FAQs by Program Directors about Computer Matching from the Academy

What does a computer matching program do?

A matching program serves as a clearinghouse to help applicants obtain supervised practice positions of their choice and to help Dietetic Internships (DI) obtain applicants of their choice. It eliminates unfair pressures and premature decisions in appointments by programs and acceptance or rejection of appointments by applicants. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has contracted with D&D Digital to facilitate matching through a computerized process.

Computer matching simulates all the steps of the traditional selection process using the rank order lists submitted by applicants and programs, but eliminates the pressures in making decisions. As a result, each applicant receives a position with the highest ranked program that offers the applicant a position. Each program is matched to the maximum number of positions to be filled with the highest ranked applicants who do not receive offers from programs they prefer.

Who screens applications and decides which candidates are acceptable to a particular program?

Each DI screens its own applications and submits a priority listing of acceptable applicants to D&D Digital, along with the number of positions to be filled. The program's priority listing should include more names than there are positions available to ensure that all positions are filled.

Programs are encouraged to rank all applicants that they would accept into their program on their priority list. A program will not be matched to an applicant whose name does not appear on the program's priority listing. Nor will an applicant be matched to a program that is not on the applicant's priority listing.

Will the applicants or programs know how the other has ranked them?

No. All information submitted to D&D Digital is kept confidential. Each applicant is given the final result of the matching. Each program is provided with the names of the applicants it obtains in the match. Programs and applicants are not told how they were ranked by each other.

Who is responsible for the acceptance and rejection notice to applicants?

D&D Digital provides personal notification of placement or lack of placement to each applicant via their website. It also provides each program director with a list of applicants matched to its program. Applicants who receive a match are required to notify the program by appointment day to accept or reject the appointment.

What can a program do if computer matching does not fill all its positions?

D&D Digital sends a listing of unmatched applicants who have agreed to release their names to each program following the matching. Programs may contact unmatched applicants or return to their applicant pool to fill positions only after appointment day has occurred (see Dietetic Internship Program Director Responsibilities for entire process).

Who pays for computer matching?

All costs are borne by the applicant. Applicants must pay a $55.00 fee when submitting their rank order lists to D&D Digital.

What do students need to do to be considered for a DI appointment?

Students should be advised that there are two components. First, they must apply to each DI for which they seek admission. Most programs use DICAS, the online application. The second component is the appointment process. Most DIs are participating in computer matching. The remaining programs accept applications only from individuals employed by the sponsoring institution. These individuals should not be participating in computer matching. These programs are noted as exempt from computer matching in the directory of accredited programs.

Can a student apply to more than one track of a single program?

Yes. There are programs with more than one track. These may have two or more computer matching codes, one for each option. The applicant needs to rank the options according to preference when they submit their priority choices.

Is there a limit to the number of programs that one can apply to and rank for computer matching?

There is no limit to the number of programs selected. However, the applicant must submit an application to each program. Many programs charge an application fee and DICAS charges a fee for each program selected to submit an application.

What process is used for the matching?

Before matching begins, the applicants' preference lists and the DI preference lists are "cleaned." If a program does not rank an applicant, that program is removed from the applicant's list. If an applicant does not rank a program, the applicant is removed from the program's list. Then, the matching occurs using the student's prioritized list and the programs' prioritized lists until all possible matches are complete. The process is explained in detail on the D&D Digital website.

If a student submits the priority choices and fee for the computerized match process, but changes his/her plans, how should this be handled?

If the student has submitted the priority choices and then changes his/her career plans, he/she must notify D&D Digital in writing or by email prior to the deadline date of their decision to withdraw from the matching process. Applicants must check the Computer Matching Calendar to obtain deadline dates each matching cycle.

Do some students receive matches to more than one DI?

No. Students are given only one match, the highest priority choice on their list for which a program match occurs.

Can a program require acceptance into a graduate program in conjunction with the DI and still participate in computer matching?

Yes. Applicants should be advised to submit the application to the graduate school at the same time the DI application is submitted. The program's list of preferred applicants should include only those who also meet the graduate school requirements.

Our program admits applicants during each of four academic quarters. It is difficult for us to participate in a selection process with only two appointment dates.

You can request two different codes for each of the two appointment dates. The codes will correspond to the quarterly admission dates for your program. Thus, you will be able to select students for summer and fall start dates in April and for winter and spring start dates in November.

Which DI programs are participating in computer matching?

All DIs are participate in computer matching except those programs granted an exemption from computer matching because they only accept applications from individuals employed by the sponsoring organization. The online directory of Dietetic Internships notes those participating in computer matching and those programs that are exempt. Applicants to these programs are not expected to be applying to other supervised practice programs or participating in the computer matching appointment process.

Source: ACEND/April 2015