Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Fall 2022

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Is it true you offer two concentration areas of your internship?

It is true! The University of Minnesota Dietetic Internship (U of M DI) Program has two concentrations. We have an eating disorders concentration in affiliation with The Emily Program (referred to as our ED-TEP concentration). In addition, we have a medical nutrition therapy (MNT) concentration in affiliation with Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Health.

When does the next class of interns begin?

The DI program year for the Class of 2024 will begin on Monday, September 11, 2023, with graduation on *May 23, 2024.

*Exact date subject to change

What is your program’s one-year pass rate for the RDN exam?

From our most recent reports for the Class of 2021, we currently have a one-year pass rate of 100%.

How will this internship prepare me for taking the RD exam?

  • Unique and hands-on experiences in practice settings
  • Class days covering various topics included on the exam in great depth.
  • RD exam prep resources and practice exams

What is a “typical day” like during the internship?

  • No two days are alike. Interns will be at a variety of sites with different preceptors throughout the program, offering each intern the opportunity to have a multitude of experiences. The internship program is full-time, 37 weeks in duration, with interns working approximately 40 hours each week. Scheduling for each day will vary depending on the site and rotation assigned.
  • On any given day, you could be writing patient chart notes, planning a theme meal with hospital nutrition services, or making educational materials for the players of a professional athletic team.

How do you measure intern progress?

Progress is measured by preceptor and intern feedback, intern performance evaluations, self-evaluations and internship leadership feedback. Frequent opportunities to meet with program leadership exist. Interns will also provide peer evaluations/feedback for each other. Additionally, the program leadership is always available for concerns, questions, and guidance.

How do interns get to and from rotations?

Interns are responsible for providing their own transportation. It is recommended that you have a car as some rotations are farther away than others. For some rotations you may be able to use public transportation.

Is there a class day for interns?

Yes, and it is a favorite among interns! Class days are generally the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Guest speakers and intern-led case studies are examples of presentations included during class days. Class day also allows interns to connect with one another to provide support and share experiences, stories, and insights.

What does a typical day of class look like?

Classes vary, but typically guest speakers are invited to present on a subject in nutrition that is foundational to the field, such as physical assessments or motivational interviewing, or more specific areas of nutrition, such as solid organ transplants or nutrition support. Other possible class topics include case study presentations by interns, RD exam preparation, and career preparation workshops. The classes are designed to give interns new insights and perspectives on the field of nutrition as well as prepare them for their future careers as dietitians.

How much do interns work with each other during the internship?

Interns will work independently during the majority of rotations; several allow for collaboration with other interns.

Can I obtain financial aid for this internship?

  • Although seated within the University of Minnesota, this program is not certified by the U.S. Department of Education for eligibility for Title IV student financial aid because it does not carry academic credit.
  • Interns may be able to defer repayment of existing student loans. If necessary, a letter stating your placement in the dietetic internship program can be provided; please contact the program leadership if needed.

Can you take out a loan for the internship?

  • This internship does not carry academic credit, so it is not eligible for the national student loan program. Few, if any, banks offer personal loans for education purposes outside of the student loan system. 
  • This is true for many dietetic internship programs. We find that interns may benefit from taking a year to gain experience and save money by working full time in a position closely related to dietetics practice, before starting their internship year. 
  • Loan deferment: Interns have been successful in obtaining forbearance for current loans by using the "Medical or Dental Internship/Residency Forbearance Request" (Form # 1845-0018). Speak with your individual loan servicer who should provide the paperwork. This allows loan payments to be deferred until program completion (no interest is collected during this time for such deferment).  Federal forms may change, so be sure to clarify if this form is still the one to use in successive years. It takes about 21 days to go through once submitted.
  • We offer payment plans of 1, 2, 4, or 6 payments in order to break the total cost into smaller payments.  Interns have been glad to have these options.

Do you survey current interns and graduates of your program on their approval rating of this internship?

Our program continually evolves. We are committed to program reviews, modifications, enrichment, and growth! Included in this process, program evaluations are completed by interns throughout the program year and upon graduation, and one-year later. Additionally, we survey employers of graduates to seek any additional areas for program changes. Furthermore, feedback regarding the DI is also elicited from preceptors and both internal and external constituents.

For the Spring Computer-Match, how many people applied to both concentrations last year and the previous year in comparison to how many got accepted?

  • Spring 2022:
    • For the computer-match process, we had 45 applicants for the 5 available ED-TEP open seats; the other 5 of the final 10 seats had been filled by U of MN graduate students during the preselect process.
    • We received 36 applications for the remaining 4 MNT open seats; 6 of the final 10 seats had been filled by U of MN students or graduates during the preselect process.
  • The year prior, we had 52 computer-match applicants for the ED-TEP concentration and 34 for the MNT concentration. We filled 10 intern positions for each concentration.

