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An Early Internship Can Help Solidify Your Choice in Major

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There are big choices in life, and there are little choices in life; in fact, life’s mantra is “choice.” The secret to choosing is choosing wisely, granted many good decisions are made out of previously made poor ones. So, when it comes to long-term, life-affecting choices like your career, it may be wise to discerningly and carefully examine your options before jumping into a decision. One way to help the bemused college student in choosing a major amongst of sea of alternatives is an internship.

The typical college student will intern either their junior or senior year of college owing to their already studied and practically completed major. I was encouraged to read several different books and articles suggesting to college students in their first two years of school to consider an early internship. Students who have interned during their freshman or sophomore year have found that the “preview” they receive into an area of prospective study and vocation gives them the ability to make more solid decisions on where they want to focus their academic energy.

One quote from a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing said, “I’ve taken off two semesters to work full-time, paid internships that had me doing more than just getting coffee for people. When I came back, I was taking classes on half the stuff I did on the internships. Memorizing material makes much sense if you have seen and done it in the real world.” (Shanley & Johnston)

Another student from American University in Washington D.C. decided her freshman and sophomore year to pursue an internship as an A.U. 2009 college article writes:

“[Emily] Creveling originally intended to focus her studies on Africa and therefore interned at Africare during the spring of her freshman year and fall of her sophomore year. Her interest in women’s issues as well as her gendered society class led her to declare a minor in women’s studies and to pursue a twice-weekly internship with Women for Women during the spring of her sophomore year. As a result of her internship experiences, Creveling realized she wanted to focus on women’s issues around the world—not only in one region—and switched her minor in women’s studies to a second major.”

Action Steps: Early Internship, Early Application

Internships are a very hot commodity in the college world, thus it may be a wise decision to take early action in the application process if you are considering an early internship. While Fall semester is usually the best time to apply, I would suggest researching opportunities one full year prior—simply my suggestion.

Here are some action steps:

  • Talk to your Career Counselor about working in an early internship in a field of interest.
  • Research company websites or contact businesses of interest that may be offering internships and take note of their application deadlines.
  • Gather a detailed listing of all possible options and begin the application process. Keep in mind that a good deal of employers will post deadlines as late as April.

Get to work!

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