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Comments about Imbalance

Comments From 1,076 Students Who Participated in the 2011 APPIC Match

Students who participated in the 2011 APPIC Applicant Survey (launched at the conclusion of the 2011 APPIC Match) were asked the following question:

"How has the current imbalance between applicants and positions affected you, personally and/or professionally?  In other words, if you had the ear of the education and training community, what would you like to tell them about this issue?  How has your life and the lives of others been affected?  You may wish to share your own personal experiences, the impact on yourself, other students, and/or your academic program, suggestions for how to improve the situation, or other thoughts, feelings, and/or concerns."

Students were told that their responses to this question would be publicized via the internet, and were asked to exclude all identifying information.  A total of 1,076 students of the 2,731 respondents to the survey answered this question, and their unedited responses are below.

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Yes, as I was not matched, I feel very much that there is a significant disparity, which is quite frustrating.


How has the current imbalance in internships NOT affected me? Throughout my graduate training, I had this dark cloud looming – the match deficit grows every year. Each class had it worse than the previous class. My anxiety about whether or not I might match started my first year and grew continuously each year. The mood of my classmates this year has been nearly unbearable. All of us were talking about our concerns about not matching and how awful it would be. I had a classmate literally pass out at work due to her anxiety. We were a mess this entire year, constantly thinking, “What if I don’t match?” My program’s match rate is historically higher than the national average. However, this year, of the 12 that applied from my cohort, 5 matched. Forty-two percent of my classmates matched, myself not included. My classmates who matched could not celebrate because the majority of my class was writhing in pain and they had survivor’s guilt. Now, amidst our pain we are forcing ourselves to try for a shot in the dark in order to grab one of the few remaining internship slot left this year. Trying to salvage an entire year of anxiety and worry by pushing through for one more month in hopes to not have to push through for one more year. Now onto Phase II where 900+ applicants fight tooth and nail for 250 slots, only 72 of which are APA-accredited (not include those who have since withdrawn). Not matching means devastation. For me, it means putting off my life for yet another year. It means putting myself through hell for another year for a *chance* at matching next year. For some of my classmates, it means waiting one more year before having children. For others, it means considering quitting now, leaving the program, and getting a masters-level job. For all of us, it means prolonging our wait to become a psychologist, all while accumulating even more debt. If I had a magic wand, I’d make it so everyone who has proven themselves in an accredited graduate program would obtain and APA-accredited internship. Since I don’t, I would want someone to take a hard look at those programs that have 50+ students and are flooding the applicant pool. I’m not saying everyone who goes to such schools does not deserve an internship, but it is my opinion that they are contributing to the problem. I’d also make it less expensive and laborious for sites to become APA-accredited. By attacking things from both angles (decreasing applicant pool and increasing APA-accredited sites), the imbalance would hopefully slowly improve. For now, I lie in wait to see how the Phase II will go. I hope that I can somehow come out on the other end with an internship, but my 5% chance of getting an accredited internship makes me less optimistic. My classmates and I have shed many tears in this process. I hope the future cohorts will not have to endure such pain.


It's horrible and preventing me from graduating on time, which means I have more money in loans and can't start my career. I think schools are accepting too many students into programs, which doesn't affect anything until the internship year.


I am 49 years old, a husband of 16 years, and father of a 12-year-old. I returned to school at age 40 to get a BA and pursue my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. My daughter does not remember me not being in school. We are about to empty our savings. At an age when many people are putting the finishing touches on their retirement accounts, we are taking out student loans. That the state of the internship match is such that a fourth-year applicant from a good school who has excellent references, good research experience, and 650 hours of high-quality practicum and supervision experience cannot be placed within a four-hour drive of his family in the first round of matching is, to my mind, criminal. I understand that the problem is complex, that no one organization (or class of organization) is uniquely responsible, but the current situation is unsustainable. I am grateful to live in a part of the world where a middle-aged man can take on a career change of this magnitude and I was aware of the challenge when I took it on, but if the sites that toss out applications based solely on hours as a first cut (a practice which is understandable given the overwhelming number of applications but nonetheless short-sighted) could see the look on my daughter's face when I tell her I am going to be in school for yet another year simply because I'm competing with kids who have 150 hours more than I do, I think they might think twice about the quick-and-easy cuts and focus more energy on quality than quantity.


The imbalance makes us all crazy, even those of us who successfully matched. There is a serious need to address this problem in a meaningful way. Perhaps APA should require all clinical programs to include a warning label on all recruitment materials: "WARNING: Doctoral study in psychology requires you to complete an internship, and your program has no control over whether and when you will get one."


Again, this is my third year of going through the proccess and not getting a result. This has been incredibly negative because I have had to stretch out my financial debt and career path by two (and now three) years to try and fulfill this last requirement. The peers I started school with are now finished with post-doc while I am still at square one. I am a little older than the average student as well, so I will be about 37 before I can even get started on my career. Because this process has failed, I am at risk of not graduating because there are time limits on progress for my program. Imagine that! I might be dismissed from my school without my doctorate because of a great imbalance that I have no control over! This is less than an encouraging welcome to the field and as a result, I actively discourage people I know to go into psychology, instead directing them to nursing or med school where students have a much better chance and support system to get matched to residencies. The field is being flooded by the rate of admissions while the number of sites has not grown to meet demand. This creates what amounts to a ponzi scheme where the bottom players will be shut out and the number of unmatched students will continue to grow year after year. Sadly, there will be many more like me who may have come so far for nothing and have only massive debt to show for it.


Despite not matching, I do believe that I am an intelligent, hardworking, perhaps even talented young woman. I believe these things deep down, even though this entire experience has left me with a sense of not being good enough, a sense I am not sure I will ever be able to shake. I have worked so hard while earning my master's degree, and later while completing my doctoral course requirements. I have worked for six years on these things, and I was proud of my accomplishments. On Thursday night, I was a successful and confident young woman. On Friday morning, I was simply not good enough. Although many people argue that the match is about "fit", I find it hard to believe that I and my 900 unmatched colleagues simply didn't have the right qualifications or clinical experiences for the sites we applied to. Most internship sites pay between $18-$25k and often don't provide health insurance, yet the competition has become so intense that obtaining a site seems to require experiences that would once have been thought impressive on the CV of a tenured professor. An internship is one step on the road to obtaining a doctorate. An internship is a year of training, not a reward for years of graduate study or a prize for the most competitive students. Obtaining an internship should not be the final 'A' on the transcript. Shame on the APA for continuing to accredit programs that admit more than 100 students each year, and shame on graduate programs that demonstrate such greed. For a glimpse of what the future holds, we have only to look to the struggles of recent graduates of law programs. If the current imbalance is not addressed, the field will shift its focus from compassion to competition. The imbalance is creating an environment in which the competitive survive, while those who balance academia and training with family time are left behind. I believe the field grows poorer for it.


I think it affected me personally and profesionally, both ways, I been studying hard to finish my carrer in psychology and i am very interest in start working and helping people but i think that it is very imbalance the process and we spend a lot of money in it and a lot of energy too. I think it will be more helpful to have more opportunities in each states.


Yes, this is affecting me both personally and professionally. I cannot graduate from my program until I complete an internship, but this is the second year that I have not matched. I spend a considerable amount of time and money on the process, and have no idea why I am having this difficulty in matching. It is extremely frustrating to be unable to move forward in my career, much less begin it.


