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SOC-OFE Doctoral Students: How to Contact Potential Field Sites

Communicating With Potential Counseling Field Sites

Updates to the webinar:

Tips for Reaching Out to Potential Sites

It can be intimidating to initially reach out to a potential field site, but your perseverance will pay off in the end! We recommend reaching out in a different way if you do not get a response on your first attempt (i.e. a phone call if you do not get a response via email after waiting an appropriate length of time). Please find some tips below to assist you in knowing how to prepare and what to say when reaching out:

General Tips:

  • Do your homework: make sure you brush up on what the Walden requirements are and how this placement would fit those requirements. Also, make sure to do some background research on the site!
  • Make an appointment with Career Services for additional insight and tips
  • Say "Thank you!"

Via Email:

  • Optimal Resume: check out sample letters in the Letter Builder under "Field Experience Inquiry"
  • Proofread: Make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct!
  • Let the site know why you are interested in them in particular - what is it about them that makes you excited to be a part of it?
  • How would you contribute? How would your knowledge and experience help you make a good addition to the site?

Via Phone:

  • Know who to contact: If the site does not have a direct number for internship inquiries, you would need to state what you are interested in and ask for the appropriate contact person.
    • Example: "Hello, my name is ____ and I am interested in a (practicum/internship) at (site name) for the (quarter). Do you know who I might speak to?"
  • Be prepared: have a good sense of what you are going to say before picking up the phone (see tips above).
  • Take a deep breath and envision this first contact going well.
  • Be sure to leave a voice message if you do not get an answer. Let them know what you are interested in and what the start date for your potential field experience would be. Give contact information.

Information to Provide to Prospective Field Sites

It will be important to communicate your program's requirements with your prospective field sites to ensure that they can meet your needs. You should review the Field Experience Manual to ensure that you are prepared to effectively communicate the requirements. Below are some resources that might be helpful to provide as well.

Marketing Yourself for Counseling Field Experience Opportunities

Updates to the webinar:

  • The email addresses for the SOC-OFE are:
    Master’s Students: counselingfield@mail.waldenu.edu
    Doctoral Students: counselingfield@mail.waldenu.edu
  • Residency has been replaced with Pre-Practicum.
  • The current Field Experience Director is Dr. Jason Patton
  • The MS in Mental Health Counseling program is now MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
  • The MS in Career Counseling program is no longer offered.

Tips for Students with Disabilities

Here are some interviewing tips from Walden's Disability Services for students with disabilities:

  • Don’t disclose disability unless you need to request an accommodation to do your job.
    • This is probably the most critical point that is ignored by your students because they think they will be MORE valuable as employees if they share that they have their own personal experiences with disability.  Unless the application materials specifically say experience as a person with a disability is a “plus” they should avoid disclosing disability.  They can always do it later, maybe in an interview (if it comes up and seems to be a positive thing).   But, really, the best practice is simply not to disclose at all.   Even people in health fields have misconceptions about how challenging it would be to have an employee with a disability.
  • If you need an accommodation for your job but not the application/interview process, don’t disclose until the job offer has been made.  Then, only disclose as much as necessary to secure the necessary accommodation.
  • If you need an accommodation during the application/interview process (for example, a wheelchair accessible room or a sign language interpreter), present that information in a professional way – simply referencing the need for access.  Don’t let disability be the focus of the application process.  Address it, get the accommodation needed for access, and move on to the more important information about why you are right for the job. 
  • Try in every way possible to keep the focus on skills and abilities and not a disability or an accommodation.
  • If experience with disability appears to be a favorable thing, present the experience as having been a learning one that adds to knowledge base.  Focus on professional management of disability as a skill developed over time - and not the disability itself.
  • Contact Career Services to request disabilites-related interview coaching.