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What We're Really Looking for in Application Essays

Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. John T. Carlsen, Psy. This means you need to make such a strong - andmemorable - impression that you stand out from your competition and make themwant to learn more about you in person, ideally by offering you an interview.

Without the benefit of first meeting you in person, they must rely exclusively on thepower of your written words.

Advice for students seeking summer research opportunities.

So, these words have to perform their task especially well. As a writer, you probably have your readers full attention for only thefirst few seconds - especially if they are plowing through something as daunting asa stack of internship applications. You thus cannot afford to squander this pricelessopportunity by filling your first few sentences with irrelevant junk.

Unfortunately, most applicants take the safe and boring route. Havingprocrastinated until the last possible minute, they have to scramble to fill the pagewith something, anything, just to make sure they get their applications into the mailbefore the deadlines. Make no mistake about it: If you startfeeling bored while writing your essays, I can almost guarantee that your selectioncommittees will want to head for the nearest couch within minutes of starting toread them.

That is the central theme of this essay: I want you to find a way ofengaging your readers immediately and holding on to their attention until you wantto let it go. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited. Take just a moment to pause and think: Notice your reaction to my use of"delicious" in that earlier paragraph.

The word - and its associations - are probablystill lingering in your mind. My using it could have caught you off guard a little bit. You might, even, have found yourself wondering where I got the audacity tosuggest using such a provocative word in the first place.

5 Simple Tips for Applying to Psychology Internships | Psychology Today

After all, who expects to readsomething "delicious" in an autobiographical essay about a training therapist? Actually, your autobiographical essay is probably the best place to make such astrong first impression on your readers. Think about it: Psychologists, by nature,are curious about people.

And, those on your selection committee are probablymost curious about what you believe is important enough to say about yourself. So, they are very likely to turn to this essay before reading any other parts of yourapplication. They can always look back at what you say about your training goalsand your previous experience. And, what better place is there to do that thank in yourautobiographical essay? As I said earlier, this is true primarily because of your audience -they are psychologists who are interested in what makes human beings tick andwhy. So, they will, naturally, want to know the same things about you.

Remember,they are not primarily historians or business executives who want you to trace thechronology of your work history or prove what you can do already. Rather, theyprobably want to know how you became who you are now and what makes you anappealing applicant and a good fit for their training programs. When I review applications, the autobiography is generally the first essay I read. As a clinical supervisor, I do not care where this person trained or went to school,at least, not initially.

I want to see who I am reading about and what this personbelieves about who he or she has become. Clinical psychology is a profession thatrelies heavily on using the Self as a therapeutic tool, so I want to see what that toolis made of internally and how I, as a supervisor, could work with this applicant todevelop it. More importantly, your personal story is one place where you face no realcompetition from other applicants. That is, while others might share similareducational backgrounds or training circumstances, no one has had - or beenshaped by - exactly the same experiences as you have.

So, this essay offers younumerous chances to highlight your distinctiveness with much less effort than youmight have to use in other parts of your application, where you might worry abouthaving as much practical experience as others have. Being provocative is exactly what Iintended. It caused you to finish this essay. So, was I right? Chapter 2: Develop a Strategic Mind SetNever underestimate the power of the prim acy and recency effects, probablytwo of the first concepts you learned in Psychology People tend to rememberthe first and last ideas they come across, better than anything else they read.

So,you will certainly want to put your strongest, most compelling ideas at thebeginning - and the end - of your writing. If I am right, I still have your attention So, you are likely to keep reading, at least until I answerwhatever questions still linger in your mind about what I meant. Of course, what Iwas referring to is the personal details that make you a real person to yourreaders, that will remind them of why they became psychologists who get to taste -and savor - the quirkiness of human beings every day in their work. Yet, asI said, the term intrigued you enough so that you have continued to pay attentionand tried to understand what I meant.

I certainly do not mean to play games with you or suggest that you do so withselection committees. I simply want to emphasize the point that you need to showyour real self in your essays, especially this one, and make a personal connectionwith your readers - not follow the academic writing practice of leaving yourself outof your writing as you would in articles or papers for your coursework.

And, youmust do it as soon as possible, to establish a strong personal tone.