I honestly feel that something MUST be done that more aggressively seeks to rectify the imbalance between applicants and positions. As it stood as of match day, 937 applicants were unmatched and only 256 positions remained unfilled. If all these are filled in Phase II, that will still leave 681 people unmatched. Those people will either be forced to take a non-APPIC position or put off graduating an extra year. The extra year will put most students further into debt, increase the match discrepancy further, and make next year's match even more stressful. Many students cannot afford to spend multiple years looking for an internship, while they continue to rack up large amounts of student debt. The alternative (taking a non-APPIC position) is even more unappealing as that could possibly destroy a career before it even starts, by closing off career opportunities. In a field that is concerned with the mental health of people, it seems highly hypocritical to put students under such duress and incite fears that all of their hard work and effort can go to waste simply because there are not enough placements to go around. Further complicating this matter is the sometimes prohibitive costs for sites to have an APA-accredited internship, that causes some potentially amazing training sites from even being able to become APPIC members or accredited training sites, especially given the current economic climate. On a personal level, I am truly beginning to feel that I mad a terrible decision coming into this field. I came to psychology wanting to help people. The idea that because I might be one of 681 people this year to not match by the end of Phase II and thereby forever limit my ability to do the work that I have come to love scares me. Many training sites at which I have had practica are not internship sites, because they cannot meet the financial burden of becoming APPIC members or APA sites. They have been amazing training sites nonetheless. I want to pursue a career in eating disorders treatment, but without an APA internship many post-docs won't even consider my application. The fact that there are nearly 700 more applicants than there are positions means that many good clinicians are going unmatched, and thereby forced to stall their lives for another debt-ridden year or take an internship that may be amazing but is considered "less than" because it is not financially feasible for them to become "approved" training site. Regardless of the outcome of phase II, I feel that this is too important an issue for me not to make my voice heard and I will continue to do so.


It is not only that this imbalance causes tremendous anxiety to those applying, we carry this anxiety onto our daily work, which involves being responsible for other people. The imbalance, which does not exist in the medical community, directly impacts our daily work with patients and with other professionals. As a community, clinicians need to be sensitive to the way in which this impacts trainees and allow for some way to alleviate this anxiety beyond support at the institutional level


The continued accreditation of programs that consistently post subpar match rates and flood the applicant pool with underprepared students is a travesty. These programs need to be held accountable, and the entire accreditation process needs to be reworked to prevent these programs from continuing to damage the field and the lives of qualified applicants whose careers are jeopardized by failing to secure internship positions. Restricting admission rates to the number of successfully placed students would be a good start.


There is an increased sense of urgency, competitiveness, and anxiety. Everyone in my class was very secretive and not helpful in the process because we felt like we were competing even against each other for so few spots. Honestly, I'm not really sure how to remedy the situation because I know it's multifaceted; however, I do feel that psychology doctoral programs should have a limit to how many students they can accept. It's tough coming from a small, selective program competing with schools that take 80 or more students.


Lower the stipend requirement for APA/APPIC accreditation. There are many CAPIC sites offering high-quality training and the only reason they are not accredited is because they don't have the funding. Accepting them into APA/APPIC will not only strengthen the overall quality control of training sites but also reduce the gap between the number of applicants and available positions.


The bottom line that I learned about this process was that the APA accredidation is really a bottle neck and a pipeline for our field. Many non-APA sites just simply cannot afford to pay a stipend (non-profit community mental health, for example). Why should they b considered a less prestigious training opportunity just because they don't have the time/funding to offer a mere $20k salary? The bottle neck is exactly why this discrepancy between positions and applicants arrives. The bottle neck is also creating door-closures for future psycholgists only, not door-openings!


As an applicant who did not match in phase 1, the imbalance between supply and demand has likely postponed my reaching my career goals for another year (minimum), and will without a doubt cause me to incur further debt (which is already quite substantial). I am appalled that 30% of applicants are in a similar position. I understand that funding for sites to develop internships and pay interns is a road block, but so is the explosion of large training programs that churn out more psychologists than the field is able to accommodate. It will not not an easy issue to solve.


The current imbalance has had a very large effect on my training, my confidence in the APA and the training system of clinical psychology. Though I have worked extremely hard in graduate school, am a part of a university-based APA accredited program, have a 4.0, have engaged in a variety of experiences, and have spent four years working towards my degree, I was not matched. I am EXTREMELY disappointed that such a large imbalance has been created and nothing appears to have been done to control it, or the quality of individuals allowed to apply for internships. Of the seven individuals that applied for internship from my program this year, only four were matched, though all of us had strong applications and skills. I attribute this match rate to the lack of available internship positions. In sum, something MUST be done. This imbalance is unacceptable and unethical. Graduate students work extremely hard to get through graduate school and the prospect of not being matched for an internship or having to wait because there are not enough spots is not okay.


The current glut of applicants seems to be overwhelming to sites, and promotes an atmosphere of trying to use labels to quickly eliminate candidates. While I understand the demand the huge number of applications places on sites, it is discouraging to see many hospital sites immediately assume someone from a counseling psychology program would not be a good fit for their site, without considering actual training experiences (both in terms of the content/focus of the academic program and the practicum training sites). Using these kind of crude screening techniques leads to someone from a degree mill "clinical" program with almost no training in research or empirically supported treatments be regarded more highly than candidates from top-notch scientist-practitioner programs in counseling psychology, which does not serve sites hoping to get the best trained applicants.


No everyone has the financial means or desire to move for a number of a stressful process such as this, it is incumbent upon practitioners to not put mental stress on those who are simply trying to get contact hours and training to get their degree. Moving is noted as one of the most stessful life changes...we tell our clients that but we allow students to endure seperation, mental anguish, anxiety and cut throat competition and then expect for us to go out and help others when our lives have been turned upside down. Additionally, this is my second time doing "match" and I know what it's like to both match and to not and neither one is any easier for me. Only a select few feel the need to just uproot their lives for a year-those are the people who should be able to apply for places out of town-just like when applying to graduate schools- some of us have much more to consider and this is one reason many people are trying to find ways of creating internships. Hopefully, there will be better options in the future because this is another reason many are avoiding getting a Ph.D. The internship is too much for some people-not to mention the post-doc requirement many states still have.


My life has been altered forever... The chance of matching in the second round is so slim that it makes me hopeless. I interviewed well, I gathered sufficient experience that was well tailored to positions that I applied for, I went to trainings, conferences, and took every opportunity to learn, all while remaining a stable human being. THIS WAS ALL FOR NOT! I went to doctoral school across the country, because I wanted to attend a certain program. Now that I have to take an extra year, I can't afford to stay here, but I also can't afford to go home, as I can not get a practicum position there that would continue my career in a way to make me competitive for next year. I am between a rock and a hard place because I did not match. I don't know what to do right now. This whole process makes me livid. Some of the best students in my class did not match, while some of the worst were allowed to take the next step. I am and will always be bitter for that. It makes me sad and dissolution-ed for the profession. I am a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. The results of this match will have a bigger effect on my career path than that devastating storm did. As a student who has invested his heart, soul, and thousands and thousands of dollars into his career, this process is UNACCEPTABLE. Bottom line, there NEEDS to be more APA sites. Moreover, this process is simply sad.


Indeed, it is difficult to watch friends and caring and knowledgable future-practitioners NOT match. The problem, though, stems not from a lack of sites nor from the APPIC/internship system. This problem resides with the schools, particularly the professional schools (of which I am a member). The transition from an educational model (where the focus is on great education) to a business model (aspiring to increased tuition dollars) is unquestionably diluting the field. Enrollment at most schools is soaring, and can be experienced EVERYWHERE: in the classroom, in the match, in practicum searches. Individuals not well suited to this profession, especially one that possesses such responsibility, abound. Tuition dollars have become more enticing to programs than quality individuals leaving their institution with degrees. Selectivity in admission is plummeting. This is sad and amoral. The imbalance of student to sites is merely one place to view this. The results will continue to trickle to not enough jobs, inability to pay back loans, and hurting individuals hoping for aid with professionals unable to offer such. This is frightening.


