Frequently Asked Questions:
Internship Applicants - Matching Process and Results

Updated October 29, 2017


MATCHING PROCESS AND RESULTS

  1. Does the Matching Program favor applicants or programs?
  2. How do I find out the results of the Match?
  3. I heard that APPIC releases results to applicants in two steps. Has that changed?
  4. How binding are the results of the Match?
  5. What happens once I successfully match to an internship position?
  6. I didn't get matched in either Phase of the APPIC Match. What should I do now?
  7. I am surprised and disappointed that I was matched to an internship program that was much farther down on my list than I had anticipated (or I wasn't matched at all). How could this happen?

MATCHING PROCESS AND RESULTS


1. Does the Matching Program favor applicants or programs?

Neither. Both applicants' and programs' Rank Order Lists are used to provide the best match possible for each applicant and each program. Applicants' and programs' preferences are given equal weight in the process.

There does exist one fairly rare situation in which an applicant's preferences are favored. This occurs when two programs and two applicants have conflicting preferences, as in the following example:

PROGRAM A
1. Applicant Y
2. Applicant Z
PROGRAM B
1. Applicant Z
2. Applicant Y
APPLICANT Y
1. Program B
2. Program A
APPLICANT Z
1. Program A
2. Program B

Program "A" prefers applicant "Y", and program "B" prefers applicant "Z"; however, applicant "Y" prefers program "B", while applicant "Z" prefers program "A." In the matching process, this conflict (which research shows occurs for only 1 in every 1,000 applicants) is resolved by using the applicants' preferences.

2. How do I find out the results of the Match?

The results of the Match are distributed to participants on the APPIC Match Day that is associated with each Phase of the Match. Each applicant is given only the final result that the applicant obtains in the Match. Each internship program is provided with the names of the applicants that it obtains in the Match, along with a listing of sites to which the program's other ranked applicants were matched.

You will be able to access your results in a confidential manner from the National Matching Services web site. Your results will also be sent to you via e-mail.

3. I heard that APPIC releases results to applicants in two steps. Has that changed?

That two-step process (where applicants learned whether or not they were matched on a Friday, and were told the specific site to which they were matched on the following Monday) ended with the 2010 Match.

Now, applicants and programs receive their full Match results on "APPIC Match Day" for each phase of the Match, and no advance notification of "matched" or "unmatched" status will be provided. For Phase I, making this change allowed us to move APPIC Phase I Match Day three days earlier than in previous years.

4. How binding are the results of the Match?

The results of the Match are absolutely binding upon all parties.

It is important for all participants to remember that they have agreed, via the Match Agreement that they accepted at the time of registration, to abide by the results of the Match. Internship programs that submit a Rank Order List are required to accept the applicants to whom they are matched. Similarly, applicants who submit a Rank Order List are required to accept the match result and attend the internship program to which they are matched.

The APPIC Board of Directors closely monitors and enforces the policy that the Match constitutes a binding agreement. Violations of APPIC Match Policies or Match Agreements by applicants or programs may result in sanctions by APPIC (e.g., being barred from future matches) or legal action by other Match participants. In addition, violations by applicants may result in disciplinary action by the applicants' graduate and/or internship programs.

5. What happens once I successfully match to an internship position?

Congratulations! Once you have been notified that you have successfully matched, two things will happen:

  1. Most Training Directors prefer to contact the applicants to whom they have been matched in order to give the day a more personal touch. Such contacts may begin after 11:00 am Eastern Time on Match Day. You may recall that you specified, in your AAPI, a telephone number where you can be reached by Training Directors between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm Eastern Time on Match Day.

    Training Directors and applicants should NOT contact each other prior to 11:00 am Eastern Time on the Match Days for Phase I and Phase II.

  2. According to the APPIC Match Policies, Training Directors are required to send out a written appointment agreement shortly after Match Day, which must include confirmation of the conditions of the appointment, such as the stipend, fringe benefits, and the dates on which the internship begins and ends. If you don't receive this agreement within two weeks of the applicable Match Day, please contact your new internship Training Director to inquire about its status.

6. I didn't get matched in either Phase of the APPIC Match. What should I do now?

Applicants may use the APPIC Post-Match Vacancy Service (PMVS) in order to learn about available positions after Phase II of the Match is over. The PMVS begins at the conclusion of Phase II and continues operating through the end of October. While the majority of available positions are filled in Phases I and II of the Match, some unfilled positions typically remain. In addition, it is common for new positions to become available in the months following the Match (e.g., due to programs receiving additional funding).

