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Intern/Co-op FAQs: Part Two

This entry is the second of a two-part series addressing frequently asked questions during survey course presentations. For more FAQs visit part one HERE.

How do freshmen go about looking for internships and co-ops while having no prior experience?

While you may not have a previous internship, it is likely that you still have a number of valuable experiences. Part-time positions, campus and community organizations, personal and academic projects, and volunteer experiences help develop transferable (and even technical) skills. Visit ECS to ensure your resume makes the most of these and to develop a plan for your internship/ co-op search. 

What are some ways you can make yourself stand out to potential employers your first two years?

Explore ways to enhance your engineering skills to set yourself apart. You may not get in depth with your major engineering coursework within your first two years, so taking the initiative to seek out events, challenges, and projects can help you stand out. Open source projects, innovate-a-thons, challenges, research, and even volunteering can offer a chance to test your engineering acumen. Visit the ECS Events, Handshake Events, and ECS Other Opportunities listings to get started. 

What factors should we have in mind when deciding on internships or co-ops?

When deciding between several options you will want to consider the role, projects, company culture/ reputation, career potential, and industry trends. Other important considerations can include location, internship activities, and living arrangements. We recommend that you reflect on what is important to you and consider offers based on how they compare to your needs. You can also find company reviews within Handshake on each employer's profile.

When is the right time to begin applying for internships?

Since approximately 70% of on-campus recruitment happens in the fall, that is a great time to start. This will allow you to take advantage of that activity and attend spring events if you continue to look. In the spring we welcome employers onto campus for the SWE Fair, Spring Into Your Career Fair, and Intern Week. Engaging in those events, as well as considering a Job Shadow, are effective strategies to use while searching in the spring.

Is there a requirement for on-campus interview events?

To participate in on-campus interviews (OCI), you must be registered with ECS. While on-campus interviews often occur around career fairs, our office actually hosts them September through November and late January through March. OCI opportunities are listed within Handshake in the Jobs tab under "On Campus Interviews".

How many co-ops/ internships should I apply to?

We recommend applying to 30-40 positions each semester you are searching. By ensuring a mix of company sizes, industries, and locations you will yield the best results.

Why do ECE/ CSE majors in Washington and California make so much more than the average?

There are several factors that are considered when determining compensation. The demand for a particular major, industry conventions, and cost of living are just a few of the factors taken into consideration. With the concentration of large technology companies in the Seattle and San Francisco areas, as well as the high cost of living, offers for these locations tend to be higher. Learn more about cost of living HERE and remember to always report your offers.

How long will I have access to Handshake?

Once registered, you maintain full access to Handshake for the duration of your time as a student and after graduation. You may meet with Engineering Career Services for up to 1 year post-graduation.

How do I make an appointment? Do meetings need to be scheduled far ahead?

To schedule a 30-minute appointment with ECS, you will first want to register. Once registered you can call (614-292-6651) or stop into ECS (199 Hitchcock Hall) to schedule an appointment. We are generally able to get you in within a week; however, during busy recruitment times leading up to career fairs it can take 2-3 weeks for scheduled appointments. Drop-ins do not require an appointment, but do fill at a first-come, first served basis.

"There is no passion to be found in playing small--in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela


About the author

Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.