Sitting down to begin the DICAS (Dietetic Internship Central Application Service) process can be challenging, overwhelming, and frustrating to say the least. Sifting through what you need for each program on top of writing personal statements, resume crafting, and staying mentally sane is a lot, especially for those trying to finish strong in their Didactic programs. A few Virginia Tech Dietetic Interns provide advice on some of their tips for completing the application and what they found to be most useful.
Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern Caroline Best:
- Start early and pick something to accomplish every week. Set a goal to do something like request your transcripts or fill in your contact information. When you open DICAS and see all the components it can feel a little overwhelming. Breaking the application up into smaller tasks makes it feel much more manageable.
- Use your support network. Applications can be stressful and are a good time to lean on the support of friends, family, mentors, and/or teachers. Have people you trust read over your personal statement. Ask a professor/mentor to review your resume. Take a break and get coffee with a friend. Remember that you have people who are there to support you through the process.
Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern Amanda Vega:
- Work smarter, not harder. Use the generic DICAS script that most internships use. Once you choose the places you want to apply to, tailor the original personal statement to meet the requirements of each internship. Editing one paper for each internship is easier than creating them all at once.
- Manage your time. You can start your DICAS application early without submitting or paying. Start by inputting all of your schools and classes once final grades are returned.
- Utilize your resources. Use your school breaks to complete your DICAS to-do list. Start backward from a date about 1-2 weeks before it’s due to complete it on time. Then split up the tasks evenly throughout the remaining breaks so you complete the process a little at a time.
Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern Shelley Palmer:
- Find your true homies. Find people you trust who will give you constructive feedback on your resume and personal statement.
- Making a list, checking it twice. Check, re-check, and triple check DICAS. Make sure your formatting is consistent (including bullet points, font type, and font size).
- Write down your accomplishments. Try to keep track of your work and volunteer experience with an excel document that will add up your hours, so you don’t have to go back and add everything later.
- Perseverance and persistence are key. Don’t give up! Many people don’t match on the first round. If you need to apply to second match and are financially able… do it!
Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern Emily Solis:
- Shine your YOU. Find what makes you, you. What stories have brought you to where you are today? What has fueled you or what have you experienced that may serve as gas to a good application? Find those situations, personal characteristics, or moments to add your unique flare.
- Quality over Quantity. As with most things in life, have a couple really amazing and great accomplishments or experiences is going to look much better than a long list of short stints. Commit your time to the things that matter most to you, stick with those things and share your experiences.
Good luck to all future applicants!