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Current Dietetic Internship Admission Criteria and Selection Processes: Results From an Electronic Survey of Directors

Published:August 20, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2022.08.126

      Abstract

      Background

      Members of the dietetics profession have been discussing and confronting the lack of diversity within the profession. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to diversity and inclusion efforts.

      Objective

      Our aim was to determine current admission criteria and practices used by Dietetic Internships (DIs) across the United States.

      Design

      This was a cross-sectional study using electronic survey with open and close-ended items conducted in the fall of 2020.

      Participants

      The electronic survey was distributed to 261 DI directors.
      Statistical analysis performed Descriptive statistics were calculated for each variable using SPSS software. Six topically related open-ended items were analyzed through a qualitative thematic approach.

      Results

      DI directors (n = 89) were primarily female (n = 76) and White (n = 77). Most admissions process and criteria decisions were made by committees. Directors (n = 79) reported using a predefined rubric/scoring system for candidate evaluation. Many (n = 60) indicated not using Graduate Record Examination scores. All reported considering Didactic Program in Dietetics’ grade point average; personal statement quality; professional interests and goals; and type and quantity of previous dietetics-related work and volunteer experience. The admission factors rated (on a 7-point scale) most important were quality of interview (mean = 6.03), Didactic Program in Dietetics’ grade point average (mean = 5.67), type of work and volunteer experience (mean = 5.62), quality of personal statement (mean = 5.5), recommender comments (mean = 5.41), and quantity of work and volunteer experience (mean = 5.40). Most (n = 80) indicated that they were satisfied with their selection processes.

      Conclusions

      Educators should continue refining admissions processes as professional gatekeepers, consider reducing application fees, diversifying and training selection committees, re-evaluating admission criteria, and assessing how criteria weights.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      E. Card is a graduate research assistant, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

      Biography

      S. Gunnell Bellini is an associate professor, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

      Biography

      D. P. Williams is an associate professor, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

      Biography

      E. Vaterlaus Patten is an associate professor, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.