Doctoral programs must limit the amount of applicants they accept each year, rather that continue to admit more students and add to the imbalance.


The imbalance has been a huge source of stress amongst myself and my colleagues. With 5 of my friends not receiving a match, it has been very heartbreaking to watch. We have lost sleep, questioned our abilities, and been unable to self-soothe at times. I hope programs will take less new students, and that more sites will be come training programs to lesson the match imbalance for future students.


I'm afraid the imbalance goes way beyond the internship year. How can our field remain well respected and balanced if we're churning out 4000+ psychologists a year? It's not fair to students being accepted into Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs to spend so much time on a degree, even if they match successfully for internship, if finding a job afterward is becoming more and more of a challenge. I have nothing against Psy.D.'s. I think many of them are excellent psychologists. However, I do have problems with large Psy.D. programs that are more focused on making a profit than selecting the best students and offering them the best training. APA should take a stand on this issue before any long term solution can be reached.


This has been incredibly stressful. I understand that funding for additional programs/placements is a limitation, but the level of competition among students for few positions is a VERY stressful experience, and in my case most likely led to being matched to a placement that I am honestly not happy with.


I don't have much new things to offer other than what has already been said, but I would just reiterate the need for a system overhaul here. It is unacceptable that students can be extremely qualified, diligent, and deserving, and still be unable to complete their doctoral training in a timely manner. As an applicant, I was fairly confident in the strength of my application, but still felt incredibly anxious until my results arrived yesterday. I've also seen many colleagues' lives affected adversely from this process. I am not well educated enough on the proposals to make a concrete suggestion, although the proposal to limit the number of programs' applications based on their prior match rate seems reasonable. If we cannot create more internships and do not want to do away with the system, we need to limit the number of people accepted into doctoral programs in the first place to correct this imbalance.


Copied from question 59: This comment might be beyond the formal scope of APPIC but I urge APPIC to consider the following and, if possible, take corrective action. It is my understanding that that internship sites feel pressured BY APA to not accept students from non-accredited training programs. This is unacceptable. APA has done an immense service to the field of psychology but if any facet of APA feels that they have a duty, right, or privilege to pressure internship sites to not accept a trainee due unaccredited status, they have made a serious ethical misstep. lf internship sites voluntarily and independently elect to not accept students from non-accredited programs (or limit the number of students from non-accredited programs), this is ethically acceptable, albeit in my opinion unfortunate. It is not ok, however, if an internship site elects to not accept students from non-accredited programs for fear of APA-related consequences (e.g., failure to grant site accreditation). APA must recognize and respect the right of all internship programs to be the sole determiner of who they should and should accept as an intern. APA accreditation does provide some indication of training standardization and thus “quality control.” However, individual internship sites must be permitted to determine, without consequence, how, if at all, to factor in a student’s accreditation status when weighing the merit and assessing the fit of an applicant. This issue aside, there is exists the more general problem of too few sites aka too many applicants. I see at least 2 ways of dealing with this: increasing the type (and thus #)of experiences that can qualify as an internship and/or informing potential graduate students, using a pre-application entrance interview procedure, of the internship situation and how this could affect their professional prospects.


Due in large part to the imbalance between the applicants and number of positions, this was one of the most stressful experiences I have ever had (not to mention the impact on my spouse, family, friends, etc., who were all concerned for me). I'm in my 7th year of graduate school, and I should be defending my dissertation this summer, so the idea that I would be sitting around for a year with nothing to do but apply for internship again was not a pleasant one. If I could have been mostly assured that I would get an internship, even if it wasn't the best fit for me, my anxiety levels would have been drastically reduced. While this is somewhat selfish, I was frustrated to find out that people from schools that didn't require an APA internship were applying to these same internships as those of us that are required to do one. I am upset that my classmates that didn't match may have been beaten out by students who wanted an internship 'because it's a good experience' vs. needing one to graduate. While I don't begrudge them the experience, or the internship site choosing who they think would be the best fit, it's still an incredibly frustrating situation.


I believe that applicants from certain programs have a distinct disadvantage when compared to other students. For instance, I would like to be a practitioner. I am not interested in working for a university or completing research on a regular basis. I am excellent when it comes to therapy and continue to improve with each semester. However, there are other students who have been working toward a career in an academic/research setting since they started their training. If they are in a program for 6 years they will obviously have many more APPIC hours than a student who only has 3 years of practicum experience. Many sites that I received feedback from suggested that my number of hours were low when compared to other applicants. I agree this is the case but also wonder if these other applicants are going to be working as professors or with clients after they have completed their programs. I believe there is room for all of us as we are all an important part of the structure that creates assistance for the individuals and families that we work with. I am not sure how this might be fixed but know that it adds pressure to a great deal of students who do not have the huge number of hours that someone who has been in a program for 6 years.


It's extremely stressful. Also causes applicants to feel forced to spend extra money on interviews (e.g., attending in person) as otherwise they likely wouldn't match.


It seems unfair to have a lack of positions, considering we are required to complete an internship to finish our degree. I understand a lack of funding and lack of interest in training for some professionals keeps them from offering internships. However, it seems that something needs to be done about the over saturated field.


the imbalance had made me and my colleagues more likely to apply to places where we know we'll get accepted. so, while our program does very well in placing/matching all of its students (95+%), we match according to our tempered standards - the number one placement that we consider to be reasonable, not the number one placement in our heart-of-hearts. the imbalance makes students just want to get matched, not necessarily matched where they want to be. one of our students placed at a non-APA approved site. while his profile may not have matched with any of the 15 programs that he applied to, he was much more willing to accept a non-accredited placement rather than go for one that matched his interests and training needs.


I believe that the incongruent number of applicants and positions available affected individuals most with interview offers. Having fewer interview offers also decreases the chance for matching since we can only rank the ones we interview with.


Terribly unfair.


This process was horrendous. I did not match last year and I considered this past year my "year of hell." My self-confidence was shattered and my family had to live with my angst. I think the imbalance is wrong. I feel that if you come from a program that must match to an APA site, you should have first choice of APA sites. It is unfair to require something in order to graduate that is not available. Those programs that are not APA accredited should not be able to apply to APA accredited internship programs. On the other hand, this year was a tremendous growth period for me. I grew in my skills as a clinician and a person. I became more sure of my career path and applied to different programs this year. I feel had I matched last year, I would not have gotten the quality of training that I will be getting in my current match site. I believe things happen for a reason, and even though the past year was a period of darkness in some way, I also feel that it gave me experiences with clients I would not have had and made me a better person.


Given the selectivity of clinical programs, especially Ph.D. programs, it seems unreasonable that there is not a place for every student who successfully completes his or her program's requirements. It is difficult to see the process as student friendly given that some qualified applicants will inevitably be denied a position in an accredited internship. A fellow student in my program (with more objective qualifications than I) ranked 10 programs but did not match in phase 1. This level of uncertainty for a qualified applicant from an excellent clinical Ph.D. program creates a sense of dread in future participants in the APPIC match.


This process is extremely stress provoking. Very qualified students are not getting training that they need and deserve. We work very hard to excel in our academic programs. And, then, at the end, we can't continue in our training because there are too few training opportunities available. This is a serious problem that is not being addressed adequately.


At very least, this issue has greatly increased the anxiety associated with applying for internship amongst students in my program.


