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What I’m Doing to Prepare for DICAS

Happy Match Month everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and that you are taking deep, deep breathes if you or a loved one have recently applied to DICAS.

For those of you not in the know or who aren’t aware, DICAS is the online application portal for dietetics students to apply for internships throughout the nation. It is a rigorous application that will determine if you get a dietetic internship, which is required to become an RDN. Graduating seniors or those who are reapplying submit their applications in early February and find out the first of April if they’ve “matched” to a dietetic internship.

Seem like a stressful March? Probably. I’ll let you know in 365 days when I apply 🙂 The only thing that I find comfort in is that I know I am doing everything in my power to make my application as strong as possible in order to be matched where I belong. I’ve made the practice personal statements and pasted the words, “match to a dietetic internship” on my vision board, but what else can I do?

Here are some of the ways I have come up with to strengthen my application now, so that I can rest easy next year.

Side note: if you are not doing what I’m doing, that does not mean you won’t get an internship. Every RD2B is different and that is not a bad thing. We all have different goals and therefore our application and where we are applying should look unique!

  • Work as a Dietary Aide
    • This was the #1 thing recommended by everyone I knew when I asked how to strengthen my DICAS application. It’s a great job for students and an amazing opportunity to get valuable experience in the field before you even graduate! I’ve heard from current dietetic interns that this experience really helps in your clinical rotations.
  • Start a Food Blog
    • Starting a blog is not only a great way to practice and hone your writing skills, It also gives you an outlet to share your new found nutrition knowledge on a level you are comfortable with. Starting Dorm Room Dietetics has given me a creative outlet to teach my peers to make the most of their mini-fridges.
  • Join different clubs and organizations to diversify yourself
    • Whether or not you plan on becoming an RDN who has to apply for an internship, clubs and organizations are a major part of the college experience. If you can’t find one you enjoy, create your own.
  • Take on leadership roles
    • I know for a fact this is an important part of the DICAS application, so get started now! Grow in your clubs and organizations and become an integral part of them.
  • Volunteer in your community
    • Volunteering is a critical part of preparing for your internship applications. You can find many opportunities on your campus, but I want to encourage you to branch out within your community and volunteer where you see the greatest need. I am from a food insecure region of Kentucky that lit my spark for community work and it has fulfilled me in so many ways.
  • Research and write papers related to your goal field
    • If you are interested in a graduate program, research studies would look great on your application! Many professors take on students to assist them with their research and publishing’s, if you are interested in one you should definitely look into it.
  • Get personal with your professors
    • Your application will require some letters of recommendation from any employers or professors you have, so it’s a good idea to get personal with them so that they know who you are when they consider writing you one! Quick tip: if there are some aspects of your life they might not know that you would want in your letter, set up a meeting with them, take them out for coffee or just write them a personal letter yourself.
  • Have a minor
    • This is a great way for students to set themselves apart and demonstrate their time management skills. I am minoring in Anthropology, which is the study of humans throughout all times and places they have existed! It’s stays incredibly interesting and diversifies my course load throughout each semester.
  • Research dietetic internships
    • Knowing what you should do to prepare to apply includes knowing where you want to apply! I was told that where you get matched is exactly where you were meant to be. Programs can last anywhere from a few months to two years, so research, research, research!
  • Talk to current RDN’s
    • RDN’s are a much better resource of finding ways to prepare for DICAS because they have already been successful at it. They are who you want to be, so ask them how they got where they are!
  • Utilize Linkedin connections
    • Don’t sleep on the different ways to use linkedin! If I can connect with someone in my dream program or goal field, I can learn from them! You can professionalize this account and use it to apply for different jobs now, that you may be able to put on your DICAS. It’s also like an instagram/twitter resume.

Thank you so much for checking out the blog! Come back soon to find more ways to make the most of your mini-fridge!

Allison Cook


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