Perfect Timing (for your summer internship search) – REVISITED

By Claire Klieger

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about how my experience visiting the newly opened Harry Potter World at Universal Studios over spring break (yes, I fully embrace my inner dork) resembled the frenzy of the spring internship search.  Since we’ve been seeing lots of students worried that they are “late” in the internship search game recently, it seemed appropriate to revisit this blog with some updated stats on when students actually get offers (spoiler alert: it’s not when you may think). Enjoy!

Hogwarts Castle, or as I like to call it, "Mecca."
Hogwarts Castle, or as I like to call it, “Mecca.”

…Since that section of the park was so new, our strategy was to get to the park as soon as it opened, hoping to miss some of the crowds. However, when we arrived we realized everyone else had a similar idea because the place was packed. Luckily, as the day wore on, the crowds really thinned out and we ended up having almost no wait for the HP Experience (fantastic!) or other rides. And, despite being warned to expect a two hour wait at The Three Broomsticks for lunch, we just waltzed right in and were able to be seated immediately (for the record, butter beer isn’t as tasty as one would hope).

Why regale you with old stories from my geeky spring break? It turns out that the internship search season can feel much the same way. Everyone thinks gee, I have to get started really early or all of the “good” opportunities will be taken. And there is the similar early semester frenzy of OCR. But the truth is that lots of really fantastic opportunities don’t become available until later in the semester. Most students don’t find out about their summer plans that early. In fact, hot off the presses, the summer 2012 survey data shows that for freshman and sophomores across all schools, 52% received their offers in April or later. Or, in other words, only 22% of freshman and sophomores receive their offers before March. While it is true that some industries tend to make offers earlier (financial services peaks with internship offers in February), many do not typically make offers until later. For example, for internships in both communications and with non-profits, the peak time period for offers was April. For more details on timelines for offers, summer salary trends by industry and more, check out our newly posted summer survey reports for additional details.

So don’t feel like just because spring break has come and gone and it feels like the semester’s end is approaching faster than you could eat a chocolate cauldron cake from HoneyDukes (which, as I deliciously discovered, is pretty fast) that you don’t have options. Now is the time when new internships in a variety of fields are being posted daily. It’s time to get back on PennLink, iNet and take advantage of other internship search tools because great things are still out there. If you want help getting your internship search back on track, touch base with us in Career Services.

Just for fun, here are other ways your internship search may resemble the theme park experience:

Beware unexpected bumps in your internship search!
Beware unexpected bumps in your internship search!

Warning! Those with heart conditions should not ride – the search process itself can be very stressful so it’s important to remember to pace yourself and break the search into more manageable, smaller tasks.

Approximate wait time: variable – Sometimes you may hear back about an application with surprising speed and at other times the wait can long and often there is no way to predict how long it will take. Makes you wish there was a “fast pass” for internship offer news, doesn’t it?

Attraction Description: This is a high-speed ride that includes sudden and dramatic acceleration, climbing, tilting, and dropping. You will be turned completely upside-down several times. Your search will often feel like an emotional roller coaster, filled with unexpected turns, some good, some bad, some (possibly) terrifying but if you’re buckled in correctly, even if you are compelled to scream at times, the search will hopefully come to fruitful and joyous conclusion.

Author: Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger is an Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates. She earned her Ed.D. from Penn and did her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. Fun Fact: Claire spent 11 years in the Middle East and North Africa.