This post is one in a five part series on securing a summer internship in college housing and residence life through the ACUHO-I’s Housing Internship Program. It is written from the perspective of a former ACUHO-I Intern. The series will walk you through the process from beginning to end providing tips and tricks along the way.
Preparing to Apply | Targeting and Applying To Schools | Accepting and Preparing for Interviews | Interviewing | Navigating Offers
Now that you’ve gained access to the internship portal and set up your profile it’s time to research and apply. Doing well in this phase can set you up for success later on. Do not stress, though, this phase of the interview process affords you with time to review and research positions you are interested in. Organization and initiative are two of the most important keys to successfully navigating the application process.
1. Check The ACUHO-I Portal Daily For New Positions
The ACUHO-I housing internship portal is an extremely helpful tool, but it does take time to get adjusted to the website. Located at the top of the portal, you will find an envelope icon and a bell icon. The envelope icon sends you to the internal messaging platform and the bell icon alerts you to any new notifications. Next to those icons you can see “Hello [Your Name]”. You can click on this if you need to make any changes to your profile. It is important to get familiar with each of these features so that you can make the search process easier.
Once your profile is published, refer back to the ACUHO-I housing internship timeline to see when candidates are able to start viewing postings. Once that date passes you can use the search box in the portal to find opportunities that interest you. When reviewing positions, if you find one interests you, click on the heart icon and the post will be added to a page of “favorites”. Using this feature will make organizing and applying to positions much easier.
New position postings will appear daily, so continue to search the portal. Make sure to check the portal frequently so you are not overwhelmed by all the new posts at once. A tip that saved me time during the search process was scheduling days and times to check for new postings. I recommend choosing a day at the beginning of the week and one towards the end of the week. Once you choose the days, set aside about an hour of your time.
2. Research The Institutions
Institutions and their locations are a major factor in decisions for many hopeful ACUHO-I interns. In addition to what the employers post in their positions, make sure to research the institutions, their departments, surrounding areas, structure, campus traditions, and communities. This will not only help you make initial decisions, but will also set you up well for potential interviews.
For most internships, you are required to move and spend a summer on-site. Whether you’re looking to go somewhere new and exciting or stay somewhere close to home, find the opportunities that will allow you to experience personal and professional growth.
Questions to reflect on:
- Am I geographically bound? Do I want (or need) to stay close to home? Do I want to go to a place that is entirely different from my previous experience?
- What type of campus am I looking for? Big? Small?
- What experiences do I want outside of the internship?
- Which experience am I lacking and which internships provide those experiences?
Check out our curated resources to help you in your ACUHO-I Summer Internship search!
3. Don’t Apply Just to Apply
There are hundreds of positions listed in the ACUHO-I housing internship portal. In the previous post in this series, we discussed making sure you have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in an internship. Having this understanding not only saves you time but also prevents you from getting overwhelmed by the hundreds of postings. It allows you to focus on opportunities that interest you. Make sure you search for opportunities that align with the goals you set for yourself. Once you identify those opportunities, do not be hesitant to apply. Be assertive and go after them.
While submitting multiple applications will increase your chances of getting an internship, avoid applying to internships that you know you cannot or will not accept. This will save you time and respect the potential employers’ time. You can use the searching and filtering tools available to you in the portal to narrow down your search.
4. Keep Track Of Where You Apply
When applying for different opportunities it is important to make sure you are staying organized throughout the process. There are many different institutions posting internships and there are different aspects to each opportunity you apply to. One way you can stay organized is to create a spreadsheet to keep track of all of your applications. This will help throughout the process–from initial application to acceptance.
When creating a tracking spreadsheet, include information such as the dates of the internship, pay, extra perks, living arrangements, and any questions or concerns you have. Having a spreadsheet helped me organize which internships best meet my needs and goals and allowed me to keep all internship opportunities details in one place.
5. Stand Out In Your Cover Letters
A cover letter is a one page letter tailored to the position you are applying to. In the ACUHO-I Housing Internship process you will have the opportunity to attach a cover letter to each of your individual applications. Cover letters offer the opportunity to communicate who you are as a candidate and why you are applying to the specific position offered. They show employers that you took the time to read the position description and demonstrate why you are interested in their opportunity. Customizing cover letters takes time, but using generic cover letters can often lead to fewer interview offers.
The next post in this series will go over accepting interviews.