Winter is the time to begin searching for summer opportunities and for most freshmen this may seem like nearly an impossible task. After holiday break, some students may start to feel wary about the three months of summer stuck at home. Other students would love to go back home but feel that they should dedicate their time to something productive. Many of the deadlines for summer programs and internships are coming up but you just finished your first semester or quarter, joined a few extracurricular, and pieced together a resume out of high school experience. Well, have no fear, here are a few tips when it comes to applying for these opportunities!
Opportunity rarely falls onto your lap on its own accord. To find that dreamy internship there are many steps and resources that students should go through:
1. Email Lists: Find a few campus organizations that align with your interests and join their mailing lists! I’ve received many emails notifying about information sessions and application deadlines for summer programs. It’s definitely worth putting up with the sometimes superfluous emails.
2. Talk to Staff: Whether it be professors or advisers, university staff can be key connections in landing an internship. The ideal would be to start forging connections during the fall. However, the staff is there to help students and appreciate it when someone shows interest. Professors often conduct research during the summer which they may want assistance in. Advisers or academic directors often have lists of programs that they email out and they may be able to guide you to the best choice and how to improve your applications.
3. Google: Sometimes it’s important to just take initiative and browse the web. There are many great opportunities lurking about with enough searching. However, be careful for what you apply to, make sure it’s legitimate. Also make sure to read program requirements and specifications to make sure you meet them.
Though applications differ greatly, there are a few you might be interested in preparing as you go through your search. Many programs ask for:
1. Resume: This is not only important for getting that summer internship but also any other work or study you would like to apply for. Many colleges have on campus centers to help fine tune resumes.
2. Recommendation: A professor or previous employer recommendation may be a key part of the application process. This may be a little intimidating as it is difficult to form deep connections in a matter of a few months and many students do not have work experience as of yet. However don’t let this put you off from applying, choose someone you trust and give them plenty of time in advance.
3. Writing Portion: Most applications ask for things like “Why did you apply to the program?” “Describe your other activities or passions” “Why would you be a good fit?” Answering these questions in an honest and thoughtful manner can push you above upperclassmen or students with more experience. Don’t neglect this part!
4. Interviews: This is generally a latter part of the process, a type of stage 2 if you will. Nonetheless it’s good to be prepared to have a meaningful conversion with your perspective employers.
One last thing…
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find anything this year. Freshman year is a time to explore, have fun, and try new things. And if you happen to land a cool opportunity, don’t forget to relax and spend time with friends and family.