Advice for Registered Dietitian Mentor Meetings
Make sure the RDN realizes that meetings MUST be made once per semester in order to receive the verification statement. Remember to allow 2-3 weeks before getting a meeting with a dietitian, as their schedule may be busy. Initial contact to set up a meeting may be made over email (make sure to use your UIUC email account to authenticate the request). An example email for the initial contact is provided below.
Dear Mr./Ms. RDN ______,
My name is _______, and I am a freshman dietetic student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our program encourages us to choose a registered dietitian mentor in our area of interest. The goal of a mentor is to provide us the opportunity to ask specific questions about how to properly prepare ourselves to be successful in our future career in dietetics.
It is recommended that we have a total of 8 recorded contacts over the course of undergraduate dietetic career. It is suggested that we make the contact over phone or in-person. The content of the meeting should typically only last ~30 minutes or less. If you are willing to provide your guidance during my undergraduate career, I would be very grateful.
The First Meeting
Meetings may be conducted over the phone or in-person. They may NOT be made over email. If the RDN wishes to follow-up multiple times over the semester, then follow-ups may be emailed. The first contact should last ~30 minutes to an hour. Subsequent meetings may be shorter.
Questions are not all inclusive; they are just suggestions and a starting point for the meeting. Meeting with mentor does not replace meeting with program director for academic and internship/career-related advice.
- How did the RDN mentor get to where they are?
- What jobs did the RDN mentor do for experience in college?
- What jobs would the RDN mentor recommend?
- What was the best experience the mentor had in college or what do they wish they would have done while they were in college?
- What internship did they complete?
- Did they minor/major in anything other than dietetics?
- What are the pros/cons to the mentor’s past and present careers?
- If you are interested in a particular area of dietetics, you may want to ask what elective courses they would recommend taking (the mentor can not give recommendations on the required curriculum which must be discussed program director). In other words, if you are interested in management, they may recommend business administration courses. If you are interested in sports nutrition, they may recommend kinesiology courses.
- Be prepared to discuss the RDN recommendations from the last meeting and what you did to meet the recommendations.
- Research dietetic internships and discuss with RDN mentor to make sure that you meet all of the application criteria for specific internships.
- What is the best way to meet the DI application qualifications for that particular internship?
- Discuss if graduate school along with DI better fits career interest.
- Ask about credentialing (ex. CDE) or certification (ex. Sports nutrition) requirements in which you mentor may possess.
- Does the mentor think that the internships selected reflect interests?
- Explain job experiences to make sure that appropriate skill sets are met for internship.
- Ask to go over interview questions to prepare for the internship application process.
- Ask about real-life situations that might be encountered during the practical experience of the internship.
- Current issues on insurance reimbursements.
- Questions to ask during internship visits.
Documenting Mentor Meetings
Confirmation of Mentor Meeting
Make sure to verify your mentor contact every semester by using our online Mentor Meeting confirmation system:
Please print off the email verification generated immediately after submitting your Mentor Meeting information online. This will ensure that you have record of it in case your Verification Policy requirements are audited, plus it will help you keep track of your submissions. Students should have a total of 8 recorded contacts upon completion of the undergraduate didactic program of dietetics in order to receive a verification statement which is required for entrance into a dietetic internship. One contact is required to be recorded per semester and only 8 submissions will be permitted during an undergraduate career so do NOT record more than one contact per semester. Meeting with RD must be made in-person or over phone. The ONLY case where it would be permissible to contact RD mentor over email is if student is studying abroad, however, if it is possible, arrangements should be made to contact RD mentor directly before or after study abroad experience to avoid email.
An example of the information that you will have to enter into the online database is shown below. The program director will randomly contact 10% of the students’ Dietitian Mentor per semester. The Dietitian Mentor may be asked to fill out a very short survey outlining the student’s progress in the program.
Sample Database Information
- Dietitian Mentor Contact Information for Verification Statement
- Mentor Information
- Phone Number
- Date of Contact
- Length of Meeting
- Type of Contact (mentor evaluation cannot be made through email) In-person OR Over the phone