Placement year is an exciting opportunity to explore your interest, career choices and to apply your knowledge to real-life. However, figuring out which placement to apply for and the application process can be daunting and stressful. Having been through this competitive process, I hope my experience in finding a psychology clinical placement and tips can help you gain some insights into choosing your favourite placement!
Support from university
Make sure you attend all the placement lectures. I find them extremely helpful with the application process. Talking to other placement students from other universities, I realise University of Bath has truly provided a significant amount of helpful guidance to support psychology placement students. It is definitely a privilege to learn how to write our CV, cover letter and interview techniques. Writing a concise and outstanding CV and building my linkedin profile has surely made my application more competitive.
After choosing the placements I want to apply to, I have booked one-to-one meetings with the psychology placement support team and the careers team. We discussed and fine-tuned my CV, using more active verbs, adding more details to my job role description etc. This helped me market my skills and experience more effectively. I have also joined the Psychology Drop In Sessions which guided me through the recruitment process.
One thing I found most helpful is the interview practice. I was able to practice frequently asked questions at clinical psychology interviews and was given constructive critical feedback. Remember to book them in early before it gets busy so you can ensure you have enough practice before your real interview!
Which placement to choose?
I mainly focused on the psychology placement options page on Moodle as there are plenty of options on there. In my opinion, it is nice to do a placement with an organisation who has worked with University of Bath so they are familiar with having a placement student. You can also read the reports done by previous bath placement student to gain more understanding towards role.
The first decision to make is the nature of your placement. I chose a clinical placement because I think it is more difficult to gain clinical experience than research experience after graduation. I am also interested in clinical psychology therefore I chose an NHS one.
The second decision is where would you like to do your placement. Would you like to go abroad? Would you like to be in more rural or city area? I chose to be in London as I believe there are more opportunities in this vibrant city and that there are so much to explore outside of my placement time as well.
With all these considerations, I created an excel sheet including all placement options I am interested in. The columns include titles such as “name of role”, “employer”, “location”, “commute time”, “disadvantages versus advantages”, “deadline” etc. This helped me to easily compare across placements. I carefully read through past reports and the employers’ website to ensure I am applying for the one I am most interested in.
Top tips for application
Remember not to under or over apply for placement. Be strategic with the sequence you apply since you have to accept the first offer you receive. After ranking the placements I am interested in, I tried to apply to the one I am most interested in first. Also remember that organisations take time to process all the application especially during the Christmas period. Be patient and do not panic too much if you have not heard back from them. When I was worried, I attended the placement drop-ins to discuss with placement officers about if I should apply for more.
A lot of the NHS and clinical placement begin their application process rather early (November). My top tip is to finalise your CV earlier and work through the cover letter as soon as possible so you would not have to be too stressed when the application deadline approaches.