Mapping Your Future: 5 things every college freshman should know about internships


5 things every college freshman should know about internships

By Catherine Mueller

June 26, 2018

You're starting college soon, and the idea of an internship seems like something you can think about later. After all, you're only a freshman, and most students don't have internships until their junior or senior year in college.

If that's the way you feel, well, think again.

An internship is a great way to get experience for your chosen career field, but it's not something that you can put off thinking about until your junior or senior year, according to Dr. James Mueller, interim associate dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

Mueller, who has worked with students seeking internships, says there are five things to remember if you want an internship:

  1. An internship functions the same way as any other type of employment. In most cases, you will need to apply and be interviewed for the internship.
  2. Some internships are paid and others are not paid. It is up to you, the student, to decide if you want to accept an unpaid internship. Only accept an unpaid internship if it is exceptionally valuable experience that you can't get another way. Remember, internships can be extremely valuable for the work experience and for the contacts you will make.
  3. An internship is a great way to get references for future job applications. As such, remember to be a professional. Follow all the internship requirements for both the employer and for your college.
  4. Let your professors know you are interested in internships. They may be able to make a connection for you with important internship opportunities.
  5. Prepare for internships as you take classes and progress through your major. There may be projects or other work during those classes that you can include on your resume or use as an example of your work.

An internship may be critical to landing a job in your chosen career field. Just remember, you aren't given an internship automatically. You have to prepare, and when the time comes to seek out an internship, you'll be ready.