Internships are crucial to students' careers, but the process can be as exciting as stressful. Knowing when to start can be tricky if you don't have the correct information. In fact, some would even go as far as to say that it’s never too early to start planning for the future. However, there’s not a correct answer regarding this topic.
Making decisions on internships depends on your history, goals, and timeline, or lack thereof. So, here we’ll tell you all you need to know so you can decide for yourself when the right time to do an internship is.
As we’ve said previously, no set or correct timeline says when it’s the perfect moment to start an internship. Nonetheless, some hints can tell you if it’s convenient to begin planning or taking action toward it.
For most, the clock starts ticking the summer before or during their junior year of college. This is because your career path typically comes into focus at the end of your sophomore year when you finally choose a major that fits. Hopefully, you’ve already started to build your resume carefully so that when the opportunity to land an internship comes, you are well-prepared and ready to make a good impression.
Freshman year might be considered a little early, but it’s also helpful if you want to get a head start. Senior year is late for starting, but it’s good to keep the experiences coming anyway.
You should start applying for open internships well before the start of the season. In other words, at the beginning of the spring semester in January or maybe even February. Even networking events take place at the start of the year in September or October, so it might be wise to attend those and test the waters beforehand.
The date entirely depends on the kind of internship. Still, as a general rule, fall internships start in September, winter internships begin in November or December, October internships start in January or February, and Summer ones begin in June.
As you may have heard, there’s no such thing as starting too early, but there’s such a thing as starting too late. So, keep that in mind when it comes to applying because you will benefit from getting as much experience as possible before graduating from college.
Applying early can help you investigate and be confident that you are interested in the field. This should be done primarily during your first year of college and sophomore year. There’s always time to change paths, but confirming your interest as soon as possible might save you some headaches.
Resumes are vital for applying to any job, so an early internship might help you ensure that yours is in top shape and as up-to-date as possible. Besides, including early experiences can set you apart from other candidates.
Starting early can also help you get professional skills that may be useful once you get out of college. Employers looking for interns also value well-prepared people with more experience in the matter.
Only some internships are going to be ideal for you. So, you need to pay attention to your lifestyle and goals to choose and apply for those that meet your specific criteria.
For internships to be helpful, they must get you closer to your academic and career goals. As much as you must bring value to the table for the company and employers, the job must also bring it to you.
The location is significant and must be realistic. You can’t expect to keep up with school while commuting daily to the opposite side of the country. Your chosen location should allow you to live a life where you can balance college and work.
Landing a paid internship is not always a given, so keep in mind that if you’re not getting paid, you should be getting other benefits, such as experience, knowledge, a broader network, or something that can allow you to advance career-wise.
Even if there’s no set-in-stone time for starting the internship process, it’s always good to start thinking about your future career. Getting clear on what you want and getting a head start on the journey can benefit students who wish to succeed right out of college.