Washington, DC area Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Clinical Psychology Externship Guidelines for 2021
For Externship Directors and for Students
The Greater Washington Area Directors of Clinical Training (GWADCT) helps coordinate the annual offers and acceptances of externship placements by clinical and counseling psychology graduate students. For the 2021 Externship Application Cycle, the Universal Acceptance Date (UAD) is Friday, March 12, 2021; students from our programs cannot accept an externship offer prior to 9:00 a.m. on that day.
In 2017, we developed a Universal Acceptance Date (UAD) for externship offers after surveying students and learning about pressures to accept an offer before completing their interviews. We also surveyed externship directors. The majority of students and externship directors were interested in exploring an improved match process, including one that did not necessitate a computerized match with fees. Since 2017, we have used the following process with adjustments each year.
Detailed guidelines that externship directors and students will adhere to are below:
1. We adhere to a Universal Acceptance Date (UAD) (not a Call Date) approach. Specifically, our students will not accept an externship offer until Friday, March 12, 2021, starting at 9:00 a.m.
2. Externship directors should make offers prior to UAD, at the latest by 9:00 a.m. one day prior to UAD; this will allow students ample time to consider their options and move the process along more quickly on UAD.
3. Students must decide on offers they receive after 9:00 a.m. on UAD within one hour up until 5:00 p.m. Students who receive an offer before UAD have until 9:59 a.m. on UAD to accept/decline the offer and inform the externship director as soon as possible. Externship directors cannot rescind an offer they made to a student prior to UAD or move to the next student on their list until after 10:00 a.m. on UAD. Externship offers made after 4:00 p.m. carry over to the next weekday at 10:00 a.m.
4. Students may decline externship offers or withdraw from consideration before UAD.
5. Students will hold only one offer at a time, and if they receive more than one offer prior to UAD, students will decline offers of their lower ranked externships as soon as possible.
6. Both externship directors and students do not attempt to elicit information from each other regarding their status or ranking prior to the UAD.
7. Externship directors should notify applicants that they are no longer under consideration at the earliest possible date in advance of UAD.
8. Verbal or email offers of externships and acceptances are considered binding between students and externship directors. Directors should not rescind offers and students should not rescind acceptances unless there is mutual agreement.
9. The university/school and the externship director should complete externship training contracts as early as possible after the acceptance of the offer.
10. Externships should not exceed 16 hours in a two-day block and should not require externs to take work home. We strongly encourage externship directors to not require meetings that extend an extern’s hours on-site beyond 16 hours. We suggest online meetings or other creative ways to address the need for group meetings that fall outside of the 16 hours.
11. Before or at the time of interviews, externship directors should inform students of required meeting times at the training facility (e.g., staff meeting every Thursday, 9-11 a.m.).
12. Individual face-to-face supervision should occur at least 25% of the time that externs spend in service-related activities (i.e., treatment, assessment, interviews, report-writing, case presentations, and consultations).
13. We require direct observations of externs’ service-related activities with clients at least once per semester to comply with APA’s Observation Standards. According to APA, “Direct observation includes in-person observation (e.g., in-room or one-way mirror observation of direct service contact), live simultaneous audio-video streaming, or audio or video recording. A training site that does not permit live observation, audio or video recording by policy is not a sufficiently unique circumstance to circumvent this requirement.”
14. We encourage stipends for externs.
Exceptions to the Universal Acceptance Date (UAD) include a) Sites that accept students from just one doctoral program; b) Sites that are outside of the Washington DC metro area; c) Sites that require a security clearance; d) Students who are continuing an externship from the previous year; e) One-day per week externships; f) Externships only offered once to a specific student; and g) Summer externships.
The GWADCT will communicate with one another about externship directors who do not comply with these guidelines with our students. Also, if a student does not comply, please inform that student’s Director or Associate Director of Clinical Training immediately. We recognize that there are rare circumstances that preclude an externship from following the Universal Acceptance Date; in such cases, please contact us collectively via email.