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This approachwill engage and keep their attention as well as provide you with the freedom youneed to talk about yourself honestly. Some applicants worry a great deal about how personal they should get in theiressays. As I stated earlier, usually this question arises out of their discomfort with changing and challenging tradition: They have been taught to take themselves out of theirwriting, especially papers and essays they write for classes, ever since high schoolor college.

And, they are often held back by their advisors, who, themselves, havenot figured out a satisfactory answer to this question.

As a professional writer, I take a somewhat radical position on this issue asillustrated above. So, I challengeapplicants to say something provocative about themselves right from the beginning.

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They can always tone it down as their writing unfolds. On the other hand, someone involved in the throes of the coming out processwould have much more difficulty navigating these treacherous waters. And he or she needs to do so without overemphasizing them atthe expense of his or her clinical background and training. In other cases, it might actually reduce or eliminate them. Of course, itmakes sense to address some of these personal realities that will be obvious onceselection committees meet you in person, especially if they provide insight into howyou have developed more empathy for clients who share this personalcharacteristic.

For example, if you use a wheelchair, you might lose a wonderfulopportunity to describe how you view the world that might educate and enlightenyour readers while also providing a glimpse into your worldview. Ultimately, each writer must make this personal choice only after talking with avariety of people who know him or her well and are in positions where they canprovide meaningful guidance to the applicant about how to handle these issueswell. As you consider these choices, it is important to realize that you wouldprobably not be happy training at a place where you would constantly feeluncomfortable or unwelcome, regardless of the quality of their training orprofessional reputation.

Let me offer one word of caution about being more personal than you usually are inyour writing: Take your biggest risks while writing rough drafts. Then, ask avariety of people - professors, supervisors, professionals, family members - to giveyou feedback about what you have said in these drafts and help you filter outanything that crosses appropriate professional or personal boundaries.

Do notsimply take this suggestion as a ultimate truth and risk your future by goingoverboard in making your essay too personal. Ultimately, this is a question ofjudgment that you cannot afford to make in isolation from people who know youwell.

Advice for students seeking summer research opportunities.

Chart Your Own PathAt the same time, do not simply rely on the feedback of your supervisors oracademic advisors. Remember that they once applied for internship and might onlypass along their own fears and ambivalence about being too personal. So, areprobably no more comfortable taking risks than you are, and they might hold youback unnecessarily from using this very effective personal marketing strategy. Listen well and take what they say with a grain of salt.

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After all, this is your authentic presentationof who you are, so it needs most to fit your own priorities. In summary, take time to establish this solid foundation for your internshipapplications. Shift your focus from obsessing about what you do notknow or what skills you have not mastered to describing the fascinating personinside who wants to become a therapist.

You will wind up creating a theme thatyou can use throughout the rest of your essays and your cover letters. Use yourautobiographical essay to introduce yourself and connect more personally andemotionally with your readers. You will be amazed at how much it will free you upto integrate everything else you say about yourself in the rest of your applicationessays and your cover letter. Thebest way you can start working toward this goal is to think of something distinctiveto say about yourself as an applicant e.

And, Ipurposely evoked the controversial associations with the ethical questions aboutdoing therapy with my own family members. Yet, all the while, my readers got to enjoy the other provocative - andeven somewhat racy - connotations of my statement. Give them something tothink about and mull over as they get acquainted with you, preferably an imagethat captures who you are as a training therapist that distinguishes you from otherapplicants. Gradually, you can show them why you chose to say what you said andwhy you believe they needed to know it in considering you as a possible match fortheir training program. Please note that because of the backlog of applications there can be a considerable delay between your application and the start of your internship: Internships are almost never available at short notice.

Six to 12 months of waiting time are not unusual. We will keep your application on file even longer if you wish. Applicants may be undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate students, or they may have completed their studies. The specific requirements for a given position will depend on the needs of the programme or project seeking a candidate.

Only applications for active announcements will be considered. The United Nations International Computing Centre ICC has a limited number of places for final year or recently graduated students specialising in information technology. Eligible students are sponsored or encouraged by their institutes, during the course of their studies, to take time out in the industry to pursue their studies and interest in computing. Language: A good knowledge of English or French, and a working knowledge of the other is essential.

Qualifications: Candidates must be in full-time attendance of a relevant computing programme at university or advanced technical level at an educational establishment. Objective: Work carried out at ICC must be in compliance with the course followed.