FAND Student Resources: DICAS Tips
By: Laura Rogers
As many senior DPD students feel the pressure of the first round of matching approaches, many are working on DICAS applications. Therefore, the Student Issues Committee feels it is necessary to feature a few tips in completing the application process.
HOW à DICAS requires three recommendation letters which consist of a nutrition knowledge ranking portion and a text box that allows the letter writer to copy and paste their written recommendation. It is essential to tell the individuals you have asked that they will be receiving an email from the DICAS system for the internship and possibly one for any grad schools applied to as well.
WHO à When it comes to recommendations for the internship, RDs are most commonly asked. Many students ask professors, but employer recommendations are also highly suggested. Make sure the individuals you request a recommendation from will be able to confidently write a letter that reflects your persona in a positive light.
WHEN à As with all aspects of the DICAS application, waiting until the last minute is unwise. Recommendation letters take a significant amount of thought and time. Waiting too long may result in a generic letter, or you may find that the individual does not have the time to complete one before the deadline.
Take advantage of writing resources
Universities have writing centers available to help students make adjustments to their work. Utilizing these resources for resumes, cover letters, and personal statements will significantly affect your application. Having a set of experienced eyes on your documents is an advantage you do not want to skip out on.
All internships can be found on the Academy website via the Accredited Internship Directory. After researching which program would be the right fit for you, they must be ranked in order of preference. Rankings are not set in stone in the DICAS system. Once placed, you have from March 21 to March 28 to reorder your rankings.
Read the fine print
Each internship program has varying requirements; taking note of what specifics they are looking for will make your application process much smoother. For example, some require the GRE while others do not, the deadline for applying to corresponding grad schools varies, ranges of desired GPA, areas of focus such as community or research, etc. Also, look at the program mission statement to pull from their desired specifics when writing personal statements.
Prepare for your interviews
The application is only half the battle during the matching process, and interviews are equally crucial. Getting a call for an interview is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Internship directors most definitely know when someone comes to an interview unprepared. Do not ‘wing-it’ for this make-it or break-it situation. Interview prep involves having answers and stories ready for multiple styles of questions, the ability to quantify your success, practicing with a friend, and utilizing University career centers. Also, recording yourself interviewing is a great way to get a better understanding of your strengths and areas in need of improvement.
While maintaining a respectable amount of professionalism is required, remember to let your personality shine through both your application and your interview. Internship directors want a student of a high caliber of education and capability but also need insight into who you are as a person.
Even though this application process is daunting, it is attainable. All of the hard work you have put in over the years as a student has to be compressed into one document, which will be sent out into the world to showcase your dedication, knowledge, achievements, and overall capability. This is an ever-growing field that has blossomed over time. You will get through this season quicker than you know, and the FAND student issues committee is here to help you along the way!