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How to Choose an Internship

Finding an Internship That's Right For You
By Penny Loretto,

Tell Us About Your Experience:
Learning from others and sharing our own experiences are excellent strategies we tend to use when making important decisions. The techniques used in finding rewarding internships are no different. Tell us about your internship2 and learn what previous interns had to say about their experiences interning for the NBA,, The U.S. Coast Guard, etc.

Types of Internships:

Internships can run the gamut from financial analyst to museum educator and anything in between. Although most students tend to do internships that relate to their college major, there are many opportunities for them to do totally unrelated internships that might spark a new career interest. Engaging in career exploration4 is one of the most vital aspects of doing an internship. Recently I spoke to a student who completed an internship in journalism5 with a famous magazine in New York City last summer and was planning on interning this summer at a nonprofit organization6 in Boulder, CO, where she would be helping to educate women at a domestic violence shelter. These types of internships offer hands-on experience and exposure to careers and career options7 that will ultimately provide the knowledge required to make an informed decision when deciding on a future career.

Networking Your Way to an Internship:
Since networking9 is a vital part of career development, I often recommend that students do this when looking for an internship. When speaking with family, friends, previous supervisors, or faculty – students can ask about their learning experiences and what led them to their career in the field. College alumni networks are also good places to find people who are working in a career that you are considering. These people can not only share their individual experiences on the job, but can also let you know the types of internships they completed while they were still in college. These stories can be very valuable to you as a student and they may get you to thinking about additional career options that you may not have previously considered.

Students Share Their Stories:
Since students are very interested in what other students have done, this summer we have a group of interns at our college who will be sharing their summer internship experiences once they return to campus in the fall. I often have students ask me about internships11 that other students have completed, and I find that it is often helpful for them to learn more about the experiences of others and be able to use that information to figure out how they can apply it to their own search and in choosing internships that are right for them.

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