How the TWC Internship Placement Process Works
Please keep in mind that most placement interviews take place 3-6 weeks prior to the start of the internship. If you applied during the early or competitive ranges, there could be a long wait until your placement process begins, during which time you may be asked to complete agency-specific applications (large federal agencies require applicants to complete their own internal applications in addition to the TWC application). As you wait, you can monitor your progress on TWC's accepted student website, complete housing forms, and select your TWC class.
Once you are officially accepted, you will be sent a TWC username & password so that you can go into another section of the TWC website and monitor your account. You can see exactly to what agencies your application materials are sent. Monitor this regularly and begin to research agencies and employers listed there. This site is also where you will find your housing agreement, pay your housing deposit, and view the TWC Course Guide for your evening class.
As part of your acceptance, you will be assigned to one of the staff members of TWC's Office of Internship Site Relations, who will work with you individually to find a placement that meets your goals. This person will send you a survey called KSI: Knowledge, Skills, and Interests, and conduct an informal interview via phone or Skype. This will ensure that TWC finds the best possible placement match for you. This person will become your main contact at TWC until about two weeks before you arrive, and will act as your agent, sending your materials around to offices and agencies that would be a good fit. Please keep them informed of any changes to your plans, goals, or requests. Actual placements don't really start happening until 3-6 weeks before you are scheduled to arrive in Washington DC. Even if you applied for the earliest of deadlines, do not expect any employers to start contacting you until about 3-6 weeks before check-in.
As your TWC semester nears, internship site supervisors who have reviewed your materials and think you'd be a good intern for their agency or office will call you to schedule a telephone interview. It is vital that you monitor your referrals online and RESEARCH each employer and interviewer BEFORE the interview. Be as prepared and as professional as you would be for an in-office job interview. (Take advantage of any offer to do a mock phone interview with TWC staff!!) Arrange the interview during private time in a place where you know you have a good connection and will not be disturbed.
Employers want to know:
- What are your goals for the internship?
- What are you passionate about?
- Do you want to learn? What skills do you wish to gain?
- What is your work ethic and character? Are you willing to work hard, take initiative, ask questions?
- Will you fit in? Many of these offices are small, and you will be working with a team of professionals who spend all day together. Making sure your personality won't clash with theirs is a big part of the seeing if you fit in. So, be yourself!
- Then...ASK QUESTIONS! Have some ready, take notes. Show that you have done your homework, ask about specific projects you may be assigned, or what a typical day may be like. The TWC accepted student site has a sample of possible questions, start there but also come up with your own.
Do not feel like you have to accept the first offer that comes along, or that you have to say "yes" or "no" on the spot. Graciously thank the person for the offer, and ask for some time to discuss it with family or your advisor. Employers usually expect this and want you to make a good decision. Don't worry about declining an offer if it's not a good fit or not what you want. A week is usually about the most time they can wait for an answer, but every office is unique.
Your UNH TWC Liaison will hold a meeting with all outgoing students to go over paperwork and get you registered for SCSC 682.01: Washington Internship, and your one independent study course, for 4 credits. We will also complete financial aid paperwork, and review other expectations at this time.
TWC has set times for check-in and orientation. It's your job to arrange transportation so that you can participate in these required activities. Washington DC is very easy to navigate using public transportation.
Do NOT expect to get typical academic holidays off, and there is no "spring break" in the professional world. Assume you are to be there full-time, every week for the entire length of your internship.
While you are in DC, remember that you always have safety nets:
- Your TWC Program Advisor for your internship program
- Your Internship Site Supervisor
- Your TWC Faculty Member
- TWC Student Life staff
- And, your UNH TWC Liaison
If you have any questions, problems, or concerns, bring them to the appropriate person in a timely fashion!