Parents and Families


As your student settles into the Winter semester, there is likely a big question on their mind: what should I do this summer? For many students, it’s all about one word: “internship”. What is an internship? Should I get one? How do I start looking? The University Career Center (UCC), and other career offices on campus, are available to help your student navigate through the summer planning process.

The word “internship” usually calls to mind a summer experience spent working in an office, but gaining exposure to interesting professions can be creatively defined. Students, especially first years, may need to bolster their skills by considering part-time summer jobs, volunteer opportunities, or job shadowing. These experiences are great chances to build skills and determine “career fit” for students early on in their studies. For many students later in their studies, internships are an important way to gain valuable experience. 

It’s important to remember that internships don’t all look the same. For example, industries usually dictate the hiring timeline. Finance and consulting often begin their processes very early, while communication organizations and the public sector often post opportunities closer to their desired start date. It is most helpful for students to reflect on what they are looking for and then learn about the hiring norms for that industry. 

Mary Sheffieck, a recent graduate with an industrial and operations engineering major, reflected on her summer internship in this way: 

“My internship was impactful because I got relevant work experience and realized what I wanted to do after graduation. I recommend that students get internships to not only get relevant work experience, but also to determine if this type of work is what they would like to do after graduation.” 

If your student is looking for a summer opportunity, here are some of the campus resources to get started:

Handshake- Find thousands of jobs and internships posted by employers interested in U-M students. Your student can log in here.

UCAN- Networking is an important step when looking for jobs and internships. UCAN (the University Career Alumni Network) makes networking with alumni easy. Students can find 7,000+ alumni who have volunteered to offer their expertise by visiting:

Winter Job and Internship Fair - The Winter Job and Internship Career Fair is on February 6th at the Michigan League. 

Internship Labs - Students can get personalized assistance from the University Career Center staff at  Internship Labs, offered 2-3 times each week. These drop-in sessions help students get started, or re-started, on their internship searches. 

School/College career offices -  In addition to the UCC, each school/college has staff and resources to help students with their career questions. Encourage your student to check in with their school/college to learn more about available resources.

To help Student Life continue making a difference in students' lives, please consider making a gift.