I think the internship imbalance has finally impacted our program. Only 4 of our 7 applying students matched, which is significantly lower than it was before. This year the group hit hardest was the generalists. My colleagues with more specialized interests (pediatrics or behavioral medicine) did quite well because their research and clinical training supported their specialized applications and the pool of competition was smaller. Generalists are typically in competition with a bigger and more diverse group of applicants. Also, I was focusing on a VA internship, and I believe with the new policy regarding student loan forgiveness after a certain length of time at the VA, many Psy.D. students (who do not have a great deal of financial aid from their programs and take out large student loans) are now setting their sites on the VA system (particularly with the economic crisis impacting the availability of other internship programs). APAGS recently published an article suggesting that one-third of the people who don't match are from 14 Psy.D. programs and 1 Ph.D program. The study also suggested that the issue is these large classes that are coming from a few programs. My friend went to the Psy.D program that had 107 people in her cohort (started with her), and I had 10. Psy.D. programs focus on practical experiences has provided many of them with a large number of direct hours. My program told me (and many internship sites confirmed) that it's the quality of hours and not just the quantity, but more than ever before, you need a certain quantity of hours to get your foot in the door. As a result, I think my program will begin requiring a student to be in their fifth year before applying for internship, just to increase their number of hours. That's more time in graduate school and more money for assistantships or financial aid. I would like to see programs with lower match rates held accountable. It was suggested at one time that those programs below a certain match rate should be financially sanctioned, so the money could be used to form new internships. I don't agree with this action because I can see how it would lead to lowering the standards for internship, rather than requiring higher standards of programs. They are supposed to be educating people to be doctors of the science of psychology. Programs with lower match rates should have to provide information on how they plan on addressing these shortcomings and improve their match rates. Their plans should be reviewed by programs with better match rates, similar to a mentorship program. If programs continue to fall short, perhaps some sort of cap on the number of students they can admit.


I spent more than $2,500 out of my $16,000 salary this year on applications and interviews to no avail. That is preposterous. It has led to my being in grad school for one and probably two extra years. Which means I have to wait to have a child one or two extra years if I choose to have one. This increases my chance of fertility difficulty. If I want IVF or adoption after that, it costs a LOT of money and when added to the extra debt I will have incurred being stuck in grad school two extra years may bankrupt me.


A major factor seems to be Py.D. programs flooding the "market" with an overwhelming amount of students.


I feel that the imbalance between the number of positions and the number of applicants generally hurts applicants. I feel that it intensifies the competition involved and promotes excessive anxiety about the internship process. I feel that my physical and mental health (as well as that of friends, family and colleagues) was affected by the sheer amount of anxiety that I/we experienced as part of this process. As a person from a low-income background, I experience a lot of anxiety preparing for internship and throughout the application process because the consequences of not matching could have potentially derailed my entire career. I could easily have been left in a position where I may gave had to find employment without a degree and begin to pay off significant debt accrued in the pursuit of my degree. Furthermore, such a scenario could have potentially prohibited me from ever completing my degree. Therefore, throughout this process I felt significant pressure to succeed in my quest for an internship. Finally, it is likely that this pressure not only contributed to significant anxiety while applying, the anxiety that I felt likely diminished my ability to perform as well during interviews as I may have liked.


I personally know well-qualified students who did not match and who are financially unable to stay where their school is located. Not only are students affected academically, financially, and psychologically--but it takes a huge toll on one's overall life plans. Some may argue that a year is not a big deal, but for student's the impact of not matching not only affects them, but their family and friends as well. The system is so inundated that I am pessimistic about the internship situation getting better anytime soon. Part of the problem as well is that some training directors have pre-determined students who they are selecting even prior to internship applications. I know APPIC does not have control over this, but it also contributes to much of the seemingly "unfair" nature of the selection process in general. Schools have to take more responsibility for placing their students. Also, school training directors, practicum sites, and internship directors should communicate more so there can be a continuity of training.


The past 6 months of my life have felt very stressful and difficult as a result of the imbalance/internship application


When I was searching for graduate programs, I explored both PsyD and PhD programs. Due to my enjoyment of research, I chose to pursue a PhD program. During my PhD program, I have had the opportunity to have many interactions and collegial relationships with students/graduates from PsyD programs. I have been in practica with PsyD students and also work with a number of psychologists with PsyD degrees at my university counseling center. I make the prior statements about my interaction with Psy D students to indicate that I am not raising these concerns blindly or out of spite. The problem with the imbalance lies with the programs (PsyD or PhD) who accept 10+ students in any given year. In particular, I know that Argosy University in Atlanta, Georgia, often accepts as many as 30-40 doctoral students in any given year. Since I have friends in this program, I know that last year, there were 25 students from that school applying for internship. Perhaps APA/APPIC need to be more selective and stricter with the programs they choose to accredit. Perhaps APA/APPIC should place a limitation on the number of students that can be admitted in any given year in a doctoral program. The next question is made with limitations: If schools/programs are accepting such a large number of students, are they indeed obtaining the same level and quality of training as other schools/programs who have 80% less students? Since the medical residency programs use a similar process, I think that we can compare our process with their process to a certain degree. There are ample sites/residency openings as compared to the number of resident applicants. Due to this supply/demand that has been created within the medical profession, doctors (MD) are able to retain their demand, which also allows them to be selective and maintain a high salary. I say this to suggest that the large number of students being accepted into some programs is not only affecting the internship supply and demand, but it is also affecting the psychology career supply and demand. Psychology schools and programs either need to admit a lesser number of students or they need to create programs that are more rigorous, so that the number of students completing the program is not a ridiculously large number.


Yes- each year, many directors of clinical training and applicants get very nervous.


The imbalance between applicants and positions is incredibly stressful and frustrating. Although I was fortunate enough to secure a position this year (the first time I've participated in the match), I am aware that many well-qualified applicants did not. It seems problematic to me that collectively graduate programs are able to admit more students than there will be available internship positions, particularly because the internship experience is required for graduation. I felt plagued by this reality during the application, interviewing, ranking, and waiting periods as I wondered if all of the resources (professional, financial, emotional) I was dedicating to this process would pay off. And all the while recognizing that it was possible that I may have had to complete the process again another time if I did not match. Of course I also recognize that there is not a clear, quick-fix solution to this problem and so I appreciate that we are attempting a dialogue in our profession to work toward its improvement. I feel that, as helping professionals who pride ourselves in recognizing the influence of context and environment (the match imbalance being a pretty negative one) as well as the psychological impact of physical and emotional stress/distress, we are all obligated to work toward a resolution.


The severe imbalance between applicants and positions available is a severe ethical violation that APA and training programs must address. I understand that discussions are taking place to address this issue; however, the solutions that I've read are not acceptable. This imbalance has caused me personal angst that was totally unnecessary. Doctoral training is stressful enough and having to entertain the possibility that I would have to postpone my graduation and career as a psychologist because of a lack of training programs was and still is infuriating. I have a peer colleague who earned 10 interviews, however, did not match. Obviously, she was qualified enough in the eyes of internship application committees to get such a high number of interviews. To me this is a clear example of how very competent students are, for a lack of better words, being screwed over by the system. Even though I was successful in being matched, I am making it one of my priorities to address this issue over the course of my career. Again, it is not only an injustice to students and the profession, but it is a grave ethical dilemma.


the significant chance of not being matched caused significant nervousness and anxiety.


Although I come from a Psy.D program (for-profit school) I find it unethical that programs take on more students then they have sites (for practicum) to place them in. Internship is one thing, as students we are on our own for that. Also, I have no problem with students not placing for practicum (having interviews and not being accepted for one reason or another), as long as there are positions available. But when you take on students promising to provide them w/ an educational experience, as an academic institution they should be able to provide what students pay for.


