“Wait, I Need to Have an Internship by When?”

When you think of an internship, you think of the fact they’re now an expected part of completing your college experience. They offer hands-on training, valuable networking connections and the chance to see if this is *really* what you want to do.

So, when should you plan an internship into your semester schedule?

There’s no correct answer to this.

It’s been long-assumed that you HAVE to have an internship the summer leading into your junior year, but that’s just not realistic for our generation. Instead, be realistic about what to expect each year during the internship hunt. If senior year is looking like you’re year to finally get out there, then go for it!

As a freshman collegiette, it may be harder to get hired or get your foot in the door for an internship with your dream organization. Instead, use your time in a brand new environment to research places you want to potentially apply for down the road and adjust to the challenges of college academic workloads. If you’re determined to have an internship right out of the gate, look for opportunities with offices already on campus such as study abroad or student media. You can also try to gain research experience in an on-campus lab or volunteer to beef up your resume before the real internship hunt begins.

Sophomore year is the time to put your game face on. If you’re looking for internships with higher-security organizations like the FBI, you may have to start applying now for clearances and background checks that can take up to a year to process. Expand your search to local small business and nonprofits similar to your field.

Junior year is primetime internship season and the competition. is. fierce. Use the connections you have to your advantage and apply anywhere that even remotely peaks your interest. Now is the time to really branch out to major companies and larger organizations since you have a more advanced educational background and likely more relevant experience.

Senior year is the time to apply for internships in places you could potentially see yourself working at post-graduation because you never know if a full-time job offer may come out of it. Demonstrate that you’re indispensable to the organization and an asset they need to bring on to the staff. If there aren't any open positions, they likely will refer you to a similar company that is hiring.

Happy internship hunting, collegiettes!