Guide to Internships

College students hear a lot about internships today, with good reason.  Here are some of the headlines that you might have seen:

"Employers expect to hire 7 percent more interns for 2010-11 than they hired in 2009-10"
"New graduates who took part in an internship program are more likely to have received a job offer than their peers who decided to forgo the experience"
"On average, bachelor's degree students taking part in internships in 2011 will earn an average of $16.68 an hour"
(All quotes provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers-NACE)

These facts all sound very interesting, but what does this mean for actually finding an internship?  Read on to find out the steps to internship success.

Why do I need an internship?
What do you mean, I need a 'game plan' for my internship search?
I am ready to apply, now what?
What funding support does the College offer?
How can I find somewhere to live?
Where have other Hampden-Sydney men interned at?

Why do I need an internship?
The facts are pretty clear, but let's think about the personal reasons for seeking an internship.  Sure, it is tempting to keep working at summer jobs, make a tidy sum of money, and be able to fund your extracurricular activities for next year.  You may think 'why bother, I heard that my buddy had to do terrible work for no pay.'  It might surprise you to learn that according to NACE, more than half of students who held an internship in their career got paid for it. 

There's also that nagging feeling of knowing you SHOULD be doing something more productive with your time, but feeling pretty lost trying to figure out what that is.  Our office provides a multitude of resources to help you discover your strengths, interests, and passions.  We are always happy to talk with you about what's on your mind, and you don't have to have it all figured out before you visit us. 

Finally, think of it this way.  Would you buy a car, a house, or an expensive electronic item without researching it, and seeing how it fits into your life?  Well, life after college is similar in the sense that you have to "try before you buy", or graduate in your case.

What do you mean, I need a 'game plan' for my internship search?
Unplanned excursions can be fun, but that is not a good risk to take with your career prospects.  The benefits of planning your approach to internships, instead of just applying to everything, are numerous.  Taking the time to self-reflect, write a good resume, and build a network will result in a highly targeted internship search where you are the most informed and prepared candidate.  That is the candidate that gets hired.  Let's break down your game plan.

  • Self Reflection: Employers look for students that have a clear sense of who they are, and why they are interested in working for that specific employer.  You may be interested in 20 different subjects, but for purposes of an internship search narrow it to 3 main subjects that interest you.  Once you've determined what subjects interest you, ask yourself these questions:
  • What do I know about this subject already?  Where can I find more information?
  • Why am I interested in this field?
  • Do I know what personal qualities it takes to succeed in this field? 

You can ask yourself several more questions, but these questions will help launch you into our next step, writing a resume.

  • Writing A Resume: The purpose of your resume is to clearly articulate your skills, work experience, and accomplishments, with the goal of earning an interview.  We have a lot more information on our Writing a Resume and Cover Letter page.
  • Build A Network: One of the best things about Hampden-Sydney is the potential for a strong network.  But you can't wait for people to come to you offering assistance, you much seek it yourself!  Visit our Build Your Network page for more advice

I am ready to apply, now what?
Now that you have a strong resume in hand, and several targeted career fields, you're ready to find internships.  Here are some of the key Career Education resources you can use in your internship search, and you're always welcome to visit us in person to get your questions answered.  Just contact us at career@hsc.edu or (434) 223-6106.

  • TigerConnections: The Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection's main source for job and internship postings.
  • Internships.com: The world's largest database of internships from every conceivable source.
  • Vault.com: A comprehensive career research tool paired with a variety of job and internship postings.  Select the A-Z listing when you arrive at the library's page.
  • Career15.com: Hosted by the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, Career15 is your portal to opportunities with some of the largest organizations in Virginia.
  • One Day, One Internship: a blog that shares information about a new cutting edge internship with a different company every day.
  • And finally, staying organized.  As you apply for many different internships, take a moment to set up an organization system for your applications and related information.  It's a bad feeling when an employer contacts you and you have no idea what position you applied for at the company, or what the company does.  It can be as simple as a couple of file folders or as elaborate as a multi-tabbed Excel spreadsheet.  The important thing is to just do it.

What funding support does the College offer?
Visit the Career Education Internship Scholarships page to learn all about this program, which offers scholarships of $300 to $3000 to H-SC men interning around the country and the world.

How can I find somewhere to live?
You've confirmed your internship, now you need a place to live!  There are many options available to students - sometimes it just requires some creative thinking.  Check out some of these ideas:

Going to a place with a college or university?  Contact their housing office.  With students gone during the summer, most schools open their dorms to interns and summer conference groups.  This is a hassle-free and very affordable option.  Not sure if there's a school in the area?  Visit Peterson's Guide and choose 'Basics'.  This allows you to search schools by state.  Once at the school's website, search for housing or residence life.

Do you have friends, friends of friends, or family in the area?  Why not take them up on their offer to stay at their house for a few months?

Sublease an apartment or take advantage of a short-term rental.  Great opportunity to live in a cool place with no long-term commitment.  Check the local newspaper, utilize Apartments.com or contact a realtor in the area for leads.

Check out these links for additional city-specific information:

Atlanta
Emory University, Summer Conferences/Housing
Georgia State University, Department of Housing
Georgia Tech, Housing

Charlotte
University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Department of Housing & Residence Life
Queens University of Charlotte, Residence Life

New York City

NYU Department of Housing

Educational Housing Services

Barnard College Summer Housing

The New School Summer Housing

92nd St. Y-de Hirsch Residence

International House

Columbia University

NY Student Housing

Don't forget your MetroCard for the bus or subway!  Many options to suit your needs.

Orlando, FL
OASIS (Orlando Area Student Intern Society)

Richmond
  
University of Richmond, Office of Undergraduate Housing

Suite For You-Furnished/Unfurnished Corporate Housing
  

Washington, DC

American University, Housing & Dining Programs

Catholic University, Housing and Residential Services

Georgetown University, Main Campus Summer Housing & Law Center Summer Housing

George Mason University, Summer Housing

George Washington University, Summer & Conference Housing

Howard University, Summer Conferences & Group Housing

University of Maryland, Department of Resident Life

Washington Intern Housing (WISH)


  
General Resources
Apartments Plus

Rent Net Online Rental Guide

CraigsList

SubletSearch  

Where have other Hampden-Sydney men interned at?
You might be surprised how far Hampden-Sydney men have traveled for an internship.  They have interned in England, Germany, Kosovo, Hong Kong, Richmond, Washington D.C., New York City, Newport Beach CA, Charlotte, Nags Head, Chicago, and Boston, to name a few.  For more information, see the Alumni Successes page.