I graduated more than a year ago and don't have recent interactions with professors for an up-to-date letter of rec. Should I ask my career mentors/supervisors for the 2 letters?

Yes, you may opt to ask those who know your professional characteristics best and can highlight your demonstrated skills.

Admission requirements state minimum cumulative and DPD GPAs of 3.0 preferred. Does this mean that anyone under a 3.0 will not be considered?

We encourage all those interested in our program to apply. We do not automatically disqualify applicants based on GPA alone. While we do consider GPA an important aspect, we pay attention to its various facets (i.e. trends, improvement of grades through academic career, and courses taken beyond didactic requirements). We also like to see balance outside of academics, too. This is why we review each category represented within the application, and look closely at your personal statement as well. We aim to seek well-rounded individuals, with excellent communication skills, flexibility, adaptability, and a positive-can-do attitude.

How can I be a more competitive applicant?

Gain relevant experience as an employee, intern, or volunteer. There are opportunities in clinical, community, research, and food service settings! These experiences will also help you find your interests and strengths in the field of nutrition. Also, write a strong personal statement to showcase your personality.

What makes a personal statement stand out?

Be genuine and highlight your passions and strengths. This is your opportunity to show who you are and describe what motivates you. Beyond what is on your resume and transcript, we want to get to know you. Work towards a personal statement that is a strong and accurate representation of who you are as an individual. Also, use the resources available to you! Many universities have career and internship services or writing centers that can help with your personal statement.

What does program orientation look like?

Orientation is led by U of M DI Leadership and The Emily Program and M Health Fairview Coordinators, and includes:

  • Onboarding (training modules, security clearance, fingerprinting, photos for ID badges) and administration details
  • Review of program materials and activities
  • Providing rotation and class schedules!

What kinds of projects or assignments will I complete during this internship?

Prior to rotations, you will complete preparation designed to familiarize yourself with experiences and situations you will encounter in that setting. Each intern will complete a patient/client case study from within their concentration area, create educational materials, conduct a theme meal, and other enriching experiences within rotations. During the internship, you will also create a career portfolio to highlight some of these assignments and projects that you can then utilize in your resume or show potential employers.

Where are past interns working now?

Just a few examples from recent years:

  • The Emily Program in MN and WA, as well as other Eating Disorders facilities in Denver, Texas, and California
  • Private practice startup in Boston and Hawaii, with a focus on ED awareness and treatment
  • M Health Fairview throughout the various metro locations and practice areas (Med/Surg, Cardiac, Pediatrics, ICU, Relief or Casual, and Food Service Management)
  • Medical centers in Washington, San Diego and Honolulu
  • College and Professional Sports Programs
  • Foodservice Director in a Chicago facility

How does the University of Minnesota support interns during rotations?

In addition to classes twice a month, interns will have the support of program leadership, fellow interns, and either their MNT or ED-TEP Coordinator for their respective concentration rotation experiences. Program leadership is available for any questions or concerns. You will meet your fellow interns during orientation and interns will often create a group chat or connect via a shared app. Concentration-specific Coordinators are also available for any concentration/site specific questions.

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Will rotations be in person or virtual?

Most rotations have returned to in-person experiences, with some keeping telehealth and/or remote options as part of their programming or organization.

Will I receive training for personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID precautions?

Yes! We want everyone to be as safe as possible. During orientation, you will receive PPE training, which includes proper donning and doffing techniques, and a completion certificate from the University of Minnesota Office of Academic and Clinical Affairs (M Simulation Center). Additionally, you will learn more about hospital specific COVID precautions prior to your clinical rotations.

What might a remote rotation experience look like?

If a rotation is done remotely (either all or components of it), you will be in communication with your assigned preceptor and given opportunities to complete relevant projects and/or presentations remotely. You may also be invited to participate in team meetings and telehealth sessions.

Will I learn to use telehealth to meet with patients?

Outpatient programs may continue to utilize telehealth as an option to meet with their patients/clients. If so, you will be invited to join these telehealth sessions and learn from your preceptors about how to best adapt and deliver services in this format.

What happens if I have to quarantine, will I still be able to complete the internship?

If you are unable to attend rotations in-person due to a potential exposure, we will work with you to determine your options. Alternate practice experiences, such as case studies, may be offered. We have systems in place to monitor progress and competencies achieved to ensure opportunities are available to meet program requirements.

two interns standing in front of event theme menu
intern with preceptors in healthcare office
intern and chefs standing in front of food service line
interns watching food sample being evaluated
interns sitting together in front of powerpoint display