Internship Searching During the School Year for College Students
For many internship-seekers, summer internships are where it’s at. Three free months, lots of opportunities, the freedom to travel … the list goes on. But as we’ve discussed, there’s a lot to be said for internships during the school year, from less competition to greater flexibility. In this article, we’ll show you how to find a fall, winter, or spring internship. Let’s start with the basics.
Can I get an internship during the school year?
We already spoiled it in the first paragraph, but the short answer is yes, absolutely. And you’ll have plenty of options. In fact, since so many students only take summer internships, you may have a better chance of getting an internship during the school year. As more companies realize the value of interns, they want to keep interns around 365 days a year (or close to it!). Getting an internship during the school year isn’t that different from getting one for the summer, but there are some key things to keep in mind.
Keep it local
Unlike summer, when you can fly off to Kansas City, New York, or Milan for a few months, you’ll be in school for the duration of your internship. This means that you need to think carefully about what types of opportunities your college town (or city) offers—as well as your availability, access to transit, and class/extracurricular schedule.
If you’re going for convenience, you can start on-campus. Particularly during your busy junior and senior years, an on-campus internship can save you time and frustration. Because the college community understands the busy life of a student, on-campus internships tend to be more flexible. Your school’s Career Center is the best place to start. Think of it as an adjunct classroom, where you’ll learn about the professional world. Simply set up an appointment to inquire about on-campus internships during the school year. Bring a copy of your schedule and an updated resume, and do a little research beforehand so you know what types of internships most interest you.
If you already know which school departments or offices appeal to you, you can approach them yourself, particularly if you’ve already done some academic networking. Even if they don’t have any openings right now, you can take the initiative, do some research, and present an internship proposal. Maybe you can do an internship in which you facilitate future internships, benefiting both the department and future students (so meta, right?). The options are endless.
Another on-campus option is to do an internship over the weekends, when you don’t have classes and your extracurricular commitments are few and far between. Weekend internships often revolve around special events, conferences, or sports, making them a great fit for those interested in event planning, athletics, or marketing. For example, the admissions office often brings in prospective students, the alumni office hosts alumni, or academic departments hold industry-specific conferences.
Beyond the campus walls
For those willing to venture further afield, you can look at local companies. If you have a car, awesome: You can do a driving tour of the area and decide what’s feasible and what isn’t. If you don’t have a car, see where public transit takes you and how long it takes to get there. Again, the Career Center likely has a list of local internships to get you started. You may want to request an informational interview with a company before applying; it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. And of course, you can use Chegg Internships to search for companies by location. By choosing local companies offering part-time roles, you’re sure to find a good match. If you fall in love with a company but they don’t have an internship program, reach out with a proposal. You never know what might come of it.
One other choice for school-year internships is to go virtual. As remote jobs gain popularity, so do remote internships. You can complete a virtual internship from the comfort of your dorm room or your local coffee shop. If you’re self-motivated and have strong communication skills, a virtual internship will allow you to work where you want, when you want, with the occasional check-in or meeting—plus it saves time and money since there’s no commute. There are virtual internships in IT, marketing, entertainment, finance, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
Additionally, you can still explore internship opportunities in other places—if you’re willing to put in some extra effort and time. Particularly if it’s a full-time internship with academic credit, you can talk with your academic advisor about rearranging your classes or attending school for an extra semester in order to take advantage of a truly fabulous opportunity. Keep an open mind, and the right school-year internship will be yours.
What about internships during study-abroad programs?
More and more students are combining internships with their study abroad experiences, blending academic learning with cultural immersion. It’s the perfect way to improve your foreign language skills, build your network, and enhance your viability as a job applicant post-graduation.
To avoid biting off more than you can chew, you may want to wait until you get to your new location and settle in with your courses before you explore internships. Studying abroad is a singular experience, so don’t take an internship if it means missing out on exciting enrichment programs or travel opportunities. The on-site staff will be able to point you to available opportunities and advise you on the protocol for applying. If you want to create your own internship at a company that interests you, check out the on-site Career Center rather than dialing in to your university.
Many students in study abroad programs prefer to take an internship after their official program has ended. By then, they’ve honed their language skills and are free to dedicate themselves full-time to an internship, ensuring a more in-depth experience. If your study abroad program is in the fall, consider spending your winter break at an internship abroad. Likewise, students who go abroad in the spring can spend their summer doing an internship, living in the community and absorbing the local culture.