Dietetic Internship Preparation
Successfully securing a dietetic internship upon graduation begins long before a student’s senior year. Although selection criteria vary among dietetic internship programs, common characteristics of applicants who receive appointments include:
- A cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher (typically 3.4 or higher is recommended).
- A 3.2 GPA or higher in all Food Science and Nutrition courses.
- A 3.2 GPA or higher in all science and social science courses.
- A variety of quality paid and volunteer work experiences (at least 200 hours) that begins early in college. Consistent participation in a small number of experiences over many weeks, months, and years is valued more highly than sporadic participation in multiple varied experiences.
- Strong letters of recommendation, including one from a program faculty member and one from a registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist.
- Willingness to relocate.
- Leadership in campus, community, and professional organizations.
How can I improve my chances of securing a Dietetic Internship appointment?
- Investigate dietetic internships early to identify the specific admission criteria. For more information on specific dietetic internship programs, visit Accredited Dietetic Internship Program information on ACEND®'s website at http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485424.
- Maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher (typically 3.4 or higher is recommended).
- Join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) as a student member and attend state and district association meetings. The AND is the national professional organization for food and nutrition professionals, including RDs and RDNs. AND membership includes affiliate membership in the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SCAND). Only students who are members of AND and SCAND are eligible for national and state AND scholarships and awards! Student membership is only $58 per year. To learn more, visit: http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/membership/membership-types-and-criteria/student-member.
- Join and actively participate in the Clemson Human Nutrition Club.
- Participate in activities that demonstrate leadership – college/university clubs, sports, community service projects, organizations, etc.
- Obtain dietetics related work and/or volunteer experience to learn about the dietetics field. Students are encouraged to seek quality experiences in each of the three areas of dietetics practice: clinical, community, and food service.
- Clinical – shadow and work with dietitians where they are employed in hospitals, physician offices, dialysis centers, diabetes self-management programs, weight management clinics and programs, pediatric clinics; consider clinical dietetics externship experiences at local healthcare systems.
- Foodservice – K-12, college, restaurant, camp, long-term care, etc.
- Community outreach and/or nutrition programs – free clinics, soup kitchens, food pantries, food banks, farmer’s markets, community garden and gleaning programs, child and adult nutrition education cooking programs, school foodservice and summer feeding programs, etc.
- Other nutrition- and healthcare-related paid and volunteer experiences.
- Get to know the Food Science and Human Nutrition faculty through office hours, club activities, creative inquiry, so they know you well enough to address your assets in letters of recommendation.
- Apply to more than one dietetic internship program – it is recommended that students apply to 3-5 programs.
- Apply to dietetic internship programs outside of South Carolina – be willing to relocate to less competitive internship programs.