I was not matched in phase I, and of course I don't know what the outcome will be in phase II, but my initial result came as a shock and a disappointment. I had many interviews, most at top sites in and around where I live, and I left them feeling optimistic and excited. I felt sure that one of my 9 rankings would pan out and had much feedback that it should, since so many people match with their top 3 choices. I guess my surprise can be explained by the internship imbalance - I know that many qualified students apply for each spot - and it was clear in meeting fellow applicants that most of the pool is nice, smart, and normal. Now there are very few, if any, accredited internship positions within driving distance from where I live. I want to leave the option open to be placed in a VA or attend certain post-docs, so to me an accredited internship is important. My boyfriend and I finally had plans to move in together this summer, but in choosing between trying to match in a distant city or waiting another year and apply, we both felt that trying to match made the most sense. My family has been a huge source of financial (and emotional support through college and grad school - it is hard to think of putting off another year in securing a paid position. My boyfriend has been extremely supportive, and I suppose if there ever was a time to relocate, it would be now. Unfortunately for some of my classmates, relocating is not an option with spouses and children tied to their current city. They have chosen to wait and apply again next year. My plan is to apply in phase II and hope for the best. All I can do at this point is stay positive, but at the moment it hard to see through this fog of uncertainty, with so many qualified people still unmatched, about when and what will work out.


The match imbalance itself is not as distressing to me as what it indicates on the larger scale. We have way more students coming out of programs than the work force can accommodate. To me, this does not indicate a need to fix the APPIC match, rather, we need to be looking at why we are allowing this many students to be entering a field that can not provide the necessary education for degree completion. If APPIC addresses this imbalance by simply increasing internship sites, they are only going to hurt the field as a whole. In terms of its personal and professional impact on me? I wish I knew that our degree was going to be this undervalued when I started this process. I would not have chosen to work as hard as I did to go to a competitive university based PhD program. Instead, I would have chosen a different career path. I feel like I have wasted the last 5 years of graduate training and 6 years of preparation for graduate training in order to get a degree that has considerable less value than the effort I have put into obtaining it.


It caused me a lot of stress. Fortunately I was able to have financial assistance from family to do some in-person interviews. While many sites did phone interviews, if there is a chance to do an in person interview, that seems the wisest way to assess fit and comfort with another. With the imbalance and the recommendation that we apply to 14 sites, this unfairly positions those with more financial resources to benefit from this system. Given our understanding of human behavior and knowledge of systemic inequities, it seems kind of absurd that we further perpetuate that with the current setup. The PsyD programs are often blamed for the imbalance. If this is an accurate picture of the problem, then APA needs to provide more regulations to limit the number of students. I also think that APA needs to work harder to provide more sites that are available for training and consider ways of working with programs to provide in-house internships. Having to relocate to some place for one year is quite costly and difficult (financially and emotionally) and not only affects students, but their families.


I believe that the current imbalance is a major problem. First, many qualified applicants coming from terrific programs are not matching, and not being able to graduate. As an APA accredited internship is required at my program to graduate, for those who don't match, they simply have to stay in graduate school longer, which then adds another layer, as they may not be able to find funding if they have to stay into later years. For the couple of students in my program who have not matched over the years, it is incredibly embarrassing and leaves them in a very difficult position. In order to make sure you match, it requires applying to increasing numbers of programs. I matched when applying to 15, as did two of the others in my cohort, but one did not. As a result, I am sure people will be applying to 20 programs next year in order to ensure they match. I am not sure that internship should be a requirement in order to get a PhD in clinical psychology if this imbalance continues to worsen, or even remains as is. People who are capable of getting into a PhD program should be able to graduate in a reasonable number of years, and this is stopping this element. I do believe that APPIC should consider not allowing for-profit clinical psychology programs, particularly for-profit PsyD programs to participate in the match, at least in Phase I. In particular, I am not sure that they should be allowed to take APA accredited positions.


The number of applicants is not decreasing and the number of available slots is insufficient. The process is guaranteed to leave a large number of applicants without a match. The biggest complaint from a lot of people are the number of APA accredited sites available. Many of my peers don't want to "settle" on a non-accredited site and have to prove themselves for the rest of their careers. I am interested in working with the VA and have only chosen APA accredited sites for this purpose, which limited my options during clearinghouse last year. The simple solution would be to create and accredit more sites and have the programs reduce the number of students who apply each year. Sadly, APPIC and NMS have no control over these options. The imbalance affected me directly last year. I had planned to spend a year on internship while my wife finished her master's degree and we would meet up wherever to start our careers/family. When I didn't match, what followed was a year where I completed additional practica and worked on my dissertation while she worked to complete her degree. We were separated by 500 miles during this time. It was a major inconvenience for us both and it completely closed the option to my getting an internship closer to her. Had I matched last year we would be finishing everything up in May and starting our careers. Now she will finish school and go with me on internship and delay her own career by another year due to living in an unfamiliar city with a 1 year expiration date. I miss my wife and will be happy to be living with her again, but I feel guilty that she has to delay her career because of a process I have little control over.


There is a lot I could say about this, but I think that APA and the field in general needs to address the imbalance. The answer is not to increase the number of internship sites. That helps, of course, but realistically, the funding for internships is not unlimited, and money is not going to be pouring into our field, especially if we continue to fail to do some quality control. So, instead of complaining about there not being enough internship positions, we need to look back at where the problem begins, which I believe is that there are too many students, particularly because of professional schools. I am in a high-quality Psy.D. program, and we are at a disadvantage because of certain schools that put out 100+ internship applicants per year. They certainly have not received the close supervision and training that smaller programs do, and seem to be at an advantage because their program has a lot of money to put into marketing their trainees. This is a huge ethical issue, not only because of quality, but also that they are leading many students to go into debt that they will never be able to get out of. Personally, the imbalance has been very stressful for me, and it has really affected my classmates because some very qualified people ended up not matching just because of the numbers game.


The lack of APA accredited internship positions is a serious problem, but it has been compounded by the APA and Psy.D programs that are inundating the field with large numbers of students every year. Of course, the other main issue is the lack of funding for internship programs.


It has caused some worry for me and my cohort, because we knew there was a discrepancy. I think the most optimal solution is to limit class sizes in large programs, especially if they are programs that don't do a great job of matching high rates of students. I know this is a tricky situation with no clear answer...but making people get into lots of debt and not preparing them well enough for them to jump the final hoop to graduation is simply unfair.


The imbalance adds a significant amount of stress to the application process. Everyone, no matter what our qualifications, feels an immense amount of anxiety over whether they will match. I am at a top-ranked, APA accredited program, but we all know that we could end up without an internship despite everything we have done. I have watched gifted students struggle with career decisions because of this. While I ultimately was successful, I realize over 900 students were not. There is a need for quality mental health professionals, the more internships that are available, the sooner we can get people out there to treat those who need us.


Personally it makes me very anxious. Even though I did successfully match, I'm concerned for the future of the field. I'm also concerned about how the imbalance has effected the selection process for sites. I know for me I took some time to work so that I felt I could be a more competitive candidate, but I'm not sure if this was actually an advantage and it could have been viewed negatively.


It makes little sense to make applicants go through such a taxing process for a one-year appointment. I can understand its merit for MDs when they apply for residency and fellowship, both of which are multiple-year commitments. It would be extremely helpful if more programs have a built-in post-doc component, to make the process--including the interviews, the relocation etc.--worthwhile. In the end, my ranking decision was based more on considerations beyond the training program, such as geographic location and significant relationship.


I think that it is ridiculous that this educational system has allowed so many psychology doctoral programs to accept large numbers of students, who then add to an already insufficient internship pool. If APA is going to pass through various programs with inferior training, then they should ensure that everyone is able to finish their degree with an internship by having sufficient sites available. The emotional stress that this places on students is completely unhealthy and unfair. I feel that this whole system is extremely unfair to students who have spent large amounts of time, energy and money to complete a degree, only to be thwarted at the end by a broken system.


