Internships are a very effective way to gain real-life experience and make connections to programs, materials, and classes at the College. Additionally, internships have the potential to create long term employment opportunities. For example, at several prestigious financial firms, 80% of the summer interns returned to the firm as permanent employees. If you have already identified companies you want to work for, applying for a summer internship would make perfect sense. You will need to draw up a successful plan to get the internship, which can be challenging. Act early! Become familiar with the resources available at Career Services and subscribe to the CS internship mailing list. Also, speak with other students who have already had an internship.
Even if you do not have a clear idea what to do upon graduation, you should start your search early. In fact, you will need more time to find out what you want to do, before applying for an internship/job. Again, Career Services is the place to start with. You may also consider more than one internship experience so that you can compare them.
In our department, internships and mentored research are considered capstone courses. As a result, there are requirements shared by these two distinct types of experience, e.g., paper writing and presentation. Some of you might feel that the posted internship process is rather complicated and tedious. However, the process is supposed to reflect real-life situations where various skills are required. According to informal feedback from the employers, the learning goals listed on our internship evaluation form (Word doc format, or PDF format) are close to the qualities they seek in their employees. If you cannot deal with a process like this, you will need to recharge yourself and develop the basic skills necessary to undertake the internship process successfully.
Once you gain confidence in your ability to accomplish your goals (including the ones you identify yourself for your own internship experience), you should be able to apply the skills to a diverse range of professional and academic activities. Your life will be more like a series of complex problem-solving tasks, rather than a series of information retrieval or test taking tasks.