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Dietetic Internship - FAQs - College of Saint Elizabeth
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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What type of work experience(s) do you look for in an applicant?

All work shows the ability to be a good employee. Work in the field, especially in an acute care hospital or long term care setting, assists with success in supervised practice.

2. How do you evaluate undergraduate-related practicum experiences in the applicant review process?

We assume this is part of most undergrad experiences, and see it as part of your didactic preparation.

3. How are applicants selected for an interview? Is the interview completed in a group format?

All who meet the academic requirements (overall 3.2 GPA) and application guidelines are interviewed in a one-on-one setting. Interviews for applicants who are in school or live more than 2.5-3 hours away will be completed by phone. Also in the event of inclement weather, a phone interview will be used. Questions focus on getting to know you better – no testing is done. Dress professionally but expect a relaxed interview. Have a good sense of why you are interested in our program and bring your own questions too!

4. What type of volunteer experience(s) do you look for in an applicant?

Something that shows a commitment and interest in the field – or another specific cause and builds technology, professional and interpersonal skills.

5. What are my chances of getting an appointment if my GPA in less than 3.0?

In recent years, the competition is very stiff for an internship match. We are now requiring a 3.2 overall GPA for an applicant to be eligible for an interview. If an applicant has an overall GPA is less than 3.1, the applicant's file will be reviewed and eligibility for interview determined by faculty.

6. Is financial aid available?

You may contact financial aid for more information.

7. Are there any scholarships?

Foundation of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – apply during DI application process even though you do not know if you are matched.

8. Will I be able to work outside the Internship while completing the program?

During the M.S. coursework portion of the program, you will take courses online and may be able to manage working. The supervised practice portion of the program is very demanding and outside work is strongly discouraged for all interns. You must be a highly organized and focused student to manage working during supervised practice if you do choose to work. For those who plan to continue working, we recommend minimal hours on a weekend, evening hours are typically not possible.

9. How do your costs compare with other programs?

Our program costs are comparable to other internships at private colleges. The combined M.S./DI is a cost effective option to complete both an internship and Master's because the required 38 credits includes both. Things to consider when reviewing other programs – will financial aid be available? Are there additional costs for any graduate courses required, are all fees included in the costs? What faculty support does the program offer? Will the part time option be better for me? Am I considering all costs, living, transportation, medical insurance, etc.?

10. How are practice sites arranged for the student? Is the student involved in the placement process?

Clinical training is completed at one medical center with other interns in a cohort format with a CSE clinical faculty as the preceptor. This is seven weeks of the program and may require commuting longer than in other rotations depending on where the intern lives. For other rotations, the Director tries to place students within a reasonable commute from their residences, but sites are voluntary and may not be available each year. Consideration is given to typical NJ traffic patterns. The director's goal is to keep commuting to an average of 45 minutes each way. However, the range may be as little as 10 minutes to as much as 1 ½ - 2 hours in some rotations.

11. In addition to the supervised practice experience, how much supplemental work is involved on a weekly basis?

Plan to commute and work for a total of 10 hours a day and complete 15-20 hours of homework a week. It is a full schedule.

12. How are the interns evaluated in the program?

Self-evaluation and by preceptors and faculty. These evaluations take place after each unit and at several other times in the program. Students receive constant feedback on both supervised practice performance and homework. Faculty also evaluate the students for professional development and final competence.

13. How much support is given to the intern who needs additional practice time?

The program is competency based and it is always possible that some students will require extra assistance and/or do more practice time. The faculty also work with interns one-on-one if an issue is identified.

14. How well do your students do on the CDR Registration Exam?

Our five-year average, first-time pass rate is over 87%, and 100% passed within the first year. We have identified issues for our students who are not passing on the first try and have seen students who struggle with test anxiety, a relationship between pass rate and GPA, and a relationship between first-time pass rate and English as a second language. To improve our pass rate, we have implemented several program requirements such as increased computer based tests and unit pre-tests, a test-taking tips seminar, use of CDR review manual and recommendations to use the Conklin Academic Success Center as needed.

15. How easy is it for the interns to find employment upon completion of the program?

The demand for RDs continues to grow and our students generally find employment within a month or two of completing the program. Some may start in part-time or per diem positions to take time to study for the exam. Many are offered positions at practice sites where they have worked. Most begin in clinical, but some take positions in business and industry, community programs and in food service management. The director often receives job postings and passes them on to the graduates.

16. How many applicants do you get to your program?

We have seen a steady number of applicants in the 65-80 range in the last three years. The popularity of our unique program concentration, the faculty-to-student ratio and support as well as the demand for internships has contributed to these numbers.

17. What is your ranking process like?

Our Selection Committee includes the four faculty and six additional members. The members are alumni and/or preceptors and/or members of our Foods and Nutrition Advisory Board. The faculty narrows the applicant pool to about 60 for review of the Selection Committee. Each applicant receives a score based on GPA, work experience, interview, narrative, and recommendations.

18. What makes a successful CSE dietetic intern?

Interns are required to move to many different locations and work with many different people. Applicants who are intellectually curious, take initiative for learning, are detail oriented, proactive, and independent do well in the program. In addition, students who are flexible, sensitive to others and easy to work with find they get the most from the program.

19. Why should I consider a combined M.S. in Nutrition/Dietetic Internship Program?

In 2024, those wishing to sit for the RD/RDN exam will be required to have a Master's degree. Therefore, in your career, you are likely to be competing with those having a Master's degree.

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Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.

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