I submitted my DICAS application today!
I can’t even begin to express the relief. I had stressed about DICAS ever since entering the nutrition major. Actually, I stressed about it right up to the submission step, too. However, despite the stress that this application is determining your next life choice, the process can be quite smooth if you prepare ahead of time. By the time the DICAS portal opened at the beginning of the application time-frame, I had basically everything I needed to enter into the application completed already. The preparation I had done throughout the Fall semester had me more than ready to complete the application. Here’s how I prepared in the months leading up to the December application opening:
- Researched/narrowed down my choices for internships
- Reviewed what was required for each internship
- Keep in mind that some graduate internships require you to take the GRE. You will likely want to take this the summer before you apply to DICAS, as it can be tricky to schedule and may require a second attempt if your scores aren’t as high as you need them to be. I knew that I wanted a graduate dietetic internship, so I took my GRE in August of the year I applied.
- Usually, requirements for the internship can be found on the internship’s website or on the Applicant’s Guide to Supervised Practice (which can be found by Google-ing that exactly). The guide is actually super helpful in identifying how the internship ranks their applicants. This is a great way to determine what your chances of acceptance would be for the specific internship program. For example, if GPA is your strong point, you’ll want to find internships that rank their applicants based on GPA as first or second priority. Maybe you have a ton of community service – check for internships that rank community service as the most important aspect for applicant selection.
- Wrote the first draft of my personal statement
- Make it heart-felt! Show those programs why you chose nutrition and why it’s your passion! When I wrote mine, I answered each of the questions that are required in a separate paragraph, and pretended as if I was just talking to someone. What came from this tactic was a paper that I felt truly displayed my passion and who I was as a person.
- Had 4 different readers review my personal statement
- Each had different suggestions, so it’s helpful to get several perspectives on your paper.
- Revised my personal statement
- By the time I finished revising mine, I probably knew my personal statement by heart.
- Updated my resume
- Honestly, I hadn’t had a reason to update mine too much since high school. It needed a lot of work.
- Had 2 different readers review my resume
- This was a great help. Check to see if your college/university offers resume reviewers from Career Services.
- Made any necessary changes to my resume
- Completed a fake application
- Click here for the outline of the application. I went through and gathered information for each of the sections of the application. For example, in the honors/awards, I made a list and included a brief explanation of each and the date the award was given. This was extremely helpful at the time of entering information into the application, because I had it all already prepared!
- Figured out how to send transcripts
- This can sometimes be a sticky process, but luckily my university sends transcripts electronically, which made the process much faster. Keep in mind you have to pay for transcripts (ridiculous, right?).
- Asked professors for reference letters
- You may even want to start doing this earlier. I like to give them a good amount of time as a heads up so they don’t have to feel rushed to complete your reference. Remember, professors are busy, too!
- Revised the final draft to my personal statement and resume
- Determined how much money I would be spending
- Applying to many different internships can get expensive quickly. Make sure you know how much each application will cost. (Including some programs that have supplemental applications/fees).
- Asked my DPD director any final questions to clear up my confusion
- Your DPD director is a source of infinite knowledge about the application, and will be more than happy to help you through the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be your own self-advocate!
- Registered for DICAS
- Completed all sections of the application
- Registered for D&D Digital.
By this point, it was the week before Christmas, and I told myself I wouldn’t look at the application again until I had returned to campus for the Spring semester. By that point, I was able to look at the application with new eyes and pick out any grammatical mistakes I had made.
Also, if you have any questions about the application, don’t hesitate to contact DICAS help team. I asked a really confusing question and received a very quick, kind, and helpful response!
I revised the entire application probably a total of 10 times before submitting. But I was so thankful that I had prepared for the process ahead of time instead of waiting until January! Trust me, you will be thankful, too!
Wish me luck & good luck to all aspiring RD2Bes!