Tag Archives: graduate school

International Students & Internship: Thoughts from Training Directors

It’s that time of year again…the beginning of internship applications! This is certainly a stressful time in the life of many psychology graduate students, however, internship applications can be particularly tricky for international students who have additional residency and visa issues to navigate. The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students is excited to release the second video in our series on international students applying for internship. As a complement to our first video featuring international students navigating the internship process, this video highlights the perspectives of training directors. We interviewed five training directors to learn about their experiences with international students on internship.

Here are a couple key themes that came up across our interviews:

  • Institutional support can go a long way: Interviewees that had resources at their training site (i.e., international student services, an HR department familiar with international hiring processes, attorneys on staff) felt better able to navigate the visa process with their interns. By contrast, training directors at smaller sites without international hires, commented on feeling lost during the visa process in particular. For training directors in this position, there seemed to be a dearth of centralized resources available. Interviewees suggested the development of specific resources such as a “living document” with current information on the necessary steps for the internship match, that could be shared in CCTCP, and for the development of a liaison through APPIC.
  • International students benefit clients, staff, and the training site: All interviewees commented on the incredible value that international students can add to a training site. Training directors noted a number of skills, such as language abilities, specific cultural competencies, and the opportunity for other trainees and psychologists to learn from the diverse perspectives of the international student interns. Essentially, training directors reflected that once they were able to get their international interns up and running at their site, the benefits of bringing in an international applicant outweighed the difficulties of getting them in the door.

What are your thoughts? Do you have resources you want to share for training directors or international students navigating internship? We want to hear from you in the comments!

CARED Perspectives – Racism on our College Campuses: What can we do about it?

This blog post is a part of the series, “CARED Perspectives,” developed by the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Posts in this series will discuss current events and how these events relate to graduate students in psychology. If you are interested in contributing to the CARED Perspectives series, please contact Lincoln Hill.

Racism on our College Campuses: What can we do about it?

By Ryan C. Warner

Unfortunately, racial incidents often occur  frequently in today’s higher education institutions. Just recently in April 2018, a series of racial incidents transpired on the campus of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. A racist threat was found in a restroom on campus. A student dressed in blackface and wearing an offensive sign was seen at a local bar, and the word “nigger” was spelled out in stones at the DePauw Nature Park. During the same month, a Greek fraternity at Syracuse University in New York posted a six-minute video online showing a member saying an oath that included the statement: “I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for Niggers, Spics, and most importantly the (expletive) Kykes.”

Similar to the rest of society, colleges and universities are not immune to racial discrimination. With “Blackface” party incidents and “noose” hangings making news at numerous universities all over the country, racially underrepresented students face challenges beyond the academic scope of tests, papers, and projects.

As a current graduate student of color who has attended various predominantly white universities, I can attest to the fact that racial discrimination can be displayed covertly (e.g., microaggressions) or overtly. These incidences have a profound impact of an individual’s well-being, and can impact their retention and life satisfaction. But the main question is, “what can we do about it?”

At the individual level, we need to all stand up to racial injustice when it occurs. Silence is compliance and only encourages and enhances racial injustice in the world. Individuals of all backgrounds and skin colors should point out bigotry when they see it, which will ultimately create social awareness and bring light to these issues.

At the institutional level, university leaders should make systemic changes to enhance inclusivity for students of color. One example may include requiring that all students, faculty, and staff attend diversity training focusing on racial equality and inclusion. Additionally, ensuring that campuses have a bias incident report system in place can offer a resource for students to document their experiences of racial microaggressions, which may assist with providing evidence that these incidences do in fact exist. This documentation may be useful with further presenting evidence for the need of diversity resources and inclusivity programming.

It is also important that resources be available at a professional organization level. For instance, the American Psychological Association (APA) and other organizations have various divisions/resources that can assist with supporting graduate students (e.g., Committee for the Advancement of Racial & Ethnic Diversity, Division 45, AAPA, SIP, AMENA-Psy, ABPsi, NLPA, etc.). Conducting webinars and disseminating information to academic programs may assist with providing students helpful coping strategies to use when experiencing racial stress in their programs.

For additional resources please visit:

We want to hear what you think! Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

Other posts in this series:


The Graduate Student Guide to Getting Your S**t Together

MPj04440980000[1]This is it: the time when it seems like every professor, every research conference, every supervisor has come together to plot how to make these last few weeks a mad fury of papers, projects, sweat, and tears for us graduate students.

In the midst of this chaos, it is all too easy to let certain things – the less pressing papers, the cleanliness of our apartments, our mental well-being- slip by the wayside. In an effort to alleviate some of that relentless pressure, I present tips for the graduate student to keep their s**t together.

  • Make a to-do list and put everything on there. The most empowering to-do lists are those which are a combination of tasks you hope to get done (write that report, make that call) and those you will get done anyway unless some catastrophic event occurs (i.e., see that patient, go to that class). With a to-do list like this, you check off more things and get a better picture of how amazingly productive you are, and that can be all the fuel you need to get more of the things done.
  • Break down your bigger tasks. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a dissertation – when planning out your tasks don’t simply write in ‘dissertation’ but small, tangible goals that can be accomplished in 1-2 hour blocks (e.g., ‘write intro paragraph’; ‘find depression measure’; ‘draft Table 1’).
  • Five minutes can be a damn good start to some things. We all know what the hardest part of a task is…. Getting started. Whether it is the first draft of an abstract, writing a few emails, or starting the blog post you keep meaning to do, using small bouts of time productively can really add up.

