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Articles / Applying to College / Finding Philosphy or History Internships

June 20, 2005

Finding Philosphy or History Internships

Question: I would really like to find a way to show college admission committees my interest in philosophy and history. I know that many students who are interested in medicine or in other scientific fields do internships and research projects in order to show this interest. Are there similar opportunities in my fields of interest?

If you live near a college or university (and almost everyone does), try contacting several professors who teach courses in history or philosophy that sound interesting to you. (Course catalogs can be found online and usually list the name of the instructor. You can then go to the college's online directory to get the prof's e-mail address.)


Once you'll culled some names from the college Web site(s), then write each prof a brief note explaining your interests and aims. If you're not expecting to be paid, you'll be a lot more attractive to professors than if you're looking for a salary. You can volunteer your services for whatever research-assistance or other (even menial) tasks that the professor requires.

Alternatively, many cities and towns--even small ones--have historical societies, and this might be another place to look for opportunities.

One of the best ways to express your passions is to dream up your own project. Is there a particular topic you'd like to research? You don't need any formal affiliation to do so, but if you think it will look more "official" to have a sponsor, see if a local teacher, college professor, historical society officer, librarian, etc. will oversee your endeavor.

College admission officials are often more impressed when a student pursues a passion independently than when he or she joins an organized program. So don't be afraid to strike out on your own. Write a research paper, make a film, begin a book ...

You'll have to take initiative but the results could be very fulfilling.

Finally, if you've got money to burn, you might want to check out this internship program: http://www.petersons.com/summerop/sites/inc/020372so.asp

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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