How much work do I need to do on my own to find a site?
Students typically seek out the internship placement and then support is provided to assist in developing a formal agreement between the site and the university. See www.appic.org for a listing of sites.
What ideas do you have for matching sites to experiences that I want to gain?
Do lots of exploration on the web in terms of potential sites and do a lot of soul searching to clarify your own long-term goals. Explore areas of strengths and areas that you are in need of experience. Consider how these experiences will further your long-term goals.
APA approved vs. Not APA-approved?
A site that is designated as approved by the American Psychological Association is likely to provide a smoother route toward licensure as a psychologist compared to programs that are not approved. If you choose a site that is not endorsed by APA, then we strongly encourage you to talk with this site about how to set up the experience that may allow you to parallel the structures inherent in APA approved sites which may include requirements for face-to-face time, time for seminars/professional development, etc. See state licensure requirements for a greater understanding of these important factors to consider when setting up an internship site.
What are the requirements that we need to fulfill prior to applying for internships?
There are a number of important requirements that are necessary to complete prior to accepting an internship including having successfully completed your comprehensive examination. In addition, we strongly recommend that you complete your dissertation proposal meeting prior to accepting an internship. It is extremely difficult to work on your dissertation during the internship year and progress toward the completion of your dissertation prior to the internship will improve the likelihood of completing the program in five years.
What are some helpful interview techniques?
Be prepared. Know as much as you can about the site and staff prior to the interview.
Have a list of questions to ask.
Know your strengths and link your weaknesses to future goals.
Demonstrate good listening skills.
Meet with classmates and pose questions to each other; mock interviews
What are our greatest strengths as a program?
Some of the program strengths include the quality and quantity of our practicum work. In addition, many of our courses require service-learning activities, an emphasis on the larger context of children’s development, and a focus on indirect approaches to promoting children’s well-being and successful functioning.
Do you have any recommended sites?
We encourage you to seek out sites that other school psychology doctoral students have participated in previous years. It can be difficult and daunting to arrange a placement on your own and it generally works out better if a program is accredited or working toward accreditation from the American Psychological Association.
Advanced Practicum- Questions for Faculty
How did you decide on the type of internship experience you wanted?
One of the best ways is to engage in a self-assessment. Examine your progress towards meeting the competencies outlined by our program. Some students feel that they have not worked with certain ages or types of academic, social, emotional concerns. Others feel that they have not developed the breadth of knowledge they seek within a particular setting. Others seek to expand their role and functions from those experienced in previous practica. It really depends on what you see yourself doing with your degree. According to the Council of Directors of School Psychology Doctoral Level Internship Guidelines (1998) “the primary focus and purpose of the internship is to assure breadth and quality of training. It should provide an extension of education and supervised training from the university training program. It must include a range of activities such as consultation, intervention, supervision, and research that are designed to meet the health and psychological needs of the clients.” For additional information about these guidelines see the following web site (https://sites.google.com/site/cdspphome/cdspp-internship-guidelines)
What documents do I need to prepare in order to be ready to complete the application or prior to an interview?
Keep copies of your practicum logs. It also helps to have all of your reports in one location. The application requires you to indicate information about the types of clients that you have worked with and the types of techniques that you have utilized as a part of your training.
Was it difficult to find a site and if so, why?
It depends. The more flexibility that your life circumstances afford you, the greater breadth of potential sites that you may choose from. Students from our program have the skills and competencies to be successful in most child-focused settings. Potential supervisors when compared to students from counseling and clinical psychology often view the breadth of our training in assessment and consultation positively. Remember, if a site doesn't “want” you because you are from a school psychology program as opposed to having a counseling or clinical psych background, think about whether this placement really matches your professional interests.
Are there experiences that you wished you would have sought out in your 4th year that would have you prepared you to better compete for the internships you sought?
This really depends on the type of internship you want. If you would like a hospital or community mental health placement, however, it is pretty important to have some practicum exposure (i.e. a semester) to indicate your interest and knowledge of the types of activities that typically occur in these sites. If you don’t spend a semester, it will be important to indicate that you do have some minimal exposure to individual and group therapy.
How did you go about finding a site that matches your interests?
One of the best things to do is to talk with students have already been through this process. Another is to explore internship sites on the web. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Center (www.appic.org) provides a wonderful search engine to explore this topic. A Directory of Internships for Doctoral Students in School Psychology has also been developed and may be purchased for less than $20 by calling Penn State’s Graduate Program in School Psychology at 814-865-1881. Many training programs across the country also have links to learning more about internships and the process of obtaining one.
What is it that you would like to do upon graduation? How much of a link is there from this to the internship sites you considered?
Current students identified a number of post-graduate interests including a desire to work within the schools, work towards licensure as a psychologist, complete a postdoctoral fellowship, and seek a position as a school psychology trainer. There are a lot of different opportunities to explore with a doctoral degree in school psychology.
What do sites think of school psychology graduate students vs. students from other professional psychology disciplines?
The answer to this question typically depends on the site. Sites that have not traditionally accepted students from School Psychology Program are likely to perceive applications differently from those sites that previously have accepted students from the school psychology discipline.
How do you go about getting a site to agree to a 600-hour school-based experience or one that allows you to complete half the required hours in a school setting?
There appears to be a number of different ways to address this issue. The first would be to complete the school-based internship hours prior to the predoctoral internship; students are expected to accrue 600 school-based hours in their third year school-based internship (CEP 894K) so this should not be an issue. If you are looking for additional school-based experiences, you may consider a predoctoral internship that is located in the schools. Another way would be to work with existing sites to arrange for the completion of required hours within a school-based context.