Hacks For Students

Internships for College Students

By: Gabby Garland
Apr 26, 2021 • 6 min read

Internships for College Students

Calling all college students! Are you struggling to find an internship, or just have no idea where to begin? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be giving you a list of resources and ideas to jumpstart your internship search. Whether you know exactly what you want to do but can’t find the right internship, or you have absolutely no idea what you’re looking for, this article will provide you with some inspiration to get you going. Let’s start with websites and resources for general internship support.

woman in black and white sweater sitting by the table

School career center

The first place we recommend beginning your search is by taking a look at your college or university’s career center website or office. Most colleges have significant resources available for students to take advantage of for career help. On your school’s specific career website, you’ll typically find networking events, Q&A sessions, major-specific internship help, and much more. You’ll also be able to schedule meetings with career advisors to discuss resume help, cover letter writing, networking advice, application help, and whatever else you may need advice on or have questions about.

University career advisors are specifically designated to help you, so do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with them. You’ll find specific resources and links to databases of internships that you can search through depending on your major, interests, location, and much more.

Keep in mind that every university will have different resources and features of their career center. Regardless, we recommend reaching out or going to the website available to get individualized help no matter what point you’re at in college. Utilize all of the fantastic resources your school provides for you!

person using laptop

Alumni network

Almost every college has a fairly extensive network of alumni who want to connect with current students. Most colleges also have specific databases to connect with registered alumni. These sites are similar to LinkedIn but specific to that college. You can reach out to alumni for resume help, questions about their careers, and general advice.

By approaching these conversations with the intent of learning, you’ll open doors to potential internships. These alumni can connect you with internships they found valuable and generally be a wonderful resource for mentorship. By using the alumni resources available from your university, you’ll be able to narrow down the pool of potential alumni and be sure you’ll be connecting with someone that actually wants to talk to current students and has the time to do so.

Start with a wide range of people to guarantee responses. Be patient and persistent with reaching out to alumni and understand that it might take time to set up a meeting. Networking is vital to securing an internship, so we suggest spending time connecting with alumni from your college for sound advice and information on career paths you’re interested in.


Finally, we suggest creating a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so yet. LinkedIn is more than just a networking site. You can actually search for internships and jobs on there as well. By following companies, connecting with current students, keeping up with organizations on your campus, you’ll bolster your network of people and communities, which will help find an internship.

We suggest using the jobs tab of LinkedIn to search for internships on the platform. You can narrow down your search using the tools LinkedIn provides. LinkedIn can also help provide you with ideas for internships if you aren’t sure where to begin and need to brainstorm. Use the general search tab to look up your major and school. You’ll be provided with a list of people who have majored or are currently in the process of majoring in whatever you’re currently studying. In taking a look at what jobs and internships they’ve had, you’ll get a better sense of what you might be interested in pursuing and where to start applying.

Next – let’s talk more specifically regarding the types of internships you might be interested in. Now, we’ve finished outlining more general resources to find internships. Here’s a list of different areas that usually have internship opportunities to give you a better sense of where you might want to apply!

internship for college students

Corporations and companies

Almost every well-known company has internship positions for college students. From finance to anthropology to journalism, you can narrow your search by focusing on companies that value experience in your intended major. We suggest making a list of companies that you’re interested in interning for and searching their website for information on internships.

Make sure you’re aware of the timing for applications. Typically, engineering, STEM, and finance internship applications are due earlier than most other fields. Hence, if you’re an underclassman, start narrowing down internships for your junior and senior year as soon as you can. The more time you have, the less stressed you’ll be!

Research opportunities

If you’re attending a research university or a college with extensive research facilities, you’ll most likely find many opportunities to intern for professors who are conducting research over the summer. Bigger universities typically value undergraduates becoming more involved with research. Start by inquiring about potential opportunities with a professor you’re inspired by or have taken a class with. Chances are, if they are not currently conducting research, they’ll know someone in the department who is! There is no harm in reaching out, even if you do not receive a definitive response. Cast a wide net and keep updated on department websites to see if there are articles about any professors doing research you might be interested in.

You absolutely do not have to be concentrated in science, technology, engineering, or math to find research opportunities on campus! Many other departments, from English to political science to sociology, and more, have ongoing research. Depending on the resources available for your designated major at your university, you should be able to find research in whatever field you’re interested in.

If your school does not have any research, do not worry! You do not need to be a student at a university to help with research there. This is where networking comes into play. Reaching out to alumni and professors will provide you with more connections. Perhaps your professor knows someone at a different school who is conducting research you’d be interested in.

internship for college students

Local startups

Startups are always looking for college interns to assist with a wide variety of jobs. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment where you’ll be able to contribute in different ways, try applying for positions within a startup.

It might be difficult to find contact information through a general Google search. This is because most startups do not have complete websites or contact information set up yet. We recommend looking through LinkedIn and utilizing your network to narrow down your search. There are tons of entrepreneurs out there who would be extremely grateful for your help!

Once you’ve cultivated a list of startups, begin contacting their recruitment coordinator or whoever you can find that works there to begin discussing internships.

Federal, state, and local government organizations

There are internships for college students available through the United States government across all levels of government. Whether you’re looking to work for a specific member of Congress or help with research, you can certainly find opportunities in this area. We recommend taking a look at different departments such as the State Department or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for example. They’ll have job listings on their website that you can search through depending on what you’re interested in.

Whether you want to be in journalism, policy, engineering, infrastructure, politics, and more, the government has many options. You can also search by area of interest as well. If you’re passionate about the environment, consider the Federal Emergency Management Agency! Or, see if any of your local representatives are on committees that focus on climate change.

Countless government organizations span across many areas of interest, so you’ll be sure to find opportunities here. If you’re looking for a paid internship but cannot find one in any of the places we’ve mentioned so far in this article, your college career center may be able to offer you funding or college credit to compensate for your time working.

internship for college students

Some final thoughts on internships for college students 

Now that we’ve outlined some general tips and more specific ideas to jumpstart your internship search, hopefully, you’re feeling more prepared and inspired. There are plenty of internships out there, but they won’t fall into your lap. Stay organized and confident! Remember that you can find an internship that meets your needs!

For more help and insight on navigating the internship process for college students, check out other articles! From interview tips to writing samples, cover letters, and more – we’ve got your back.

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