How has the internship imbalance affected my life? I have worried for the last year that I would not be able to move on with my career and my life for an extra year based solely on the imbalance. I have had to explain to confused family and friends that despite being "an excellent student," I may not get matched to a site because I am competing with other highly-qualified individuals. I have ended many sentences with "if I move, I hope." It made the year intensely stressful despite my feeling ready to go on internship. On match day, while I was so happy for myself, I was also very sad for the nearly 1,000 individuals who must have been crushed by their outcome. That is how the imbalance has impacted me, in brief.


Oh gosh... well, it certainly added to the stress of this year, if anything! I think that I overextended myself this year because of the imbalance. I worried that I would not match and would have to apply again. Waiting another year just seemed awful, although I'm sure it would have been fine. I probably applied to too many sites, attended too many interviews, and ranked too many programs. I am not sure if this affected others' likelihood of matching, but if it did, that makes me feel guilty. Also, it was really taxing on my physically and emotionally. At the same time, I kept reminding myself that 3 of my 4 top-ranking sites were ones I considered not applying to... so, ultimately, I was glad I applied to 17. There was one person in my program that did not match, and it was really shocking. I honestly thought she was the top candidate of the people who applied. She is wonderful both professionally and personally. When she did not match, it suggested to me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the system. I know that everything will work out for her in the end, but it still made me very sad, disappointed, and even disillusioned. I am not sure what can be done about this issue. I have heard people criticize programs that have expanded, particularly those that accept a full tuition from students. But, honestly, I don't know the facts well enough to point fingers.


I have always looked forward to the internship year as an opportunity to receive new training experiences in different settings while building on and refining the training received within my program. The internship requirement and the APPIC system allows applicants to seek out these opportunities and experiences. However, I feel as though the stress and anxiety involved in the long and drawn out process have negated the positive anticipatory feelings I had about finding an internship. Although I came out of this process with an internship, the entire process has been extremely stressful and demoralizing for me and my classmates. As students, we put so much time and effort into all that we do, and it is difficult to feel as though we have such limited control over what often feels like an arbitrary process. To be repeatedly rejected from sites is extremely difficult, especially when we feel as though we have heavily researched sites and become excited about the opportunities available. From the perspective of the training sites, I understand that it is difficult to determine which criteria will be used to select applicants. However, I feel as though applying for internship felt more like applying for a job, where employers are concerned about your experiences and what you will be able to contribute to their program as opposed to a training year where you are able to gain new experiences that may not have been available in our graduate programs. Overall, I feel that the internship application process is not exciting, as it should be, but is feared and dreaded. In addition, as much as we continue to work hard in our classes and practicum settings, I can't help but feel that the stress and anxiety produced by the internship process interferes with our functioning as students. It has also impacted the lives of those around me. For example, my mother chose not to inform me of a death in the family on match day due to her fear that it would only create more emotional distress for me. I was extremely upset when I found out and realized that my stress over the process seemed severe enough that my family felt they should shield me from such important news. Unfortunately, I do not have suggestions as to how the situation can be improved. I recognize that it is difficult for both applicants and sites. I do feel as though limiting the number of sites we can apply to may help the situation by reducing the costs for applicants and reducing the number of applications received by sites. Perhaps this would allow more time for careful consideration of each applicant's credentials. In addition, it is clear that more sites are needed to meet the discrepancy. It seems unfair that an internship is required in order to graduate, yet there aren't nearly enough sites to meet this need.


The imbalance has affected fellow students who are friends of mine. I live in a major metropolitan area and many fellow applicants in my program attempt to stay in the same geographic region so that they remain near spouses and children. However, there is a large imbalance, with many applicants and very few high quality internship positions in the city. Students should not be expected to move away from family members in order to obtain high-quality training in the field. This imbalance could be improved in my city by providing incentives for some institutions to create and fund internships and also limiting the number of students that some schools in the city send to internship each year.


Last year I did not match. That resulted in my having to spend a significant extra amount of money to continue to be enrolled in my graduate program (both to be eligible to apply for internships this year and to keep my student loans in deferment). It was extremely disappointing and painful; I am from an APA accredited program, I have plenty of clinical experience, publications, etc. I was a very good candidate. I applied nationally. I did everything I was supposed to do, and still did not match. For many people, not matching means delaying starting a family. It means another year of wondering about an uncertain future. It means another year of tuition. This imbalance is just unacceptable. Truly good clinicians & psychologists aren't matching. The match program is really independent of candidate quality. The barriers to the creation of new internship programs are unacceptably high (cost, paperwork, 2 year waiting period to even apply for APA accreditation). Interns in newly developed programs are also penalized, because even if the program is accredited at a later date, the intern is still not considered to have attended an accredited internship, rendering them ineligible for certain professional opportunities. Once the APA inserted itself into the licensure process and the realm of professional job opportunities, it assumed a responsibility to ensure adequate opportunities for new professionals to meet that requirement. APA has failed miserably, for a very long time, to the detriment of many young professionals. Solutions include reducing the barriers for new programs to obtain accreditation, particularly time, cost, and potentially paperwork. Change the rules such that interns attending newly developed programs will be considered to have attended an APA-accredited internship if that internship was accredited within 2 years of their having attended it. If there are not significant and immediate changes to APA accreditation process for internships, then I would fully support and endorse a call for removal of APA accreditation entirely. Strike the process and move to APPIC member only. As a graduate student, I am extremely tired of reading, each year, the statements that everyone is concerned about the match imbalance. There are clear steps that can and should be taken immediately to resolve this issue. Reduce the barriers for new programs to be APA-accredited: reduce the cost, reduce the time to accreditation, and eliminate the penalties for interns attending newly developed programs.


I think APA's inability to manage the supply of psychologists in training (through for-profit professional programs and etc) is really bringing down the overall quality of the psychologists who are out there. The high percentage of unmatched candidates is a salient symptom of a much larger problem and APA needs to regulate this. Several programs advertise "PhDs" to unqualified students who are then unable to match and then unable to use their skills towards the building of their career and as a result, are left with tons of loans. It is extremely unfair. Although I do not come from one of these professional programs and did match in Phase I, I am extremely disappointed that our primary governing body is unable to address these very important issues. The status and role of psychologists (as well as many individual lives) are being compromised at the expense of APA's inattention to this matter.


The imbalance creates such anxiety and stress prior to match for all of us then after match for those left without a spot. This anxiety causes tension between people who should be helping each other learn and succeed and creates a negative climate in our education. I feel that every qualified applicant deserves to be able to complete their education with an internship, if it is required. If there are not enough internships, it should not be a requirement of graduating and/or getting licensed.


I am completing my 6th year of graduate school and the idea that I might not have been matched was frightening to me. I have worked extremely hard and am ready to begin my internship. I'm sure there are very strong candidates that did not get matched and that experience would be awful!


I deem myself lucky to have matched at my first choice. Many of my colleagues and friends, who are very qualified, matched at their 8th or 9th choice or didnt match at all. I dont know how this process can feasibly be improved, but I think that recognition of the anxiety and distress this process causes to all involved is important.


This issue certainly creates a lot of stress for applicants in my experience. Just knowing that so many people are left unmatched is scary. I've thought a little bit about why I think this is an issue, and I think part of it is that graduate programs may be admitting too many people. It seems to me like this argument may not be looked at as closely as the opposite argument that there need to be more internship positions. I think another issue is that unmatched applicants from the previous year go up again, inflating the number of applicants. It might be beneficial to prevent people from registering for the match more than a certain number of times.


