There are different paths a nutrition major can take after they graduate. If the plan is to continue to be a RD they will have to complete a dietetic internship application. This is all done online in a program called DICAS (Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System). It is typically done in the fall during their senior year. I remember last year it was the most stressful time because the process was very tedious. I worked hard to get everything done in the fall while I was taking Nutritional Biochemistry and then continued working on my application over break and into the next quarter making final revisions. It requires a lot of time and persistence. It's much like applying for a graduate program so the writing has to be professional and grammar has to be on point.
DIETETIC INTERNSHIP CENTRALIZED APPLICATION SYSTEM
- Fill out personal information, club affiliation, extracurricular activities
- Enter work and volunteer work history
- Enter all dietetic courses and grade information individually (this took hours!)
- Submit all transcripts (from all colleges attended)
- Submit 3 references (2 from professors in the program and 1 from work, preferably nutrition related)
- Submit a general personal statement (this took days to write and two weeks to get feedback from professors I had review it)
- Submit professional resume
- Select which internship programs you want to apply to (each requires a custom personal statement)
DICAS required us to enter all the information of the colleges we attended, including any community colleges. I had to enter 2 universities and 1 community college because I had a hard time getting into my core science classes since there were budget cuts at my university. Then you have to add every single course that is required for your dietetics program individually (as in name, course info, grade, etc.).
For each program you apply to, you have to submit specific information to them as well. Most of them require a separate application, essay, and personal statement. So this means you won't be writing just one personal statement. Each internship will want to see why you have an interest in their program so you will have to customize each statement to their program.
DICAS will rank the programs you’re applying to, and then you’re only matched with 1 program. It is very common for applicants to not get matched their first time around. I think the statistics were 10-30% match rate. Out of ten applicants in my class only one student got an internship. Most of everyone else applied for an ISPP program.
I would suggest starting this in December, maybe even November because these getting transcripts and reference letters written takes time. Reference letters really do help - it's best when you have a good relationship with the professor prior to writing the letter so they write about your strengths and any extracurricular activities you've been apart of.
DICAS APPLICATION SCHEDULE
- December: DICAS opens up for applicants
- February 15: The application cycle ends, last day to submit any documents and references.
- April 12th "Match Day": The final day internship directors have to contact applicants who match with their internship. Spring Match Calendar
- September 25: The application cycle ends, last day to submit any documents and references.
- November 2th "Match Day" will be the final day internship directors have to contact applicants who match with their internship. Fall Match Calendar
The matching is done by a separate program D&D Digital. So this will require separate registration and additional fees.