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International Students and the Internship Process

International_Flags_GlobePsychology graduate students face unique struggles compared to graduate students in other fields, as we are expected to be self-reflective, engage in self-care, and also examine our ability to work with others while making sure that we dedicate most of our time to work. The balance often becomes a very tricky process to negotiate. International students in graduate psychology programs experience additional barriers in comparison to their domestic counterparts, as they have to navigate local and national policies, immigration requirements, paperwork, and experiences of discrimination, on top of academic requirements. Further, it is not unusual for international students to feel isolated, especially in smaller programs where the international student community is scarce. In addition to cultural adjustment and a possible language barrier, international students also have to plan a timeline carefully to ensure they are up to date on immigration documentation. One of the most stressful experiences for international students in clinical, counseling, and school psychology programs is applying for the clinical internship. International students face unique challenges in this process, including a reduced number of sites that accept individuals without US citizenship or permanent residency.

The following video focuses specifically on the internship application process for international students, and provides insights and advice from international students who have successfully navigated this process. APAGS and APAGS-CARED have developed this short video to help international students feel more comfortable applying to their doctoral internship.

Some international students that have been through this process have provided the following advice:

• Ensure that there is enough time to plan for documentation of legal status
• Be resilient
• Be persistent
• Find mentorship from other international students
• Develop a close relationship with DCTs (Directors of Clinical Training)

Please check out the video below of interviews with international students who successfully matched on internship. The video was developed through a collaboration of APAGS and APAGS-CARED, and was edited by Nathanael Castro.

Match Day 2018: The Forecast is Looking Good!

As your APAGS Chair, I wanted to reach you on one of the most important days of the year for the psychology training community. The 2018 Match Day is upon us, and the forecast is looking good for students. We continue to make advances toward resolving the internship crisis, and we are always excited to see students progressing in their training. For those that did not match, we continue to be your ally in this struggle, and aim to support you through our advocacy efforts to ensure everyone has access to the training opportunities they deserve.

Let’s Talk Data

Here is today’s APPIC data about applicants seeking a 2018 internship:

  • 3,779 applicants participated in the Match, of which 3,727 were from accredited programs. A smaller student pool is likely because APPIC is now using stricter accreditation requirements for doctoral programs that send students into the Match.
  • 3,163 applicants matched in Phase I: An 88% overall match rate.
  • 85% of applicants who matched got one of their top three choices.
  • This is the first time there were fewer applicants than internship positions available (i.e., 3,906 positions available), which is a promising trend for future internship cohorts. For the 432 students that remain unmatched, 457 APA/CPA-accredited internship positions remain open. 

Although many students are celebrating the opportunities that await them on internships, many today remain unmatched, and we hope that the number of APA/CPA-accredited sites available in Phase II provides ample opportunity to secure a quality training experience this summer. We also hope that the 184 students who did not submit a rank list or withdrew their applications for reasons related to site availability advocate for their best outcomes and fare well.

I know that the pains of not matching can be personally burdensome, and the uncertainty about the coming year can be equally as draining. Be reassured that, just as there are terrific training opportunities available in Phase II, there are many terrific applicants that sites will be ecstatic to recruit. I know many high-quality, well-trained colleagues who matched in Phase II to terrific training opportunities, and I wish you all the best of luck as you continue the application process for this cycle.

Change is on the Rise

The internship crisis has improved over the years, and many more stakeholders are beginning to call it an imbalance. In its advocacy efforts, the APAGS Committee is always mindful of the training opportunities available to students. In our 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, we aimed for an APA/CPA-accredited internship for every student from an APA/CPA-accredited program. We are close to reaching that goal.

My belief is that greater emphasis will need to be placed on specialty training opportunities in the coming years. The substantial increase in APA/CPA-accredited internships has helped to resolve the internship crisis, but many students miss out on specialty training opportunities when they match to sites that are not the best fit for their training goals. Certain fields such as school psychology have fewer APA/CPA-accredited programs. Although many sites offer neuropsychological training at the internship level, when applicants fail to match to a site with such training opportunities, they become less competitive when securing postdocs within that specialty. Rehabilitation, health, forensic, and more — specialty tracks and training opportunities at the internship level are becoming increasingly prevalent, and we as a field should be aware that the crisis is about both supply and fit.

Our Advocacy Efforts

For those in the student community concerned about advocacy, the APAGS Committee has been actively working with the internship crisis at the forefront of our minds. Our past advocacy efforts have pushed for a $3 million internship stimulus package approved by the APA Council of Representatives, which  has been highly successful in the development of new training sites. Medicaid reimbursement for internship services has also helped to secure funding for additional training sites. We also produced an informative video and resource page on the internship crisis to spread awareness of the impact that not matching has on the lives of students. The APAGS Committee continues to focus on graduate and internship training opportunities for our constituents. If you have any perspectives on additional advocacy efforts, we are always appreciative of your input. Contact your APAGS Committee officers for additional information. Further, if you would like to have a place at the table, we encourage all APAGS members to consider applying for positions on the APAGS Committee.  Students of all backgrounds, subfields, and interests are encouraged to apply. These positions are the most effective way to advocate for your student peers within APA, as we strive for the highest quality training experience for all psychology graduate students.


Justin E. Karr, M.Sc.

2018 APAGS Chair