4 Tips for Choosing a College Internship

Internships can be a drag. What’s to like about a place that pays minimum wage or nothing, makes you do grunt work, with little to no other people your age? If you are required to complete an internship before graduating, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Choose an internship based on what skills you want to learn.

If you are looking for an office environment, don’t take an internship at the zoo or somewhere outdoors. You want your internship to somewhat reflect your bachelor’s degree. A medical student wouldn’t intern at a fashion boutique.

Get a paid gig.

It might be hard to find places that will actually pay you, but believe me, they are out there, and they are worth finding. I worked for free at an internship once, and it left me with no motivation.

Don’t underestimate your value. You’re an intern, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know anything about anything.

If you happen to take an internship that doesn’t pay you, make sure they fill out the appropriate documentation for you to get college credit and a recommendation for when you apply for jobs after graduation.

Apply for internships on your own.

A few months ago, we got a request from a college senior’s mother about having her son intern for us at my job. That alone made us wary of even considering him because he wasn’t taking action for himself. If you want people to take you seriously, you have to act like an adult, even if it is just faking it for a few hours. This also includes dressing like an adult and not a college student, if you are working in an office environment. You may need to invest in a few professional items of clothing before starting your internship.

Make sure the internship has a set schedule and a definite end.

Sometimes companies post that they want college interns but have never had interns before. They may not know about college credits or how busy college seniors can be. When you are interviewing, be sure to ask the duration of the internship. If you are a senior in college, let them know when you are expected to graduate. You also want to be upfront with your class schedule and make sure the business will accommodate that. You don’t want signals to get crossed later and not be there when they are expecting you.

I hope this helps you a little in choosing an internship. So many other factors are involved, but don’t get too hung up on it. At the end of the day, you want to get a full-time paying job. Think of an internship as getting your feet wet in a workplace before graduation. Just be yourself and do your best. You’ve got this!