If you are an undergraduate student you likely wonder where are the free places you should look for a college internship.
As more and more jobs require experience to get hired, college internships are a powerful way to get a look at your future career. When you are looking for your next internship, these are the places you should start.
Why Do Companies Offer Internships?
While some companies offer internships to students to give back to the community, most internships have a bigger purpose.
Interns can be used to build new projects or research current projects. Interns can also be helpful in supporting employees when a project is expected to grow.
But the largest benefit for a company to start an internship program is to recruit the best future employees. By spending time finding talented interns, companies can have a trial run at the employees of the future.
The NACE 2020 Internship and Co-Op Report shows employees who were first interns are more likely to stay with the company than employees hired from outside. That’s a big advantage to employers.
How Can I Find An Internship for College Students?
Your College’s Career Resource Center
Many students do not know that their college or university has a career resource center on campus. Your first step as a student is to visit this center and ask for internship recommendations. If your school does not have a career resource center, you should visit your academic advising office.
Often, career resource centers keep a list of internship opportunities for students, host internship fairs, or can point you in the direction of potential opportunities.
An added benefit of visiting the career resource center is the other benefits they offer. Some centers have opportunities for interview practice, resume tips, and other resources that can be helpful to you as you look for the best internship.
If you want to take an internship out of town or away from your university, these job boards are a great place to start.
Recent Graduates and Faculty
The largest network for finding unique internship opportunities may be right across the hall from you.
Faculty within your university may remember some noteworthy internships from students past. Alternatively, they might have idea for internships where students from your university generally have success. Sending a short email asking about options or visiting during office hours can have a big benefit when it comes time to find an internship.
Students who are ahead of you at your university or have recently graduated are also a fantastic resource. Past interns are a great way to learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly within an internship program and can often give you an idea of what skills the company is looking for.
If you don’t know any older students, you can take a look at their professional social media accounts or resumes (if available online) and see what internships they have listed.
Look Outside the Traditional Internship
The final place to look for college internships is not an internship at all. Instead, you can build a strong experience in your field by joining a research lab on campus.
Research labs can be better than other internships because they give you the chance to continue working within the lab for an extended period. Research labs can also give you hands on experience within your field of study that you may not get on a traditional internship.
To get started, you should reach out to faculty within your department and review your department’s website to see the research areas of each faculty member. You can then discuss with the faculty member or their graduate students specific projects within the research lab that might be a good fit for you.
We hope that this article has helped give you some places to start looking for the best college internship for you. The Balkhi Foundation strives to help level the playing field through education and we hope our educational resources help students succeed.