That time of year is approaching fast. You may not be knee deep in internship apps yet but you definitely want to have them on your radar. I can only speak to how the process is here in Canada, and it is quite a complex one. I remember feeling almost defeated before I even began – like, ‘where, when and HOW do I even start?’
That’s what I’m here to chat with you about today! Everyone will approach the process differently so the best I can do is to share with you how I did it and let you take it from there. Let me walk you through month by month.
1. I decided what programs I was interested in
This will take you a lot longer than you think. Yes, I know Summer has passed (though I’m still in denial bc I’m totally not a pumpkin-spice, fall-loving kinda girl) – if you didn’t have a chance to thumb through the program list, don’t worry – maybe the only reason I did is because I had a wisdom teeth surgery that went TOTALLY wrong the summer before so I had a ton of time home in bed to do watch allll the Netflix and read allll the brochures.
Anyway, if you haven’t done so yet this is where I suggest you start. Don’t put pressure on yourself to decide right now – just let yourself be genuinely curious, and make note of the programs that really stand out to you. You still have time to check them out in more detail (and you will because you have to before applying), but it’s good to get a rough idea of what each one offers, so that’s your objective at this point in the game.
The reason this step is so important is that, here in Canada, you can only apply for 3 internships through Dietitians of Canada (DC)’s Match System. With regard to Masters/Internship combination programs, you can apply to as many of those as you want. Plus, some universities have their own private internship program that you can apply to in addition to the 3 through DC. *Make sure you get all the details from your institution because I can not speak on behalf of those I didn’t attend – they are all different*
Here is the list of your program options according to Dietitians of Canada: https://www.dietitians.ca/Become-a-Dietitian/Practicums/Internship-Routes.aspx
Each program will have a brochure or something similar that gives you an idea of what they offer – this is one of the first things you’ll be looking at to decide if you’re interested. Something else I did at this point was chatted with people who have completed those programs. It’s always great to hear about someone’s personal experience and have an honest colleague to ask your questions to. The problem was, at the time, I didn’t know a lot of people who had those experiences that I could turn to. The good news for you guys is that now I do! I know people who have completed or are currently in, many of the programs listed, and I would be more than happy to put you in touch with them to share their experiences. Feel free to reach out to me regarding any of these programs:
and of course, my program, Ryerson University: MHSc Nutrition Communication 😉
2. I went through the application package in detail and highlighted the f*$! out of it
The application package can be found here: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Program-Match-Documents/2019-Program-Match-Application-Package—September.aspx
It gives you all the details you need to know about how and when to apply to the programs and it will be your bible for this year. It’s hella long and kinda intimidating, so my advice is to rid of those unpleasant feelings by getting super familiar with it ASAP. When I started I highlighted the important details that were relevant to me, and I put some key dates in my calendar right away (missing either of these dates by even a minute will, like, ruin your life, so don’t mess around).
1. I got my references lined up
This can be a pretty daunting step but trust me when I say it will be of your benefit to get it done sooner rather than later. When you’ve locked in your professional and/or academic references you will feel a weight lift. Doing this early and going into the process feeling on track will make a world of difference for you. That being said, you also want to give yourself time to find another reference if yours can’t do it for some reason.
You probably have a bunch of questions about this step so I highly recommend you check out my blog post about choosing your reference here and then take a peak at my follow up advice in ‘Holding Your Reference’s Hand’ Part One and Two.
2. I completed the OUAC application and paid the fees
OUAC stands for Ontario Universities’ Application Centre and you’ll need to go through this step only if you’re applying to a Masters program in Ontario. I did, so this step kicked my butt in gear early, because it was due WAY before anything for DC was due.
Sadly, I know people who were intending to apply to ON programs but weren’t able to because they overlooked this early deadline.
At the time it was in November, but as always, make sure you check on this date yourself because it could change from year to year.
They were asking for pretty basic information when I did it (contact info and such), but they also wanted to know who your references were going to be, so again, you’re going to need to get that ball rolling.
ALSO, they require a payment (when I applied it was ~$100) so you need to be prepared to spit that out early too.
I worked tirelessly on applications
December was the most stressful month for me, and, shamefully, I did work on applications on Christmas Day. Crazy hey? My advice is to avoid that as best you can, but as mentioned in a previous blog post, I got a little obsessive.
I made a list of all the pieces of applications that I needed to complete (because each piece, ex: resume, is different for each program, and I applied to 6 programs so…. yeah). Then I prioritized that list.
What was due first? What did I really want to get off my plate?
Personally, I always jump into the most challenging pieces first, because they take me the longest, so I want to allow ample time for them. Plus, getting them out of the way early saves me the anxiety of thinking about them later.
AGAIN – Make note of the dates. The deadline for having everything uploaded to DC is in January and it is so strict it’s literally down to the minute.
This is a whole other can of worms, of course, so be sure to check out my interviewing advice in these previous posts:
I relaxed, I BREATHED, I celebrated ME.
Yep, before even hearing back from any programs, I celebrated. Why? Because I freakin’ survived!! I got through the hardest, most exhausting and demanding process I’ve ever been through!
I put my ALL into the process, did my very best, and that is something to be proud of regardless of the outcome – check out my previous post about that here.
I really recommend turning your self-care dial-up to MAX this month – you deserve it.
So there you go guys, a little rough map of how I navigated the process. Again, if I can answer any of your questions or ease any of your stresses, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find me on facebook here, insta here or LinkedIn here.
Hope to hear from you soon.
**Please Note: If any of the above information is inconsistent with that provided by Dietitians of Canada (DC) or program coordinators, please side with the latter.
The purpose of this blog is to share personal experiences and the writers have no affiliation with DC or internship program coordinators.