When Should College Students Start Looking for a Summer Internship?

Summer vacation can be the ideal time for students to take part in an internship - they can focus on the learning experience rather than having to balance that internship with all of their coursework. If you're sure this is how you want to spend your summer, you should start planning for it early on.

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By Jessica Lyons

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Getting Started During Winter Break

Just because it's a summer internship doesn't mean you should wait for summer to start finding a position. As soon as your winter break starts, get your preparation going using the following steps:

  • Make a list of where you want to intern.
  • Start compiling contact information.
  • Talk to professors and administrators about potential internship opportunities.
  • Get together necessary information like a resume, cover letter and references.
  • Write down all of the application deadlines for the internships you're interested in.
  • Verify with your school that you can get credit for the places where you're thinking of interning.

As Spring Semester Begins

As your spring semester starts, you'll want to start getting your materials together and actually send out your applications. Here's what you should be doing:

  • Take a calendar and write in all of the various application deadlines and what materials each position requires you to send in.
  • Prioritize your applications by working on the ones that are due earlier first. Keep in mind that internship applications could be due anywhere from the beginning of February to later in April.
  • Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to complete each application. You don't want to lose out on an opportunity because you rushed through getting everything together and made a lot of silly mistakes.
  • You should also apply to as many internship openings as you can. This will increase your chances of getting an internship.

Once Your Applications Have Been Sent Out

Having all of your applications sent out doesn't mean that your work is done. You should send out follow-up e-mails to your various contacts to verify that they received your information. This can also show that you are genuinely interested in working with them, which could improve your odds of being selected.

You should also start preparing for potential interviews. Visit your school's career center to see if they have workshops or one-on-one sessions that can give you interviewing tips and practice questions. You'll also want to make sure that you have appropriate business attire to wear to any meetings. The better prepared you are, the better the impression you'll make.

Want to get some real-world experience? Check out these fun internship opportunities that could prepare you for a career.

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