How to get an internship in community college?

Internships are a terrific way to gain real world exposure to a career in your target major and build significant extracurricular experiences to support a holistic transfer application. However, for many community college students the recruitment pipeline and resources for landing internships can be scarce. The majority of companies look to recruit students from four year institutions, which put community college students at a disadvantage in the recruiting process compared to similar freshman and sophomore students at four year institutions. As a result, as a community college student, you will need to be more creative in how you approach, network, and apply for internships at the community college level. 


The Internship Recruiting Pipeline At Four Year Universities

To begin explaining how a community college student can begin to approach an internship application, it’s helpful to define the list of opportunities available to students to students at four year universities to see how we can mirror this experience at the community college level.

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On Campus Recruiting

Online Job Portals enable students to review and apply to internship opportunities from a large list of companies that recruit on campus. Through online job portals exclusive to university students, students have the opportunity to apply, interview, and land internships.

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Career Fairs

Careers fairs enable students to learn about opportunities and provide their resumes to recruiters from companies who recruit on campus. In general, these events attract thousands of students and only provide a small window of opportunity for students to make an impression on a recruiter. Even so, the opportunity to get your resume in the hands of a recruiter is a big first step in the recruitment process!

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Networking Events

Networking events enable students to learn more about the operations, culture, and opportunities available at hiring companies from professionals who currently work in the industry. These events are a terrific way to make a personal connection to seasoned professionals who can help guide your internship application process and endorse you to hiring managers and other team members at their company.

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Many professors were experienced professionals in industry before turning to life in academia. Your professor can be an excellent resource to understand more about the career you’re interested in and provide you references and endorsement to speak with professionals in the industry.

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External Networking

Beyond all the resources available to students at their universities, many students still create opportunities on their own. The opportunities to meet potential connections are infinite. “Coffee chats”, meetups, volunteer work, and the brute force cold call are among the many ways students open doors in the pursuit for an internship.

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With the resources online to learn new skills and apply them to pursue a business venture, many students find it prudent to start their own enterprise. E-commerce businesses, photography services, tutoring services, Kickstarter campaigns, an Etsy shop, and more are all business ventures commonly explored in college.

The Internship Recruiting Pipeline At Community Colleges

We’ve outlined the opportunities from the most effective to least effective strategies in obtaining an internship during community college. (The ordering of this list is purely empirical based on experiences with students we’ve worked with over the past years)


External Networking

Explore successful external networking strategies and opportunities here:

External Networking Guide


Start Your Own Thing

Explore common entrepreneurial pursuits you can start while community college here:

The College Entrepreneur


Volunteer Time With A Start Up

Explore opportunities for volunteer work here:

The Volunteer Experience


Attend Events

Explore how to leverage events to make connections and land an internship below:

Eventually Opportunity


Reach Out For A "Coffee Chat"

Explore how to turn “coffee chats” or “informational interviews” into valuable internship opportunities:

Hi, I’d like to learn more about…


The "Walk In"

Explore strategies to “walk in” and secure an internship opportunity here:

The “Walk In”


Career Fair

Explore how to maximize your career fair experience and translate a 30 second interaction into an internship opportunity:

Career Fair Guide


Apply Online

Explore how to maximize your chances of rising to the top of a sea of applicants:

Online Application Guide