Thus, while it can be easy to be quite discouraged if one is unsuccessful in Phase I and Phase II, most students do find internship positions after the Match is over. In fact, in 2016 and 2017, virtually all students who did not get placed in the APPIC Match were able to secure an internship position via the PMVS.

You may also wish to consider asking internship programs for feedback about your application and/or interview. While not all Training Directors are willing to provide specific feedback, many will. This information can help you to better understand the reasons why you didn't get placed.

7. I am surprised and disappointed that I was matched to an internship program that was much farther down on my list than I had anticipated (or I wasn't matched at all). How could this happen?

While many applicants and programs do very well in the Match and are pleased with their Match results, sometimes applicants are disappointed or confused by the Match result that they received.

The following is a list of Questions and Answers for applicants who did not match, or who matched to a program lower on their list than they had anticipated.

QUESTION: I had an outstanding interview with a program that I ranked, and I am very surprised that I was matched to a less-preferred program (or did not match at all). What happened?

ANSWER: Sometimes, applicants make assumptions about where they are going to match based on a positive interview experience, and are very disappointed when they aren't matched to that program. In fact, each year we also hear from some internship Training Directors who wonder why they weren't matched to applicants who expressed strong enthusiasm for their training program.

The reason that you weren't matched to a particular program is because you were not ranked as high on that program's Rank Order List as were the applicants who did get matched to that program. It is also possible that you were not ranked at all by the program.

Some things to consider: 

  1. Programs are generally enthusiastic about more applicants than for whom they have available positions. Thus, it is very possible that the program was genuinely interested in you, and that you were ranked highly, but not high enough to be matched to the program. For example, for a program with three positions, you could have been ranked fourth on its list, but the program ultimately matched to its top three applicants.

  2. Some applicants misperceive their standing with a program and/or how well they interviewed, and thus believe that they were going to be ranked higher than they actually were.

Here are some possible reasons as to why you weren't matched to a particular program:

  1. You were not ranked as high on that program's Rank Order List as were the applicants who did get matched to that program.

  2. The program ranked you, but had different requirements for different positions (e.g., a Spanish-speaking intern was needed for one position, while an intern with a background in the assessment of children was needed for a second position). In this situation, you would have been considered more qualified for some positions and less qualified for other positions.

  3. Some programs want their internship class to represent a variety of qualifications, experiences, and/or interests. In that regard, some programs provide instructions to the Match that limit the number of students they are willing to accept from any one school or university. Thus, if you ranked a program that matched to one or more other students from your school, and that internship program established limits in the Match as to how many students could be matched from any one school, it is possible that this resulted in your not being matched to that program.

  4. You were not ranked at all by the program.

QUESTION: I wasn't matched at all, and now I'm wondering if the order in which I ranked my programs had something to do with my not being matched. Is this possible?

ANSWER:
No, the order in which you ranked your programs did not result in your being unmatched. If you did not match, you would have been unmatched regardless of the order in which you submitted your rankings. Changing the order of the programs on your Rank Order List only affects where you will be matched, not whether or not you will be matched.

QUESTION: I wasn't matched to a program that I ranked, and now I see that they have an opening in Phase II of the Match (or in the Post-Match Vacancy Service). How could this be?

ANSWER: There are several possibilities: 

  1. You were not ranked by the program.

  2. You were ranked by the program, but the program's decision to limit the number of applicants accepted from any one school or university resulted in your not being matched to that program and in one or more of the program's positions remaining unfilled.

  3. You were ranked by the program, but the program had different requirements for different positions. Thus, you may have been deemed qualified for certain positions (which were filled) but not for other positions (which were not all filled by other applicants, resulting in a vacancy).

  4. The program filled all of its positions in the Match, but had a new position come available at a later date (i.e., after the Match was completed).

QUESTION: I wasn't matched to a program that I ranked in Phase I of the Match, and now I see that they have an opening in Phase II. Is it permissible for me to re-apply for this vacant position?

ANSWER: Yes, and it can be a very good idea to do so, as the program may be quite willing to consider you for the vacant position. In fact, programs that had specific requirements in Phase I of the Match (as described in the answer to the previous question) may be willing to relax these requirements in Phase II.