I think that it turns something that is a requirement into this incredibly intimidating, anxiety-provoking horserace. It makes something that you have to do to graduate nearly unattainable because the competition of the process is dramatically increased by the shortage. I think that if the shortage is to remain, there needs to be more discussion about what it takes to make it to internship for the 1st year predoctoral students.


I matched with my first choice and was happy with the process. However, I know of two very highly qualified students (from APA accredited Clinical PhD programs) that did not match. It seemed that there were several sites pulled spots due to funding which is a shame because of the number of quality unmatched candidates.


Last year I did not match despite being in an APA accredited program with above average hours and holding the highest GPA in my class. I can't attribute the lack of matching entirely to the imbalance between applicants and positions. However, I feel it played a significant role in the lack of success last year. There is a snowball effect that occurs with more people being unmatched the first time around because then more 6th and 7th year students are in the pool the next year. Thus, it adds to the competitiveness and reduces the success of students in their 4th or 5th year. Obviously sites would prefer an applicant who has already defended their dissertation & can focus all their resources on the internship. The imbalance is increasing site expectations of what they want in an intern, i.e. more & more hours & having everything completed. With the significant challenges of succeeding in graduate school to get to the internship stage, having this lack of success crushed my spirit. Having this process impact your enthusiasm, energy, & self-esteem hurts the field because it changes how we interact with the people we serve. Your self-esteem can take a beating during graduate school and this process really took it over the edge. Since I was assured of my competitiveness before applying (by several well trusted advisers) I was taken by surprise at the negative result. I felt desperate in scrambling to beef up my CV in a limited job market. It should not have been necessary to work myself in this way. Personally, it has interfered with my timeline for having children. I am in my 30s and wanted to complete internship, licensure, & possibly do a post-doc to enhance my skills before having a child. Now I am in the position of sacrificing my career goals for post-doc in order to satisfy my family goals. I delayed applying in my fourth year due to the competitiveness and not placing in my fifth year has been very detrimental in other ways. For instance, it delays paying back loans and entering the workforce to support oneself financially. I knew of the financial burden I was taking on in pursuit of my dreams to make a difference to others. I accepted these challenges wholeheartedly. I remained steadfast & worked despite several set-backs during the first 4 years of school. Not matching almost broke me in multiple ways. Had I known about finishing this late in my life I might've chosen to become a social worker instead. Between loans, managed care, influx of other professionals who serve a similar capacity for lower pay, the fact that new psychologists have to wait to finish even further detracts from the attractiveness of pursuing this profession. This shouldn't be how I am feeling during the end of graduate school. I should be feeling excited & proud of myself & eager to begin. Instead, I feel defeated. I am grateful for matching the second time around & being able to move forward but I don't think I'll ever be able to get past not having matched the first time. I also feel the added pressure from the imbalance likely increases people trying to make deals to get a spot and to lie about their qualifications & hours when applying. I always thought a person who works hard and pushes through challenges can meet their goals, but not matching has caused a tremendous amount of self-doubt.


It is unacceptable for there to be more applicants than positions available. This creates more stress for everyone involved.


Training programs that feed into the APPIC match must be better regulated. There must be some attempt to limit incoming class sizes based on faculty size. Flooding the pool of APPIC applicants, even with WELL-TRAINED graduate students, increases the probability that qualified applicants will not be matched.


The imbalance problem is fueled by APA’s inability to answer the question, “what does a doctorate in psychology mean today?” Moreover, effective answers to this question are muddied by the lack of clarification regarding PsyDs and PhDs, not to mention the lack of delineation between the subfields of clinical, counseling, school, and marriage & family therapy. This confusion has led to a watering-down of educational standards and rigor in many training programs. This is further intensified by unaddressed stereotype-threat vis-à-vis women and the sciences, as well as the field’s fear of engaging in elitism. This has opened the field to students who are eager to help others but unaccountable to the same level of academic and professional standards that have typically signified a doctorate degree…thus creating a subsequent glut of graduate student applicants with highly varying amounts of ability and knowledge. The internship imbalance is a symptom of the fact that our field is flooded with graduate students that are unprepared for and misinformed about doctorate-level academic and professional work. It’s time the APA had a very serious consensus about graduate acceptance rates, subfield and degree guidelines, and training models. The field of doctorate-level psychology is shifting dramatically, and the odds of being exclusively a therapist and hanging your shingle are declining. While it may be tempting to fight to the end to preserve this traditional role, it sadly limits our access to comprehensive training and care models. As the debate about healthcare in our country evolves, psychologists may have a real seat at the table, especially if we work to couch our profession in the context of integrated scientific, theoretical, behavioral, and interpersonal knowledge. However, with the current sloppy standards we have set out, it is no wonder a large number of consumers and health care providers view our field with doubt, if not enmity. This diminished respect for our field leads to limited funding for mental health care, thereby exacerbating the ability to grow the number of accredited internship positions. APA must also address head-on the notion that the “feminization” of psychology need not lead to a dumping of scientific and academic intensity. Personally, I am passionate about cultivating empathy and interpersonal understanding to the same degree that I am passionate about improving my quantitative/scientific understanding. I only wish that there were better professional and academic supports in place to elevate this dialectic throughout the field. It saddens me to no end to see my colleagues disparage quantitative/scientific understanding, although it is completely logical given how frequently women and people of color are excluded and/or discouraged from these circles of knowledge. Here’s what I would suggest: In addition to theoretical and experiential training, doctorate-level programs must emphasize a proficiency in scientific, statistical, neurobiological, and assessment methodologies as a way of enhancing direct patient/client care. As of now, in a large number of programs these methodologies are either a side note or presented with outdated approaches, to the extent that a disproportionate number of students are under-educated about the patient populations and disorders with which many of them may end up working. Moreover, lax standards allow these students to concentrate on reifying personal


The internship process has become extremely stressful for students. I believe it should not be a requirement for graduation since there are a shortage of positions.


It's not a fair situation. I also do not believe that training programs do an adequate job of informing prospective students of this situation and how it might impact whether or not they will be able to actually earn their degree. At the same time. However, I come from a highly respected scientist-practitioner training program in the Midwest, and after talking with other students from programs at peer institutions, I feel that the faculty in my program have done an insufficient job at guiding students through this process in general. For example, my advisor and other faculty members did not read my application materials and did not give me meaningful feedback on these items when I asked for (e.g., "It looks good."). I successfully matched and am pleased with my personal outcome, but for others in my program who did not, I think more faculty guidance would have led to better outcomes for them. We were left to figure this stuff out entirely on our own.


Yes. I applied last year and did not match. This year, I applied to several more sites then was "recommended" because I was so afraid to not match again. This year, I matched to an APA site that was my first choice and I am so grateful. At the same time, people I respect deeply as clinicians and as people did not match, a fact I find disturbing and disgusting. One way you could solve the discrepancy is to count CAPIC (California assoc-approved) sites as APPIC-member programs or even as APA-sites. My experience at my CAPIC internship has been an incredible learning experience and, besides, not having the funds to become accredited, is all that and more than I expected in a site. In addition, it is pretty impossible to live on the salaries available to interns, even at APA-accredited sites. While $20,000 is ten (10) times what I am making this year at my p/t internship, it is still not feasible to live on $20,000+/yr (not including moving costs) in Los Angeles without accruing even more debt. There needs to be more $ given back to these sites from APA and/or APPIC. Also, each site should supply medical insurance for goodness sakes! I also find it frustrating that not every site will look at students from PsyD programs or from professional programs. I am at a PsyD program and feel that it has been a wonderful introduction to a clinical psychology career. I wish that APA would encourage (through stipends or discounts or praise or something) sites to take an equal number of PsyD as other degree programs.


