May 10, 2013 4 Comments
I’ve been meeting with students with grade point averages above 3.7 who have been denied admission to the UC campus of their choice due to the quality of their extracurricular activities and/or the lack of these activities.
With summer approaching, I wanted to share some of my own personal experiences with summer internships to help you decide what types of internships are available and which ones may be best for you. I’ll also have a summer program announcement below.
When I was a student at UC Berkeley, I worked an average of 25-30 hours a week, often working 2 different jobs. (Did you know that the average UC Berkeley applicant works 20 hours a week?) My jobs varied from a work-study job in the photo ID department, the campus bookstore, a poster store on Telegraph, a cookie store, a real estate office, and a couple of banks. I essentially took the first job I could to make money–fast.
Although my work experience helped me with professional transferable skills, I quickly realized I needed to search for internships that were aligned with causes that were important to me and would help showcase my interest in education and social justice on my graduate school applications.
Here are my 3 internships, how I found them, and how they helped strengthen my interests in education & social justice:
(1) My first internship was part of a class at UC Berkeley, where I had the opportunity to outreach to high school students in Bay Area schools with low college rates. Since I was already working 30 hours a week, I needed to make sure I could get college credit for my internship. This internship helped me realize I wanted to work with students directly. I found out about the internship through a student club I joined. Peralta offers college credit (AA degree applicable and CSU transferable) through COPED courses.
(2) My second internship was part of a UCLA Summer Sessions program, where I took a History of Hawaii course at University of Hawaii, Manoa and interned at the university outreach office, where I conducted research on the connection between local Hawaiian games and learning styles. I always searched for information, and in this case I checked the bulletin boards at the Ethnic Studies Dept. and found the announcement. It was financially challenging, but I don’t think I have to tell you why 7 weeks in Hawaii was worth it – I was able to participate in a research project, which was critical for graduate school, learned about my grandmother’s birthplace, and of course, I had fun!
(3) My third internship was a summer program where I served as an intern for then State Senator and the most recent Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis and conducted research on government contracts in the Filipino community in the Los Angeles area. I am a voracious reader and infoholic, so I was bound to find this internship through a local newspaper. I learned so much about the legislative process through this internship, but most of all, I realized how hands on our elected officials can truly be and how they can help constituents. I advocated for a prison inmate, visited senior citizen centers to listen to senior citizens’ concerns, attended various community events representing the Senator and more! Two summers later, I was hired to coordinate the summer program.
If you would like me to conduct a workshop in the Fall on how to enhance your UC applications with the best internships, jobs, and other extra-curricular activities, please leave a comment below.
In the meantime, check out the UC Berkeley Career Center internship website and this upcoming UCLA summer program for transfer students. You can also attend the Merritt College Job Fair on Thursday, May 14th from 10 am - 2 pm in R110. The employers may also have internship programs.