Most people associate getting an internship with summertime. Makes sense: you're out of school and yachting in Europe is out, so you might as well do something productive that will look good on your resume. I wouldn't put down that you spent yet another summer playing guitar in your parents’ garage with your buddies, if I were you. That being said, I want to share with you a few reasons why getting a spring internship might be even better than a summer internship, just in case you ARE going yachting or already promised your friend's Mom's garage this summer.
There is a lot less competition for spring internships in my opinion. Everyone wants a summer internship because that is what they have been told they need to do when they go home for the summer. Not everyone is as smart as you, plus they’re not reading my advice, so they didn’t even think about applying for a spring internship. Bazinga! You just cut your competition in half!
This goes along with Reason #1. Internship classes will typically be smaller in the spring for all of the reasons I have already shared. What this means to you is that you won't have as many group projects, forced intern fun and you will have many more chances to get to know the employees of your company. They might even fight over you! You are a networking superstar!
Spring internship programs are way more flexible than summer internships. They have to be! You have classes/sports/part-time jobs/studying/Greek commitments/etc. You will most likely give them your schedule and they will fill in the cracks. This is a huge benefit which brings me to...
You usually get the same amount of class credit for a part-time spring internship as you do for a summer internship. This pretty much speaks for itself. Same amount of credits for fewer hours—why would you not want that?
If you aren't one of those lucky students who goes home and lives in the guest house of their parents’ mansion in Beverly Hills in the summer you might have to pay room and board during the summertime. Seems like in that circumstance you would want to get a summer job where you could make a little $$$. When you are at school, you have probably already calculated room and board into your college expenses whether you have an internship or not. This could give you a little more wiggle room to take an unpaid or low paid internship during your spring semester.
If you are worried that you might not be able to get the summer internship that you want, a spring internship could get your foot in the door. Do a little work in the spring, get them to like you and BAM—of course they want to keep you on for summer. Why would they choose someone they have never even met over you? You are one of them!
A spring internship can get you off campus for a little bit. I know toga parties, keg stands, fast food and endless trips to the library never get old but you probably go to school in a really cool city that you don't really get to see much of unless you happen to be from that place. A spring internship will get you out and about and if your employer needs you to do errands, they might even let you drive their really cool car. Also, I can almost guarantee that at least one person you work for will take you out to lunch (or dinner) to a real restaurant at least once during your internship.
You're not a good planner? That's OK, neither am I. I am the other "P" word (procrastinator). Most summer internship classes are full by March. What?! Yep, you read that right. March. No worries, there are fall internships. Everything that I have said about spring internships applies to fall internships as well. Just start applying for fall while you are thinking about it. Fall internships fill up by July so don't wait until the last minute!
Written by Christina Church
Christina Church is a Financial Recruiter and Social Media Marketing Trainer with 15+ years of experience working with recent college graduates as well as senior advisors in the financial industry. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communication and received her Internet Marketing Certificate from The University of San Francisco.
Christina advises Financial Advisors and recent college grads on how to use social networks to build relationships and deliver value. She spends her time speaking, blogging, writing articles and training.
She has been known to spend her free time writing about herself in the 3rd person and lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, 2 daughters and a dog and a cat that could be for sale on any given day. She can be contacted by email at Christina.Church@NorthStarFinancial.com or by connecting with her on Linked In at www.linkedin.com/in/ChristinaChurch.