Students unnecessarily struggle to find summer internships despite efforts


Kayce Stevens/Hilltop Views

The Career and Professional Development Office provides students with the help needed to acquire internships. Students especially struggle to find internships during the summer.

In my mind, there are two kinds of internships: the laid out, structured kind or the “please let me do anything for free so I can learn” kind, and both are just as difficult to obtain. The structured kind is the one that everyone is applying to while the latter involves begging someone to take a chance on you. I’m still undecided on which one has the better odds.

Does the struggle to find an internship stop at the type of internship or the application for those internships? Of course not. We haven’t factored in the difference between summer internships and semester internships.

I’ve found that most internships are structured on a semester schedule. I suppose this is because companies and organizations know students are focused on their studies and responsibilities at this time, and assume that students want their summers open. What they don’t think about is the students who have to work while going to school and may not have time for school, work and an internship all at once.

So summer internships it is. Well, what do those opportunities look like?

During my hunt for an internship for this summer, I quickly realized the “please take a chance on me” approach might be my best bet. I even began compiling a list of organizations I could contact to ask if I could write for them for free. Although I probably wouldn’t get any sort of mentorship, I justified it because I would still be getting published experience and could still work throughout the summer.

Before I began contacting various organizations, I decided I should try one last option of looking for summer internships outside of Austin. I searched for opportunities in every city I have a friend living in who I knew I could stay with, and lo and behold, I found my dream internship in Boston.

I tailored my resume for the internship and sent it off feeling ecstatic I had found what I wanted. A week passed without hearing anything. I sent a follow up email and got a response along the lines of “you don’t live here and we don’t recommend it to students who don’t live here.”

I think if I would have found that internship right away I might have backed down, but having gone through the complete, no-luck search to get there enabled me to keep fighting for it. And boy did I have to fight for it. It took about two weeks before I was offered the internship.

I think it’s important to work hard for what you want, but summer internships should not be that difficult to find and secure. Summer is the only opportunity for some students who work during the semester to do an internship so there should be equal opportunities offered during the summer as there is during the semester.

Part of my difficulties were that I only relied on myself and what I could find through my own resources. Looking back on my experience, I wish I would have gone to the Career and Professional Development Office on campus for some help.

Office administrator Jennifer Riojas-Santos said she’s seen a lot of students form relationships with the career counselors which allows the counselors to know exactly what the student is looking for. Counselors can then advocate for that student and send them any new opportunities that fit the description of what that student is looking for.

The Career and Professional Development Office connects students to internships nationwide and helps with resumes, cover letters and finding a career path. These services are also offered to alumni and career counselors are able to assist them with any career needs.

The CAPD Office offers many other resources on their website.