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Where should an undergraduate psychology student look for an internship/job experience?

I would like to become a sports psychologist and work with collegiate athletes. In order to accomplish this, I need to earn a master's and doctorate degree. I'm not sure where to start with work experience though.

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Riley !

There are a few bits of information that I would like to discuss first and also I would like to congratulate you on knowing what career you'd like to have. Are you already in college or in high school ? An internship or employment will need to fit into your school schedule. I will assume that you have not enrolled in college yet because if you are already in a psych program, you would know that various projects and field work will be coming your way and you may not need to get a job or internship just yet.

To work with athletes as a Psychologist, specifically college athletes, is very admirable but very narrowing for your career. Not being in a major city will further limit your ability to serve patients, too. You will become a Psychologist and working with athletes will only be a small portion of what you will be able to do. Psychologist is the career and collegiate athletes are the patients, and you can always get extra training for a special segment of population, but you will earn your PhD knowing how to serve a wide range of people as a psychologist. You will be having projects and field work perhaps or residency and to be a psychologist, you'll have to be able to work with children, adults, the elderly, various physical and mental health illnesses and disabilities, all ethnic groups, ages and situations. Not just athletes. Most therapeutic counseling is done by clinical social workers, but psychologists do some too. When you embark on becoming a psychologist, it is with intention that most of your patients will have severe, chronic mental illness or a developmental disorder. I am not so sure how many athlete patients there would be. Pursue what you think is best, however.

It may be best to begin employment on campus through a work study job at which you could work in the Psychology Department. Apply for Work Study the next time you apply for financial aid. Another suggestion that I have is to seek a part time job or volunteer work at a social service agency. Get an idea of the jobs for that here https://www.indeed.com/q-Social-Services-l-Manhattan,-KS-jobs.html?vjk=666a089892e0729d and read the requirements and if you do not meet the qualifications, think about volunteer work at this time. Here is a list of the social service agencies in Manhattan, Kansas https://www.yellowpages.com/manhattan-ks/social-service-organizations Some of them aren't connected to mental health, but it is a complete list of what is in your area.

If it is situational counseling that you want to try, not therapy or diagnostic testing, visit your Career Center on campus or a Psychology Teacher if you are in high school and see if you can be a volunteer peer counselor. Keep in mind that you can't order what type of clients you want. You'll have to be flexible and interested in serving whomever needs your service.

To get a heads up on the Athlete Psychological Strain Questionnaire if you're not already familiar with it, here is the form https://drsimonrice.com/apsq/. At some point in your undergraduate or post grad studies it may be useful to you. I have also left the link below to the International Society of Sport Psychology so you can refer to it for information as you go along. I would also advise checking with your college about courses in the Physical Education department and the Psychology department for courses in Sport Psychology. If they do not offer them, ask your Psych department if it is covered in any other psych course.

I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

WHAT SPORTS PSYCHOLOGISTS DO https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-sports-psychology-2794906
THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF SPORT PSYCHOLOGY https://issponline.org/
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Riley,

If you are at Kansas State University, I would look at their sports teams and inquire if they take sports psychology interns. I left a contact for you below.

University of Kansas has a Sports and Exercise Psychology Lab, and I see application forms for internships and volunteer opportunities. I also left a link for you below.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

KP

Karin recommends the following next steps:

https://www.kstatesports.com/staff-directory/anne-weese-ph-d-/253
https://hses.ku.edu/research/labs/sport-exercise-psychology
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