Should I consider an internship early in my college career?

It’s a good idea to start learning about internship possibilities during the first semester of your freshman year, so you can pursue your first internship in either the second semester or during your sophomore year.  These initial internships early in your college career will help you build up to better and better internships by the time you reach your senior year.

Your first semester is going to be a period of transition, so you might not want to tackle an internship so soon. However, you could visit the career center on campus as well as explore internships.com to research future internship opportunities. Use this time to network with upperclassmen about their internships and get tips from them on good internship sites.

Like many freshmen, you may be uncertain about your major. During the first semester evaluate various potential majors and their related internships. Also, consider whether you see yourself working for a big corporation, a small company, or a nonprofit. Start an internship journal, keeping track of your evolving self-knowledge.  You can also take the free Internship Predictor offered on internships.com to find out what types of careers may suit you best.

For the second semester of your freshman year, you might look into a virtual internship that you can perform at a computer without leaving your room. Or you could explore the options for the upcoming summer. Review your budget to see if you can afford to take an unpaid internship or not. Meanwhile, revise your resume and create a general cover letter that you can customize for different internships. Educate yourself about all the new internships available by checking frequently on internships.com and with your career center.

Check to see how many internship college credits you are permitted, according to your school or your department. If you’re limited, you might want to take a summer job for pay, saving your internship credits for later in your college career. Do you want to do one in another country? If so, you may need to register now for a language course or two in preparation.

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