Internships 101

Should I Intern as a College Freshman?

If you’re interested in interning as a college freshman, it’s important to consider how this will affect the rest of your schedule. Whether you’re looking to give your resume a boost, or you’re hoping to make some money, there are lots of good reasons to take on an internship.

Your first year in college, particularly the first semester, is a period of discovery and a time for new experiences. From taking classes, making friends, participating in extracurricular activities, and adjusting to dorm life, there is already a lot on your plate. For some, interning makes more sense during the second semester, or the summer before sophomore year. For others, internships are altogether put off until the following year. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to a freshman year internship, it really comes down to your course load and personal preference.

Here are the pros and cons you should consider when deciding whether to intern as a freshman.

Pros of interning as a college freshman

  • Interning gives you a chance to experience a work environment without having to fully commit to it just yet.
  • An internship can lead to college credit, which means you may be able to graduate early and complete your requirements ahead of schedule.
  • The work experience can help you zero in on your preferences and give you a clearer picture of what you are looking for out of a career.
  • Interning and networking go hand in hand. You will meet a lot of people during your internship who can mentor you and help you land your dream job down the road.
  • An internship will introduce you to an office culture and gives you a glimpse into the dos and don’ts of that world.
  • Last but not least, an internship gives you a chance to potentially make money.

Cons of interning as a college freshman

  • An unpaid internship won’t be beneficial to students who are looking interested in interning for financial reasons.
  • If you are interning during the fall or spring semester, you will have to manage your course load at the same time. This can prove too stressful at times and your grades may suffer.
  • An attempt to get ahead of the game can actually backfire if your internship causes you to drop out of extracurricular activities and have less time to study.

If you are considering a paid or unpaid internship but you aren’t sure if it’s the right fit for you, you should reach out to your academic advisor and career counselor. Together, you two can walk through the advantages and disadvantages of a freshman year internship and determine if it’s a good fit for you.

If it does seem too overwhelming, it’s okay to put it off until you’re ready to do it, like during your sophomore or junior year. No matter when you choose to intern, there is so much to learn throughout your experience. By weighing the pros and cons, you’ll be able to make a decision that’s best for you.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get the Job You Really Want and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Salary Expectations?.