Ask a College Advisor: When Should I Start Looking for a Summer Internship?

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Question: When should I start looking for a summer internship?

Answer: Internships are a critical part of a student's college experience. They can provide many benefits that will set students up for long-term academic and professional success. Many students choose to complete internships during the summer when their academic schedules are less demanding.

Most students complete summer internships toward the end of their college careers. However, it's never too early to start seeking professional experience. You should start looking for internships 3-5 months before you would like to start. Unlike traditional jobs, many internships hire candidates well in advance of their start date.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Why Get a Summer Internship?

Summer internships allow you to gain hands-on experience in your future field while also growing your professional network. Other key benefits of this career experience include:

  • Earning extra money at a competitive wage while enjoying your summer vacation
  • Gaining real-world experience to help you decide if your potential career path is right for you
  • Adding the experience to your resume, which can help you stand out on future job applications

How to Find a Summer Internship

There are many ways to begin your search for a summer internship. Some options include:

  • Visiting your school's career services office or website
  • Attending a job fair or networking event
  • Sending out informational interview requests to local companies and organizations
  • Searching online job listings

If you're feeling uneasy about the prospect of landing a summer internship, the best strategy is to start early. Starting your research at the beginning of your spring semester will give you plenty of time to complete applications and communicate with prospective employers.

Keep in mind that a lot of internships are competitive and will have a large number of applicants. If you apply earlier in the year, you can pursue multiple internships and have a higher chance of securing a summer position.

Summary

Most students begin searching for an internship during the spring semester of their junior or senior year of college. However, if you are passionate about your career path, it is never too early to begin applying. If you get an internship early, you may qualify for more elite internships in your junior or senior year, which usually sets you up for an entry-level job.

DISCLAIMER: The responses provided as part of the Ask a College Advisor series are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact a professional academic, career, or financial advisor before making decisions regarding individual situations.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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