If you aren’t sure what you want to major in or you’ve chosen a major but aren’t sure if it’s right, internships for first-year college students can be a great way to find out. You’ll get the hands-on experience that’s necessary to determine if a major or job is right for you before you get too far into your college career.
Many first-year internships run in the summer so you don’t have to worry about how to balance a job and full-time schooling. Others run during the school year but work around your academic schedule.
Here are the top 8 companies to consider for a freshman internship.
Google STEP Internship
The Google STEP internship is for first- and second-year students only, majoring in computer science. You’ll work on a software project with other interns and full-time Google employees. The opportunity is meant to help you understand computer science from a real-world perspective and not just a textbook.
Explore Microsoft is a 12-week summer internship for first- and second-year college students. The internship gives you access to many different roles within the company so you can see what a career in computer science is all about. The internship is paid, and you don’t have to major in computer science, but must have at least taken an introductory computer science course.
Facebook University offers internships for first-year college students in a variety of areas. It’s a 10-week program that is available in engineering, operations, global marketing solutions, analytics, and product design. Each program starts with a week or two of training, followed up by hands-on experience working side-by-side with Facebook professionals to get real-life experience.
Bank of America Global Technology Freshman Summer Analyst Program
If you’re looking for a job in the financial market, get your feet wet with the Bank of America Global Technology Freshman Summer Analyst Program. You’ll get hands-on analyst experience so you can see what life is like as an investment banker or working in the market.
You’ll get both technical and analytical experience in this role to help you decide which side of the industry you might prefer to work in.
Google Summer of Code
College freshmen can join the Google Summer of Code internship and learn open-source software development. The project is a 10-week open-source software project with a company of your choice that you sent a proposal to and who accepted it. You work with the company you’ve chosen for a few weeks to get to know their needs and spend the remainder of the internship coding.
Two Sigma Freshman Software Engineering Internship
The Two Sigma Freshman Software Engineering Internship is a 10-week program across the summer after your freshman year. You work alongside Two Sigma employees on a hands-on project to develop your software engineering skills, network, and be mentored. By the end of the internship, you’ll have learned how to deliver needed software in a professional setting.
Get experience at one of the world’s largest technology companies and you’ll be ready to hit the real world when you graduate college. Apple offers both summer internships and co-ops during the school year where you work side-by-side with Apple professionals getting the experience and knowledge you need to see if computer science is right for you.
Abbott takes on hundreds of interns every year for summer internship opportunities. Interns can work in engineering, finance, marketing, or IT. They also offer 10 -12-week healthcare internships. You must be enrolled in college in the major that matches the undergraduate program you’re applying for.
How to Get Internships for First-Year College Students
Getting an internship as a first-year college student takes some work since there are likely hundreds or thousands of other college students vying for the same position. Here are some tips and tricks to help you land the position you want.
Highlight your Experience
Even though you’re only a first-year college student, you may have more experience than you think. On your resume or internship letter list all experience you have in the classroom, volunteering, or in any jobs you held. Also, include any extracurricular activities you participate in now or in the past.
Talk about your Skills
Even if you don’t have direct experience in the industry, you have probably already demonstrated skills like multi-tasking, time management, or problem-solving. Think of the experiences you’ve had in the classroom and outside of it to find skills you can showcase that make you stand out.
Companies are looking for keywords on your resume and internship letter. These are words that demonstrate you understand the industry and have the experience they are looking for in an intern. Keep in mind, most interns will be using the same words, so come up with your own wording and find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Companies want interns that are excited to work in the industry. Try to show your passion in your letter, explaining why you want this internship, what you plan for your future, and how working for this specific company will help you achieve your goals. They don’t want students taking on an internship just because they were told it’s right. They want someone with the drive to make a difference.
There are many internships for first-year college students. Start with the list above, but also consider internships in your area or offered only to your college. Ask your academic advisor or career coordinator about opportunities in your area too.
If you are lucky enough to land an internship, take full advantage of it, getting the real-life experience you need to decide if you’ve chosen the right major. If you have, use the experience to help form the professional you’ll be in the future and to help you land the perfect job when you graduate college.