Yes, this imbalance has affected me personally. Despite having having a 4.0 GPA, more publications than most people in my program, attending a APA accredited program, having experiences in a variety of practicum sites and great letters of reference, I did not match. I felt so let down by the entire psychological community, as I am the first person in my family to attend college, let alone graduate school, and I had really believed that all my hard work would result in a match. Additionally, I spent all the savings I had managed to gather while in graduate school attending interviews, meaning I have had to go into debt simply to apply again. This has also caused great turmoil in my personal life and left me feeling more depressed and defeated than at any other point in time in my adult life. I feel as though the psychology community has completely neglected its own, those of us who have worked for nearly 10 years, gone into debt and put our lives on hold to become a part of this community are simply left out in the cold, despite having done everything right. This is not simply the poorest applicants being "trimmed" by not matching-- these are hard working people who have dedicated their life to a field that has not adapted.


It is difficult to go through so many years of school and know that there are others who have worked equally hard but that we can't all get an internship. It is unfair, costly, and ego-bruising. Perhaps internship should be made available only to those who plan on pursuing clinical work. I believe that institutions know that if they admitted fewer students the imbalance would subside - is there a way to encourage them to do so?


The imbalance has affected me and other students in the sense that we have all had to apply to a significant number of sites, costing time, money, and energy. I am not aware of the process that occurs in other fields (e.g. medical or law) with students finishing their training; but I would imagine that their clinicals or internships are more likely to be guaranteed. With us, this is certainly not the case.


As all the other applicants, I worked very hard in my doctoral program. In addition to the school classes I completed two external practicums, including 100 integrated assessment reports. However I did not match the first time. This second year I matched only to the 9th choice on my list which was not APA accredited site. This, of course, will negatively affect my future job options and licensing. I worked in Community mental health center for the last 5 years, and I interviewed in 6 community centers during this application process. Based on my expedrience, the community mental centers perform the same functions and provide similar opportunities to interns. I feel that it is unfair that interns who matched to APA accredited centers will have much better opportunities in future employment and licensure than those who matched to non-accredited centers, while they will have performed similar functions. Many of the community mental health center are very limited in funds, they provide services to financially disadvantaged population, and they simply do not have money to obtain APA accreditation, even though the training they provide to interns is excellent.


The imbalance between applicants and positions is the most stress-inducing aspect of the internship application process. Because doctoral students are required to complete an internship prior to graduation it is absurd that there are not nearly enough positions for the number of applicants. It feels unfair that many students will now have to take another year before graduating. The time and financial costs of taking another year in school are large. It is frustrating when competent and talented students are not able to obtain an internship. This deficit is an insurmountable problem in clinical training programs, and according to the match statistics it is getting worse each year. I believe a two-pronged solution is necessary. First, more incentives should be put in place for training sites that decide to begin an accredited internship program. Second, it is critical that scrutiny is given to the many APA accredited for-profit professional schools that accept dozens, if not hundreds, of doctoral students each year. These programs do not use rigorous enrollment practices and are, by and large, the cause of this imbalance. A cap on the number of students accepted into a single program should be put in place.


I would tell them that Psy.D. programs are flooding the system (even though I am in one). They are increasing enrollment at a speed that outpaces the increase in training sites; they are also lowering admission standards and undermining the respect we are working so hard to attain.




The imbalance makes the application process extremely stressful. I think I heard that programs with match rates of less than a certain percentage would be required to admit fewer students. I think that needs to happen. Also, I think sites could do a better job of explaining what their exclusion criteria are. For example, almost all sites say that prior experience with their particular population or setting is not necessary, but in my case I did not get any interviews at sites in which the population was entirely new to me. Researching sites, reading 50 page brochures, and writing detailed cover letters takes hours and hours. It's a waste of time for students to do that if, because of how competitive the match is, sites generally don't look at students without certain clinical experiences.


This year, I finally experienced both sides of the internship application process. I work in the clinical training office at my school, and have always assisted the applicants with questions. It is an entirely different process when I go through it myself. It is highly frustrating that there is such a large number of students who will not get internships this year when they have worked so hard to get this far. I feel that large programs should accept fewer students, simply for the sake of training quality.


I really like that you ask this, and it's very validating. I really worry about the demand greatly outweighing the supply of internship sites. While I do believe APA and CPA are trying to accredit more sites, it's not going fast enough and it's hard from an applicant's perspective to understand why, given that there are sites that are unaccredited that seem just like accredited sites. I do think applicants know to be flexible and not to be geographically restricted if they really want to match to an accredited site that specific year, but I also really appreciate that a stipend of about $20,000 does not encourage people to broaden their search. I think the other factor is that graduate institutions should be encouraged to be more responsible in how many applicants they admit into their programs. Generally, this would refer to Psy D and online programs. Sorry to get political but it doesn't seem like those students are happy with the system either.


The imbalance lies in that there are a huge number of PsyD students applying for internship every year. I spoke with PsyD students during interviews who indicated that upwards of 50 people applied for internship from their program this year. My program had 5 people apply. I worked very hard to get into graduate school, and it somehow cheapens my hard work and experience when PsyD students, who do not do research, understand science, and who essentially bought their degrees, are able to flood the profession and receive the same degree and recognition that I will have. There should be separate internship sites for PhD and PsyD students, and PsyD programs should be limited in the number of students they can accept and who can apply for internship in any given year. I think this would help even out this imbalance.


Because I was unsure if I would get an internship, I experienced what I would consider very high levels of anxiety for an extended period. I would obviously have preferred to know that my chances of matching somewhere were much higher. While I did match, the process was incredibly grueling.


This has affected me in a huge way. This was my 2nd time applying for an internship. As a very research oriented applicant with a focus on basic research, I found it difficult for me to find sites that were an ideal fit for me and my experiences. Going through this process twice has been extremely expensive (all together about $12,000), stressful, and time consuming. It has been one of the most chronically stressful periods of my life and made me question whether or not I really wanted to continue pursuing clinical psychology at all. I spent valuable time on this process that could have been spent in much more productive endeavors and I am somewhat bitter for that. I also feel that the interview process is somewhat unfair in not really picking up on the characteristics that would really reflect whether or not someone would excel on internship.


The match imbalance has not particularly affected me, except to make me slightly more nervous about matching and slightly more to proud to have matched in the end.


I now have to be at a NON-APA site, even though I ranked an APA site number one and others higher in my ranking that would have been similarly acceptable. I now am faced with changing my career goals since I will NEVER work at the VA, apply for certain post-doc positions, work in certain states or apply for jobs that require APA internships. I feel that this is much more an issue with APA accreditation processes and the high cost for many high caliber sites that simply cannot afford the cost for APA membership. However, I am very frustrated with the APPIC process and felt that I was given misinformation about how ranking occurs, which lead me to rank my choices in a certain order, leaving me to rank with my sixth choice. I am VERY displeased with the entire experience.


Yes. It seems like the number of hours is becoming more essential. I only had 2 interviews and some people in my program did not get any.



If I understand the stats correctly, one in four applicants will not get matched. Would it be possible for APPIC and/or APA to put pressure on graduate programs to accept fewer students for their future incoming cohorts? I'm sure grad programs would not be too pleased with such pressure, but if the above statistic remains consistent for each subsequent year, the surplus of applicants will continue to accumulate. Or could APA do more to entice institutions to create internship positions?


It is diffucult to make any sort of career plans without knowing if I will secure an APA internship. I am making a huge investment in a career field that I may not even be able to succeed in, given that failure to match with an APA internship greatly limits my options within the field. It seems cruel to me to ask participants to invest so much time and energy into a match process that may not even result in a match.