Dietetic Internship Application (DICAS) Advice from Current Interns

by Her Happy Balance on January 17, 2017

Hey there, friends! Remember me? In case you were worried, I am still alive and kickin’. I am currently reporting in from my tiny studio apartment in Connecticut in the throes of yet another week of the world’s longest dietetic internship. Just kidding, might not be the world’s longest…definitely the tri-state area’s longest, though. Anyway, I last left you off before the Christmas holidays, and I am here today to resurrect the blog with a particularly timely post.

Where my prospective dietetic interns at?!

If you’re interested in becoming a registered dietitian then you are already familiar with the credentialing process. To bring everyone up to speed here, all RD’s must graduate from a didactic program in nutrition (BS or MS), complete a dietetic internship, and sit for the registered dietitian exam before they receive the coveted RD credential after their names. And January through March happen to be very important months in the life of the future RD  – #RD2Be – as they are spent preparing, applying and then interviewing for internships.  Dietetic internship positions are extremely competative as only approximately 50% of candidates will match with a program. With the central application for internships, DICAS, being due mid February it seemed like the perfect time to harass all my fellow co-interns into giving me their best advice for prospective dietetic internship applicants.

DICAS advice

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What is the best advice you can give to a prospective dietetic internship applicant about the DICAS application process?

“Send your transcript to DICAS as early as possible–at least one month in advance! It may take weeks before DICAS actually uploads the transcript to your account once it has been received. Also keep in mind there have been plenty of students who have had their transcripts lost in the mail!”- – Jayme C.

“Turn your personal statement into a story rather than just doing a laundry list of your accomplishments. Make sure they have an opportunity to get to know who you are. And try to get letters of recommendation from people who really know you and can write more than a generic letter.” – – Jessie C.

“While gaining a variety of nutrition-related experiences is vital to your resume, pick only a few to expand upon in your personal statement. Bring forth unique opportunites from those experiences and explain how they allowed you to gain interpersonal and professional skills, shaped your work ethic, and prepared you to be a successful dietetic intern.” – – Brianna H.

“My best piece of advice for prospective dietetic interns is to be confident in your abilities and know yourself really well. Your application will stand out to the directors if you’re sure of yourself and what you want to accomplish throughout your internship and as a future dietitian.” – -Kimberly T.

“Start early! There are a lot of different parts to complete in DICAS and it may seem slightly overwhelming at first. I found it really helpful to work on a little part of my application each week.” – – Christine K.

“Find what makes you unique and then, if possible, demonstrate how that skill/trait/experience would contribute to your ability to be a strong, unique intern.” – – Brittany L.

“One tool that was helpful for me when it came to applying for DIs was making a spreadsheet beforehand, which included programs of interest, due dates, prices, details about the program, and other noteworthy information. It helped with narrowing down my list and when it came to ranking programs. I also found it helpful to reach out to graduates from the years before me, who completed or were in the process of completing programs that I was interested in. They were happy to help and provided a lot of useful advice!” – – Holly R.

“My advice for DICAS is not to procrastinate! I would suggest making a schedule and working on one section a day for a few weeks! That way by the time it’s due all you have to do is review. It took me a lot longer than I had planned to complete the application.” – – Lindsay V.

“Make a checklist of things you need to complete/send for all your DI programs, and be like Santa and check that list twice! It may seem obvious or like common sense, but it will definitely help keep you in check (ba-dum-tss) especially if you’re applying to multiple places. And just a reminder, DI programs do not see your rankings for them or any other programs. Rank higher for programs you really want to attend or feel like you have the best chance of getting into.” – – Anthony C.

“Be honest with yourseld when applying to internships. Don’t apply to programs for the wrong reasons (i.e. lower cost, close to home). Focus on internships with a concentration you’re interested in and those that you see yourself thriving in. And quality is always better than quantity. Focus on applying to a few internships that you love rather than applying to multiple just to increase your chances. It’s better to put all of your efforts into applying to 3-4 internships and feeling confident in your applications.” – – Kristen L.

And I will send you off with my personal advice, something I wish I was told more often – focus on the things you can control and do not stress about the things which are out of your hands. Do everything you possibly can to solidify your application and then when you hit that submit button trust in the process. The interview calls and emails will come, worrying over the timing of their arrival will truly bring you no benefit. Everything you have done up until this point has been to attain your goals, know that if dietetics is the field you belong in that internship directors will see that. You are a much more qualified candidate than you may believe. 

Good luck, future RDs! You’ve got this 😉 

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