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Articles / Applying to College / Summer Internship for Rising Soph?

June 20, 2007

Summer Internship for Rising Soph?

Question: Is it possible for a student finishing his freshman year in college to obtain a summer internship (paid or unpaid)? My son is majoring in chemistry. Aside from speaking with personnel at the college, what is another good source for this information?

If your son is resourceful, he should be able to land something satisfying this summer. The fact that he's willing to work without pay will be a big plus, too.

The best--and most obvious--place to start is at his college career center. As a freshman, he may not have even found it yet, but he shouldn't hesitate to drop in and check out what's available. He should also make an appointment to meet with a staff member who can help direct his search.

His professors may (or may not) have suggestions as well. Typically, notices on science-center bulletin boards can provide leads, too.

Peterson's internship mega-tome might be another place to look. There will be a lot of irrelevant information in it for sure, but--since the book is already more than a year old--a used copy from Amazon for under five bucks is worth the investment. See:


Something that you, the mom, can contribute to the search, is an hour or so on Google. For instance, if you start with "Summer Internships+Chemistry," you'll get some interesting hits. You'll have to weed through those that are for older students or for students affiliated with a particular college or university, but note that just because a position is advertised on a school's Web site--or may actually be based at the school itself--it doesn't necessarily mean that outsiders are automatically excluded.

Finally, since your son is willing to work without pay, he may also be able to create his own internship by deciding where he wants to be or what he wants to do and then offering his services gratis. If no formal internship program exists, he may be able to convince a prospective employer that he would be handy to have around for six or eight weeks. Keep in mind, too, that even when an internship is unpaid, your son MIGHT be able to wangle credit from his college if he can pass it off as an independent summer study project. Different schools have very different policies in this regard, but in almost every situation, the student needs to clear this well in advance of the internship and not after the fact.

In any case, while some of the juicier internship opportunities may go to older undergrads or graduate students, your son should be able to find his niche as well. If he gets some search assistance and clerical support on the homefront, that will improve his odds, too.

Happy hunting!

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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