Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Background: Acceptance into a Dietetic Internship (DI) Program is a competitive application process where the growing number of applicants exceeds the number of available positions. Because of this, Dietetic Internship (DI) directors may need to outsource external applicant information on social networking sites (SNS) to better differentiate among top candidates.
Objective: The purpose of this study surveying didactic program in dietetics (DPD) directors and DI directors was to evaluate the effects of SNS education on DPD match rate and how DI directors utilize SNS while reviewing potential candidates’ application materials.
Design: DPD and DI directors were emailed a link to an anonymous, web-based survey to obtain information from DPD directors regarding spring 2016 DI match data and DI directors regarding the frequency and beliefs for online vetting of potential candidates.
Participants: All DPD and DI directors from programs accredited by the Accreditation Counsel for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) in the United States and Puerto Rico were invited to participate. In total, 99 DPD directors (44.6%) and 158 DI directors (64.2%) responded to the online survey.
Results: Although the majority of DI programs did not use online research methods to evaluate potential candidates, statistical analysis revealed programs that offer a combined masters and DI reviewed a significantly greater number of candidates on SNS or internet search engines than programs that only offer a DI. Additionally, the majority of DI directors agreed online professionalism should be a factor for admission into a DI program. However, while only half of DPD directors reported educating students on professional use of SNS, the majority of DPD directors believed educating students on the influence of social networking to be important with the topics “professional online presence” and “e-portfolios” to have the greatest perceived benefit. Still, SNS education did not significantly alter a DPD programs match rate during the spring 2016 match.
Conclusions: DI programs combined with a masters degree survey a greater number of applicants online, which may prompt applicants to such programs to adopt higher privacy settings on their personal SNS. At this time, incorporating education on SNS within DPD curriculum may have minimal effect on match rate; however finding unprofessional information online may have a greater effect on a potential candidate’s acceptance versus finding no information at all.
KEYWORDS: Dietetics, Internship, Social networking sites
Konken, Noel Lorraine, "The Influence of Online Social Networking Sites on Selection into a Dietetic Internship" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 688.