When Should You Start Considering Internships?

School just started, but it’s not too early to start considering internships. Let's face it - if you haven’t figured it out by now, those “cushy” jobs don’t magically appear from thin air ... it's a process. It's no secret, the competition can be tough. Many students are entering college with two years of school already completed, and they have their sights set on the prize. Internships provide students the opportunity to "test the waters" with a few companies throughout their college years to get the knowledge and experience they need before graduation. A large number of companies retain those same interns through special programs that last their entire college career with a nice job and salary waiting. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, isn’t it nice to begin the process to find out?

How can an internship benefit me?

If you’re not taking summer classes, this is a great time to do an internship. While you may have thought you would be hanging out with friends around the pool, that could still happen, but you need to get your priorities in order first. An internship may allow you to gain college credit, and receive a stipend to help with expenses the following year. For freshman students, this could be beneficial. As you continue the adjustment to college life, an internship can help you learn new things, discover new interests and realize your expectations for when you are ready to start your career.  Even if offered an unpaid internship, the insight and knowledge gained could put you on the right track. You’ll know what you want, and what you don’t.

Sophomore year is usually when students really start looking for internships. If you get started as a freshman, you’ll be step ahead of the game. Your interview process will be different, you’ll already have something on your resume, and will have access to a network of individuals that can help you in the future. Some of the greatest mentors have come through internships – the right mentor can help shape your career. 

Deciding what type of internship you want

If you’re still navigating which career path you want to take, it’s good to interview with a few prospects. It’s important to know their expectations, and also have your own. As a freshman, do not rule out the possibility of having a virtual internship. This provides flexibility, but still gives you an idea of what it’s like to work in the real world. Wondering where your talents lie? An internship may help you uncover them.

Overall, it’s never too early to start considering internships. You’ll be surprised how much there is to learn, and can start to process the nuances of corporate America. Once you land that internship and get your feet wet, you may decide you’d rather be your own boss. That’s okay too. You’re in the right place to get the foundation to pursue entrepreneurship.

Talk to a counselor and get on the list so you can receive internship notifications. You’ll be happy you did.