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Asked by T on November 26, 2015

Currently I am a freshman computer science major. I recently accepted a paid internship for the summer of 2016. Since most freshman don't get internships, will having an internship now significantly put me ahead of other of students when I am applying for internships for my sophomore year? Does having an internship make it easier to get one next year at a bigger company? Does having an internship pretty much guarantee getting another one?

Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on November 30, 2015

Congrats on landing an internship so early in your college career. While many freshman are not offered the opportunity to intern until their junior or senior year, they will still be competing for the same jobs you are upon graduation. Having four years of experience is certainly better than having one or two; but, rather than focusing on how long you'll be able to intern, focus on making that time count. Engage in projects, ask to join different teams, show your interest in your work and in others. It's not the time you spend having an internship, it's what goes into and comes out of those hours. Having an internship will open doors that may present future opportunities, but as in life, nothing is ever guaranteed. Work hard and go the extra mile. Good luck!! 

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Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on December 9, 2015

Congratulations on securing an internship in your freshman year! Being able to gain experience so early on in college will definitely help you down the road, but don't assume you will more easily get a second internship over your fellow students for this reason alone. Make the most of your summer internship and stay involved on campus. Take the time to truly understand the work you are doing over the summer and make the most of the opportunity. If there are special projects you can take on as an intern, take advantage of this. Seek out additional opportunities throughout the summer. Also, don't assume an internship alone will secure an internship with a larger company during your sophomore year. Some larger companies also want to see extra-curricular involvement and leadership experience. Take the time to stay involved in your community or on campus. If you have the opportunity to hold a leadership role in a student organization or another group, do it. This will make you a more well-rounded candidate and will help set you up for success throughout your time in college and after.
Good luck!

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Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on December 18, 2015

Congratulations on your internship next summer as yes, most freshman are not top candidates for internships, although this is changing rapidly.  For the next couple of years it will definately put you ahead of other freshmen, but as I mentioned more and more companies are targeting students early in their academic career.  Therefore, very quickly, the playing field will level.  That being said, getting any experience through an internship will be a big plus when you are being considered for other internships in the future, but there are no guarantees as the competition will continue to get tougher.  You will have to remain diligent in keeping your GPA up and it will also be important to continue to seek out leadership opportunities.  It is this leadership ability that will set you apart when you are eventually looking for a full time position.  I would also recommend getting your internship experience at different companies. In other words, while it may be easier to have an internship at the same company for three years, your experience will not be as diverse and you will not have had the opportunity to experience different company cultures, etc.  
Bottom line is that you are at an advantage for now, but you cannot become complacent.  More and more freshman are being offered internships and the competition will be tougher in the years ahead.  Stay diligent and continue to look for that edge.

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