When to Start Searching for Summer Internships

Summer internships can be competitive, so you should apply earlier than expected

Flickr user Enough Project

Summer internships are great opportunities to gain some experience in your field (while hopefully getting paid, but you may get unpaid internships). Because most students don’t take summer courses, these internships can be competitive. It pays to start looking earlier than you think.

Where can I look for summer internships?

One option that students can utilize is your school’s career and internship fair. Schools usually host these once in the fall and once in the spring. Check with your college’s events calendar to see if/when you can attend between classes.

When should I look for summer internships?

If you’re looking online for internships, winter break is a good time to start. This generally gives you a few months to get your application together around your schoolwork. A good rule of thumb is to search 4-5 months in advance. Many companies accept applications by the beginning of March. Some have even begun making decisions by that time, giving students the month of April to decide to accept the position or not.

You can keep looking after March.

This does not mean that internships cannot be found after March. Companies continue to post job openings. Some companies might not post their positions until after the normal “rush”. But you have to keep in mind that your schoolwork will grow more difficult as the semester progresses, and interview processes are not easy. Therefore, your school’s fall career fair and searching over winter break are going to be your most opportune times to begin your summer internship hunt.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!