Applying for internship can be expensive, particularly for graduate students on a very tight budget. The average cost for the entire process was $1,812 in 2011, inclusive of application fees, attire, and travel. This cost can be expected to increase given APPIC’s fee increases this year (due to changes in their technology vendor):
|Applications #2-15 (each)||$10||$25|
|Applications #16-20 (each)||$25||$40|
|Applications #21-25 (each)||$35||$50|
The cost of applying goes up after the first 15 applications, which is meant to discourage you to applying to more sites than may be helpful (see Q. 12) in securing a match. For the average applicant, there will be natural limit on how many applications you can realistically personalize and how many interviews you can realistically attend. Our first tip, then, is to consider reducing the number of applications with your Director of Clinical Training’s help.
Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for the costs of getting an internship:
- Make small changes to your budget to save money over the next few months. Here’s an example: If you pack your lunch instead of buy lunch on campus, you could save $5/lunch or more. If you do that every weekday for a month, you could save as much as $100. Reducing a Starbucks habit could save you the same amount. Adjusting your cell phone plan to be consistent with your usage might also save you a lot over the long haul.
- Include internship application costs in your expenses for the year. In other words, anticipate these costs by budgeting them into how you allocate your savings, loans and/or stipend.
- Save on the interview suit. Everyone has their suit for interviews, typically navy blue or black, but there’s no reason to spend a bundle on it. Get one when prices drop, not at the last minute. If you’ve outgrown a suit, consider having a tailor resize your suit. Or borrow one from someone who already went through the gauntlet. Or better yet, do as Macklemore and get to a thiftshop!
- Consider your social network. When you interview, crashing at a friend’s place (or at a friend of a friend’s place) could save you as much as $150 per night. Some applicants have turned to Facebook for help in identifying viable couches to surf, or they’ve turned to sites like airbnb.com.
- Start saving your frequent flyer miles. Ask your loved ones to donate miles to help you get a ticket. If you’re a hair short of a free ticket, it may be cheaper to purchase the miles than a whole ticket.
- Look for discounts. APA offers discounts on rental cars and at least one hotel chain for APAGS members. Your credit cards may have discounts on plane tickets. Sites like kayak.com, priceline.com, and hotwire.com will comparison-shop flights, hotels, and cars so you don’t have to. Bundling these costs together may save you even more.
- Think creatively about travel. Create alerts for your home airport and cities that you might travel for interviews. If your school is in a more rural, expensive place to fly out of, consider spending the month of January in a place that is cheaper to travel from, or more central to your interviews. Book multi-city travel on one ticket, or compare the pros/cons of flying out of an airport that is less expensive.
- Consider driving if it’s not that far away.
- Know that renting a car could be cheaper than getting cabs in some destinations.
For general budgeting tools and videos, we suggest you check out this “Get Money Savvy” resource for graduate students. If you have other ideas, leave them in the comments!
This blog was co-written with Nabil El-Ghoroury.