When Should You Start Interning?

By: Anne Hwang ’23

As the fall semester begins remotely, you might find yourself receiving emails one after another, encouraging you to apply for internships. While many internship opportunities may seem intriguing, it’s important to evaluate your situation to see whether or not you are ready to begin interning. 


Freshman Year

Starting your first year of college can be very intimidating. Not only are you in a completely new environment, but your class structures and schedules are different every day. So while you may be very eager to learn and participate in both student life and internships, it’s important to recognize that you need some time to settle in and get used to this new college life. As a freshman, it is highly recommended that you focus your first semesters on adjusting to the classes and joining any clubs or student activities. After you feel more comfortable with your schedule, you should then consider looking into internships of your interest. 


Summer Internships

Interning in the summer can be a great way for students to build experiences without having to worry about the workload from classes. A summer internship also offers more flexibility, as you have the option of applying for both part-time and full-time internships.

Before applying for a summer internship, check your summer schedule to ensure you have amble time to partake in the internship (don’t forget commuting!) Once you’re ready, you can begin applying for internships! Just keep in mind that summer positions are often very competitive, and some companies begin accepting applications as early as September for the following summer, so keep an eye out for those deadlines! (Macaulay’s Career Development sends emails curated just for you, so be sure to open those!)


Fall/Winter/Spring Internship

Aside from summer internships, there are also ample opportunities for students to intern during the school year. However, fall, winter or spring internships during the academic year are a bit trickier, as you now have to balance your academic coursework.

Before applying for a fall, winter, or spring internship, you should evaluate your class schedule and course load. Depending on the number of credits you have applied for and the type of classes you have enrolled in, your schedule may already be extremely packed. Additionally, the internship position may also require you to travel, which means you will also have to take into account travel time. You don’t want to put in only half of your effort in an internship or schoolwork. 

While many honor students often have the habit of taking on multiple things at once, overloading yourself during the academic year could potentially lead to more stress and negative outcomes. Therefore, it is best to pursue an internship during the academic year only if you feel confident in managing your time and balancing your coursework and internship.    


Other Things to Keep in Mind

Lastly, keep in mind that you may not always feel so certain about whether or not you are ready for an internship. You may also feel indecisive about whether you should pick a fall, winter, spring or summer internship. However, there’s no need to fret! You can always speak with your Macaulay advisor or the Career and Development Team for guidance and tips on how to approach applying for an internship!


Additional Resources:


Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.