So, you want a credit internship…

As I promised, today’s post is all about how to secure a credit internship. More specifically, it’s the first of three posts about how to secure a credit internship. If you are a Cornell student (or prospective student) looking into a credit internship, then these posts are a good start for researching how to apply. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below! I’ll try my best to answer them…no promises, though.

So, to begin, here are the first 5 things you need to do to get on track:

  1. Check if you qualify for a credit internship program. Each college within Cornell University has its own internal credit and non-credit internship programs. Each of those programs, in turn, have their own requirements for application and range of opportunities. You can find out more information about the credit internship program relevant to your college by scheduling a meeting with a representative from your college’s Office of Student Services. You can also check out internship opportunities available in CCNet, a job posting forum available to all Cornell students. In these meetings and searches, pay close attention to those requirements which can affect your ability to apply. Specifically, look for restrictions like GPA requirements, credit requirements, deadlines for applying, and class year. Before getting yourself excited about the prospect of a credit internship program, it’s best to see whether or not you can even pursue one at this given time. Likewise, you might discover new opportunities previously unknown to you or discover that you have more time than expected to prepare for a credit semester.
  2. Ask yourself the big questions. Is it feasible for you, given your current circumstances, to pursue a credit internship program? Do you have enough credits and time before graduation to ensure that you can finish the credits necessary to graduate? How will you support yourself financially during your internship? Are there certain locations, industries, or organizations in which you would like to intern? Overall, you need to know from the onset what you can do and what you want to do. If they don’t match up, then you should talk to your family, friends, and other support groups to brainstorm how you can make this program work. Or, you may even want to reconsider taking on a credit internship altogether. By the end of your analysis, you should at least have a clearer idea about what you hope to gain from a credit internship. Ask yourself the most important question: what kind of internship would I need to have to make me better off for having had it?
  3. Express an interest in your program of choice. Now that you know which programs you can apply for and what kind of experience you want to have, pick out the opportunities which match your interests. Then, talk to the Cornell administrators of those programs and learn more about those opportunities. Tell them about what you are looking for and ask them if they think these programs are a good fit for you. They might point out something about the program–an additional requirement or special accomodation–which can shape your desire to apply. Then, ask them how you can get more information about the specific internship opportunities available in the program for the semester you want to apply for and about how you can apply. Attending relevant information sessions and talking to past participants in the program can be very helpful at this stage.
  4. Wait, you haven’t applied yet? Well, get moving! Assuming that after all your research you are still interested in applying for a credit internship program, you should apply quickly! Not so quickly that you do a terrible job in crafting your application, but still quick enough that the deadline doesn’t fly past you in a blur to your surprise! Be diligent. Mark deadlines on your calendar and review the application procedures for your program. Make a plan for how and when you are going to finish the different application components. Some programs just require an expression of interest to the program director and a resume. Others require a lot of paperwork. Don’t lose out on a great opportunity just because you forgot to apply on time!
  5. Don’t stop now! There is more applying to be done! Now that you’ve applied and been cleared by Cornell University to partake in their program, you have to convince your organization of choice to let you be their credit intern. Similar to applying for the program generally, you need to research what opportunities exist, consider how those opportunities align with your personal interests, take note of the deadlines and application requirements, and express interest in the position by attending related information sessions and other events. Once you’ve narrowed down the specific internship postings you can apply for and are interested in, you then need to apply for the position. Most often than not, this phase requires a resume, interview, and other documentation. I’ll cover these steps in a seperate blog post entirely. For now, just now that you’re not done until you’ve applied directly to those employers of interest. Make sure you apply through the correct channels, and double-check with your program director that you have taken all the required steps to apply for the postings you most want to acquire. Also, don’t settle for just one posting; cast a wider net (but only for positions relevant to your interest) in case some opportunities just don’t pan out.

Ladies and gentleman, if you have come this far then you have officially applied for a credit internship position through a Cornell University’s alternative semester program! Give yourself a pat on the back and a four-leaf clover for good luck.  Maybe even a cookie or two…or twelve…whatever makes you happiest.

I hope this information can help those readers who are seriously considering applying for a credit internship program. Once you are at the last step, consider reading some of my later posts to continue preparing yourself for the steps ahead. Here are some links to get you started:

How to Secure a Credit Internship (Resumes, Interviews, and All the Other Nuisances)
The 5 Questions I Asked At Least 15 Times Before Getting a Credit Internship
The 5 Answers I Had To Give At Least 15 Times Before Getting a Credit Internship (Coming Soon!)
The Don’t-Forget List for After You’ve Gotten a Credit Internship (Coming Soon!)

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