Preparing for Dietetic Internship
As you are aware, at the completion of the baccalaureate degree, you may want to
apply for a dietetic internship as the next step to becoming a Registered Dietitian.
It is a competitive process. To help you in securing an internship, you need to
think about the following:
I. Your Academic Achievements
All internships look at the academic performance of the applicants. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.) application
form asks for cumulative and DPD (didactic program in dietetics) GPAs with separate
calculations for science, elective and other categories of coursework as well. Individual
programs may have different emphases in weighting GPA as part of their evaluation.
Some programs may have a minimum GPA requirement, but for most, 3.0 constitutes
an implied minimum.
II. Your Work Experience
Internship also look very closely at your work experience (paid or volunteer) as
part of the screening process. Work in the dietetics field, in a hospital setting,
is particularly valuable and we encourage students to gain this experience, particularly
in their junior and senior years. Other helpful work experiences can be found in
community nutrition settings such as the Dairy Council, Cooperative Extension and
WIC. Beyond these areas, a wide range of work activities will count to a lesser
III. Your Personal Attributes
A third factor that internships look for is evidence of leadership, work ethic,
responsibility, and maturity. These attributes may be reflected in your work experience,
but student leadership in the Student Nutrition Association or student government
are also valuable experience options.
IV. The Application Process
It is very important to begin to gather information about internship programs several
months in advance of the program deadline for receipt of the application. Many programs
have individual web sites and the A.N.D. web site, www.eatright.org,
may be helpful. Remember that the application process is a two-way exercise: you
need to make sure the internship meets your needs as well as your meeting the requirements
of the internship. You need to allow adequate time to do the following:
- Look at the current DEP Directory of Internships and the A.N.D. Directory of Internship
Programs available for reference in the Nutrition Department office (SFB 215). Karon
Felten is also available to answer questions. These two references will provide phone
numbers, email addresses and the names of contacts for the specific internship.
- The DEP binder contains more detailed information than the A.N.D. directory. From the
listing of current internship programs, you can select those of interest to you
and contact them for more detailed information and application materials. For a
small fee, A.N.D. also provides a floppy disk with the application materials that allows
you to fill out the forms using your computer. Look for things like length of the
program, number of interns they accept, special emphases and features, fees and
tuition or availability of stipend, total cost of the program and location of the
- When you receive the application materials, generate a final list. Most students
now apply to 4-6 programs, but remember that there is an online application for
each program and a non-refundable application
processing fee. The application packets will give you more information about the
programs and help you decide on your final choices.
At this point, it is also helpful to:
- call the internship director with some specific
questions about the program so you can learn as much as possible about the program
and make contact personally with the program;
- if at all possible, visit the program (call
ahead and make a specific appointment, don't just drop by), and/or
- visit with dietitians in the community who
interned at the programs you are interested in.
Deadlines for application according to the A.N.D. calendar are usually mid-February
for a summer start date and mid-September for a January start date.
All applications must be submitted by the DICAS centralized online application procedure
- Applicants will request a “Declaration of Intent” or "Verification Statement” from the DPD of the university that the applicant attends or attended. The DPD Director will complete online. The applicant will approve with an electronic signature. A hard copy of the final “Verification Statement” must be sent to the internship director after acceptance to the program.
- Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended for college credits will be sent to the centralized system. Hard copy of final transcripts must be sent to the internship director after acceptance to the program.
- Three Letters of recommendation (two faculty and one employer) will be submitted electronically through the DICAS centralized on-line application procedure. Selecting references is very important - be sure that you make the right choices.
- Match form - a form from D & D Digital is required. On this form, you will indicate your first, second, etc. choices for an internship. The forms can be are available online at
- A personal statement must be submitted online. Refer to the Application Process on what this should contain and how to submit it electronically. Ask someone whose opinion you respect and who will objectively comment to read it and make suggestions.
- After the initial applications are screened, an applicant may be asked for an interview,
either in person or by telephone. Be prepared, dress appropriately, think about
potential questions ahead of time. Get as much information as you can about the
interview in order to prepare.
- Selected applicants are notified of their acceptance through D& D Digital Matching Procedures.
- Above all, know the rules of the game. Successful applications involve much more
than GPA and work experience. Information, preparation and adequate time to do the
job are essential ingredients as well.
Page last updated: 2/25/2013