Why Do An Internship?
An internship offers a learning experience that you cannot get in a classroom, and provides you with a new perspective on your career goals and education. It builds your skills, gives you training and experience, and informs choices that shape the rest of your life. IIW alumni often describe their IIW participation as one of the best experiences they had in college, and many alumni have found that their IIW experiences have helped them network and secure employment.
Where will I intern, and how can I find an internship?
Illinois in Washington does not place students in internships, but we assist you in finding a position. We send you announcements about internship openings, notify you of organizations that work in your areas of interest, and review your cover letters and resume. There is an organization for every interest in Washington. It is important to start applying for internships as soon as possible. Ideally, you should begin applying for internships well before even applying for IIW. Some employers will make internship hiring decisions a year or more in advance, so you will want to research internship opportunities at your earliest convenience. The most common internships for IIW students are with members of Congress. You can find a list of Illinois Members of Congress at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/IL. Please check their offices’ individual websites for instructions and how and when to apply for internships. Members of Congress from other states have also hired IIW students. And, many students secure internships that are not associated with Congress. We encourage students to frequently visit websites like indeed.com, idealist.org, and usajobs.gov to search for internship positions. A list of federal agencies is available here. Finally, the IIW webpage on internships (https://washington.illinois.edu/admitted-students/internships/) discusses a variety of other options that you may wish to consider.
What will my internship schedule be like in Washington?
You will intern full-time at your internship site (for example, 9 AM to 6 PM or 8:30 AM to 5 PM), Monday through Thursday for the fall and spring semesters. For the summer semester, you will work five days/week and take classes during the evening. For the fall and spring, you will have classes on Fridays during the day and, for most spring and fall students, on Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 pm. Internships in the fall and spring semester must last at least 12 weeks, and summer internships must last at least 8 weeks. Internships must start no later than two weeks after the first day of class, and you must work at least 30 hours/week at your internship. You will work directly with your employer to set your hours and other working conditions. Please notify IIW if your internship schedule does not meet IIW requirements so that IIW can determine what adjustments, if any, can be made to accommodate your schedule.