark on the field.
Please act now!!
The internship process has been grueling. I would not ever wish it
on even my worst enemy. I feel that I am very able candidate and
certainly 100% internship ready and with that said, I did not match
through Phase 2.
So I don't know what to think of it. I have proposed dissertation,
completed preliminary exams, completed coursework. I have completed 3
practica, and worked in the mental health field with a counselor
training license for 2 years prior to coming back for my doctorate. I am
31 years old and partnered. I am an excellent student, active in my
department, and do what I am instructed.
I am sad that I didn’t get matched. I feel like I’m getting old, I want
to graduate and move on with my life. I’d like to get married, have
kids, get licensed, and move out of my current state. I feel like not
matching has contributed to my sense of feeling stuck in the doctorate
program. I have been here 5 years, 7 if we are to include my Master's
degree. I feel stuck, and the most frustrating part of this all is that I
will have to re-apply next year and do it all over again. Talk about
PTSD, I am certain the second time around I will probably enter into
There is no guarantee that I will match next year, so this really is
about putting my best foot forward, with a smile, and an attempt to have
faith in the internship process. And I must be frank, I don’t have a
lot of faith in the internship process. I do not have faith that somehow
I can beat out the thousands of students and get matched. I think my
faculty would vouch for me and support this statement, that I did
everything “right” and yet I didn’t match. The pessimistic side of me
thinks: “and if I don’t match next year, well I just don’t even know
what I’d do with myself. Leave the program? I don’t know, after I’ve
invested so much time, energy, and money.”
So cumulatively speaking the doctorate program has not always been an
easy path, nor have I ever expected it to be. It is a journey of growth
and learning through education. I know in my heart I am an excellent
student. While in the doctorate program, I lost both of my parents, and
it was a struggle for me, but I always stayed the path. I cried and got
support when I needed it, but never truly lost my sense of academic
direction. And through it, I grew and learned to move forward. Not
matching, triggers this sense of loss of direction, like I am unsure of
what I am to do now (I’m sure this is not necessarily the intended
impact), this is definitely what I felt after my father died. He was my
home, my true north.
I don’t know if not getting matched is a about me, about my failure in
someway. It is so easy to internalize the rejection that is experienced.
My advisor has been extremely supportive and has told me time and
again, that sites are stupid for not selecting me and that it is their
loss. But is it really? I am the one whose future is on hold? And my not
matching, well there will always be the wonder, what am I doing wrong?
For now life is on hold. I don’t know exactly what I will do this coming
year. I will more than likely do another practica and defend my
dissertation and this will ultimately help me hopefully to be matched
It is deeply disappointing that internship is a requirement yet there is
absolutely no accountability on the sites or departments, that they
guarantee you an internship within some amount of time.
I found it particularly frustrating in my case as I am in a
Counseling Psychology program and primarily interested in working with
children and adolescents. However, most of the child sites preferred
Clinical Psychology students. I have received extensive training with
children and adolescents but received fewer interviews compared to
others in my practicum.
Students spend a long time, with many sacrifices, working toward a
doctoral degree. To go through the process of the match and not be
placed would be an extremely difficult and discouraging situation. We
already commit so much of our lives and resources to these programs that
it can be extremely difficult to overcome an obstacle like not being
I speak from the vantage point of someone who has come across a
number of doctoral psych trainees who simply don't seem ready,
emotionally or intellectually, to be entering the world of professional
psychology; it seems that there are simply too many for-profit
institutions churning out psychologists for the sake of profit, without
any consideration for those students or the many, many clients and
patients who may seek their services. Am I wrong to think that this has
added greatly to the match imbalance?
I realize that funding deletions and other factors related to the
current economic situation have made it impossible for some locations to
offer paid positions. Nevertheless, if I had been unfortunate in not
matching in either phase, I would have gladly taken a non-paid position
in order to complete the requirements for my degree. This could become
an option, especially in low funded communities that may not have
considered internship training.
It has affected me tremendously both personally and
professionally. I felt an immense amount of pressure, stress, and
anxiety about matching, much more so than if such a discrepancy between
applicants and positions didn't exist. Instead of concerning myself
just with what kind of facility I wanted to receive training, the
overwhelming issue became wanting to get training at all--not where, but
if. I had high hopes of matching at a local program, for many reasons,
including the training and wanting to stay near my university to carry
out training obligations there, and very importantly, I wanted to remain
local becuase I am married, own a home, and have a family here.
However, given the competitiveness, I knew I should not limit myself by
applying only to local programs, even though that would be best for
myself and my family. As it turns out, I matched at a site over 1000
miles away, and while I'm relieved to have been matched, the
circumstances are far less than ideal (relocating, being away from
family, the financial burden of taking on an extra place to rent, etc.)
Basically, what it comes down to is not having enough options, and
having to take what you can get.
Professionally, I am concerned about the direction in which the field of
psychology is headed. The market has become flooded, and that means
fewer career opportunities, and having to work for increasingly modest
salaries. I believe that aside from the economic recession and its
impact on funding for mental health agencies and both training and
professional positions in psychology, the main reason for the large
discrepancy has to do with doctoral programs simply accepting too many
students. My program has a class size of 8, which I believe to be
reasonable. However, with many programs (mostly Psy D programs)
accepting 30, 60, and even more students than that per class, there is
no way that our field can support such a thing. It is crucial that
doctoral programs limit the number of students per class to an amount
that can be adequately supported by the current resources--this is an
issue for practicum training sites, postdoctoral programs, and
professional opportunities as well. I have serious concerns about my
ability to secure employment somewhere that I will enjoy working and
that will pay enough for me to afford my student loan payments while
still being able to manage my other living expenses soon after the
completion of my degree.
I would like to propose the following recommendation, as I believe it
would help address the issue of imbalance (and therefore many of the
consequences) tremendously: every doctoral program should be required to
have an internship program that can support positions for at least half
of the number of individuals as are accepted into each class.
Of course, there are drawbacks to doing so--less variability in
training, more work for programs, funding, etc., However, there are ways
to address these issues. For example, to encourage diversity in
training, perhaps students may not permitted to attend their own
program's internship, but if that was the standard for everyone, then
this issue would not matter as much, as they would have the opportunity
to attend other school's internships. Many schools already have
training opportunities that are essentially the same as many internship
programs, they simply haven't been set up that way. For example, many
schools have psychology and counseling clinics offering a range of
The imbalance affected me because as a result, I had to look
outside my hometown. I would have loved to remain at home because I
intend to return; however, there was not a sufficient amount of sites
offering internship placements.