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How to Secure an Internship as a Community College Student

internshipsOne of the questions community college students always ask is, How can I get an internship? No one will hire me.

Unfortunately, the above comment has a high degree of accuracy. You could be in need of an internship for a number of reasons. You might need one to meet a certain number of credits on a subject you’re studying, or maybe you’re hoping that an internship will help you save some extra money to help pay off your student loans. While the former might be manageable, if you’re looking for an internship for the latter reason, it might not go the way you’d like it to. The reason why internships might not be able to help you when it comes to paying off loans is because, firstly, they usually don’t pay that much, and secondly, being a community college student, it might not be very easy to find an internship that would come with a stipend. Instead, you could try to refinance student loans with the help of a personal loan that can be provided by a finance company.

Trying to secure an internship as a community college student is near impossible if you go through standard protocol. The key is to NOT go through standard protocol. Instead use some pro-active muscle to secure a position with a smaller company. It’s actually quite easy to do, but you must be willing to make the first move.

Here are some tips from my book, How to Transfer to a UC from a California Community College: The Unofficial Guide:

This is the motherlode of ECs, and I have a tip for you. You can probably get one easier than you think. It just means being proactive and creative in your approach. The big ones from the big box companies that advertise and want you to run through hoops, may be a definite long shot while you’re a CCC student. But don’t give up. Just reframe.

First of all, think about what you want to major in and what career is in your sights. Let’s say you want to major in Communications. That’s PR, marketing, social media, and advertising. OK, how about handling the social media for a small company? Maybe you know someone who has a start-up, or maybe a friend of your parents has a small company. Maybe every day you walk by a local store that you have always thought could use a lot more visibility. Just approach them and ask for a non-paying internship. Tell them you would like to handle their social media campaign. Who will say no to some free help?

Figure a time frame – usually about three-four months, with a manageable number of hours a week. As this will most likely be an unpaid position, look upon it as a necessary step toward your future, and make sure you are not taken advantage of with ridiculous hours. Working via a small internship in the business sector is a superb opportunity to learn about your industry and have an EC to add to your application.

The key to getting an internship is to find a small company and ask to help for free. Don’t be afraid to highlight your strengths. If you are majoring in economics or business and are part of a business club, let them know. Don’t necessarily ask to do their books (!), but you can let them know you are a whiz at organizing. Let them know you’re hoping to both help their company grow and learn on the job.

How to Transfer to a UC from a California Community College: The Unofficial Guide by Lindy King is available on iTunes and Amazon.

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Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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