While it’s true that any extracurricular activity can potentially boost your attractiveness to colleges, those reviewing your application will be especially impressed if you demonstrate you’ve specifically pursued academic interests outside the classroom. That kind of initiative suggests an individual who’s truly passionate about something and takes the long view in career-planning. Often enough, it’s just such an individual who seeks out an internship.
Through the Internship Connection program, students keep a journal while interning and relate those reflections in interviews and college-application essays. We’re not only here to help you land an internship, after all. We also provide counsel on how to summarize your experiences to better place them in context—essential for promoting yourself to prospective universities and employers.
For instance, we’ve actually seen the following question on an Ivy League college application: “What are your academic interests and how will you pursue them on campus?”
“What are your academic interests and how will you pursue them on campus?”
The question provides an opportunity to show how interning honed your passions. You want to convey that you wouldn’t be arriving on campus with some nebulous, purely theoretical game plan, but, rather, with firsthand experience under your belt that refined your career goals and continues to motivate you.
One student applying to Cornell answered a question about his “intellectual interests” with a vivid description of interning with Nantero, a nanotechnology firm. After sketching out the company’s innovative research and development—in which he participated as a summer intern—he writes, “I hope in this generation to contribute to the development of these exciting new discoveries in science and technology through my study and research in the interrelated fields of engineering, nanoscience and biology.” Buttressing this statement with a few details from his internship makes the goals he lays out seem not just ambitious but entirely within his grasp.
Another student of ours did a fine job summarizing his internship with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD). There, he assisted in a departmental program rewarding state companies that generate jobs in low-income communities. The intern, interested in a business career, found his time at MOBD illuminating—“a real eye opener.”
“Helping less well-to-do communities in Massachusetts was very fulfilling,” he continued, “and I got a backstage view of how businesses operate. I also think I became more mature and responsible.”
Get A Solid Letter Of Recommendation
Another way to directly reference your internship in a college application is to ask your workplace mentor to contribute a letter of recommendation for you. Besides providing positive feedback on your character and skills, this serves as more evidence how much you valued interning and considered it formative.
Getting the most out of an internship goes beyond the actual doing of it: It also means productively assessing its impact on your life and career. That’s just what Internship Connection can help you do.
Photo credit: NathanF