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As a summer internship can have a great impact on your future career, choosing the best one for you is important. An internship opportunity that relates to your major not only provides resume-worthy industry experience before you graduate, but gives you a "real world" taste of the work environment rather than just classroom knowledge. Taking part in a summer internship in a work culture and industry you plan to be a part of can help you decide whether you still want to continue with that career direction.
If at all possible, meet with your school's internship adviser up to a year before the summer you hope to intern in your field. If you plan on looking for international internships, you may even want to begin earlier that that. Many internships are offered on a yearly basis. If you make appointments to meet with the adviser just before, during and immediately after the current internships you're interested in are running, he or she may be able to offer you new information as well as advice based on comments from recent interns or employers.
Being enthusiastic and networking with the summer internship adviser may work in your favor, as it will show him or her your high level of interest in the program. He or she may then think of you if any new internships open up in your field. However, you should be sure to be very respectful of the adviser's time and limitations in helping you find an internship program.
Most schools expect students to at least start looking for their summer internship by searching the school's database. When you find any internship opportunity that interests you, it's crucial to apply as soon as possible while also meeting all of the employer's requirements to get a leg up on your competition. After all, a summer internship may lead to a job offer, so your career may be at stake if you can't get your foot in the door of a company for which you hope to work. Alternatively, you may find, after you do receive an internship, that you want to pursue another career field. Either way, summer internships can certainly have a valuable impact on your career planning decisions.
Some students choose two summer internships rather than one, but this depends on both luck and timing. Some students don't end up receiving any summer internship due to competition from other students. It may also be impossible to combine two internships during a summer because of the length or hours of one or both of the internships.