Before they can enter the field as professionals, clinical psychology doctoral students must face an intense year of training—an internship. The application process is grueling, the pressure immense. But for fourth-year Psy.D. students placed, the rewards are justifiable.
Regent University’s School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) students obtained an unprecedented 100-percent match rate from the National Matching Service (NMS), an organization that pairs students with internship programs.
“This is the best outcome, and it’s really an incredible statistic—much better than the national average of student match-ups,” says Dr. William Hathaway, dean of SPC. “I’m very happy for the students. It affirms how dedicated our faculty is, and it shows how well we’ve done in this context, particularly from a faith-based program.”
According to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), the forum through which students funneled their applications, the national average this year for Psy.D. programs matching internships was only 62 percent.
“Regent’s reputation is very strong—and this speaks to the caliber of the training program, the excellence of the faculty, the research and the scholarship,” says Dr. LaTrelle Jackson, associate professor for SPC and director of clinical training.
Jackson was pleased with the announcement regarding all 21 of the Psy.D. students she guided through the application process, but she was not entirely surprised by the results.
“I wanted a 100-percent match rate. People shared the mathematical improbabilities of this. They clarified it as optimism, but I considered it faith,” says Jackson. “These internship years are so pivotal in a person’s career. The mentoring relationships that form can last a lifetime.”
With this in mind, fourth-year Psy.D. student Kerry McGregor, made ample preparations.
She was invited to 16 interviews, 13 of which required travel across the United States on 23 different flights this January—touching down in California, Utah, Florida and Massachusetts.
“Your regular life is put on hold, but you still have to turn in your assignments,” says McGregor with a laugh. “It was a very crazy month, but it was all worth it.”
Her tenacity landed her a prestigious internship at her most desired site, Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital, where she will work with children from all over the world.
Although the journey was “anxiety-inducing,” McGregor believes it improved her ability to relate to others, reinforcing her empathy with future patients and molding her into a professional who strives for excellence.
“I think part of being a Christian is taking care of others, the way that psychologists do, and doing it with the best of our abilities,” she says. “We don’t just want to be simply adequate; we want to be the best.”