Q: When is the application period for upcoming internships?
The application period for the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program runs at the end of every Winter Quarter (generally through the month of March), and internship matches are made in the Spring Quarter for opportunities available in the subsequent academic year.
This means that students applying for internship positions in Winter 2018 will be matched with internship opportunities for the Fall 2018, Winter 2019, and Spring 2019 Quarters.
Q: Why is the application period so early?
The SPP understands that we are asking for students to plan in advance when applying to the Undergraduate Internship Program. However, the application process is set up in this way in order to accommodate the needs of our partner organizations, as many of them are government agencies and require advance notice about new interns so they can complete the necessary preparations to "hire" our students. Many of these agencies are also required to complete background checks on new interns, and this process can take many weeks.
In summary, the time in between the application period and when students start their internships exists to give our partner organizations enough time to properly plan and prepare to onboard our student interns. While this does require additional planning on the side of our students, the process allows the SPP to ensure that SPP Interns interns are getting the best possible internship experience they can through our partners.
Q: Do I need to be a public policy student in order to apply for the program?
No, all UCR undergraduate students may apply to the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program. However, preference will be given to students who are majoring in public policy, as these students are required to complete a policy-related internship before they graduate and are more likely to possess the policy-related skills necessary to complete these internship assignments.
Students from other majors who are applying to the program should read through the program requirements carefully before applying and make sure that they possess the necessary skills and background required to complete a public policy internship. Non-public policy majors may make an appointment with the SPP Internship Program Coordinator if they would like additional guidance on applying to the program.
Q: Do I need to have a certain GPA or student standing in order to apply for the program?
There is no minimum GPA requirement for students to apply to the program. Students who have below a 3.0 in-major GPA, however, might want to meet with the SPP Internship Program Coordinator prior to submitting their application to make sure that this program is the right fit for them.
Students of all levels (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior) who are going to be enrolled as a student in the subsequent year may apply to the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program, although students who are further along in their degree programs will be given slight preference. However, all students must be in good academic standing in order to be considered for the program.
Q: I am a senior who will be graduating in the Spring Quarter right after the application period. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately, students who will graduate before the subsequent academic year are not eligible to apply for the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program. To participate in the program, students are required to enroll in the PBPL 198i - Independent Internship in Public Policy class and must complete their internship for academic credit. Students who will be graduating will not be able to enroll in this course and so are not eligible to apply for the program.
Students who are planning on graduating should take advantage of the services offered through the UCR Career Center and on the SPP Virtual Career Resource Library to begin preparing for their post-graduation job searches.
Q: How many academic credits will I receive from participating in the program?
Once accepted into the program, students are required to enroll in the PBPL 198i - Independent Internship in Public Policy class and complete their internship for academic credit. By default, students receive 4 academic units for completing this course, but students who complete longer internship opportunities (either complete more than 8 - 10 hours/week or complete two-quarter internships) may be eligible to earn more.
Q: Will my application be considered if I submit after the priority deadline?
All applications that are received on or before the priority deadline for the upcoming year's program will be reviewed and considered. Applications that are received after the priority deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend upon the needs of our partner organizations.
For example, an organization may request an additional intern after the priority deadline, and if all students who applied by the priority deadline are matched by that point, we may consider applications that came in after the deadline for that specific opportunity.
Q: It looks like some internship opportunities last for one quarter, while others last for two. Are two-quarter internships more competitive? Is one option better than the other?
The competitiveness of internship opportunities will always be based on the number of students interested in each opportunity offered for that program period, and so two-quarter internships are not necessarily going to be more competitive than one-quarter internships. Because the SPP strives to produce many different types of internships through our Partner Organizations, the hope is that no one internship opportunity becomes outrageously competitive, but of course, the competitiveness of specific internships will always be subject to student interest in each applicant pool.
While two-quarter internships require more of a time commitment than one-quarter internships, students who are able to intern longer with an organization generally have more opportunities to network with those working in the organization, receive more in-depth and meaningful work assignments, and have a better chance of learning a lot about their host organization and its work. However, the SPP recognizes that two-quarter internships are not possible for every student, which is why one-quarter internships are also offered.
Q: What happens if my application is rejected outright, and I'm not invited to an interview? Does this mean I will not be able to complete an internship as part of the program?
If you are not invited to complete an interview after you submit an application, this means that our review committee decided that you were not a good fit for the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program at this time. You are more than welcome to reapply in a subsequent year, although students who are reapplying to the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program are strongly recommended to meet one-on-one with the SPP Internship Program Coordinator to discuss how to improve their applications before reapplying.
Q: I've applied to the program and have been invited to complete an interview. What should I expect, and how can I prepare?
The SPP conducts second round interviews with student applicants in order to get a sense of each student beyond the program application. The SPP Career Services Team uses the interview as a chance to gain a better understanding of each student's strengths, challenges, and policy interests. The interview is instrumental in allowing the SPP Career Services Team to match each student with an internship opportunity, which is determined by both the interest of the student and the needs of the partner organization.
Applicants who are invited to complete an interview with the SPP Career Services Team will receive more details in the email they receive about the interview process and next steps, but generally, the interviews occur 2 - 4 weeks after the application period's priority deadline, and students should plan for their interview to last about 30 minutes. The interviews are not nearly as formal as a real internship or job interview would be, but students should still plan to "dress for success" and treat the interview process as professionally as possible.
Q: If I'm invited in for an interview, does that mean I am guaranteed an internship?
The SPP tries very hard to only invite students in for interviews only if we are fairly certain that we will be able to match those students with one of our internship opportunities. However, in some rare cases, the SPP Career Services Team may need to use an interview to determine whether one student versus another is better suited for an internship position. Therefore, students should not assume that being invited in for an interview automatically means that they will be matched with an internship (and should consequently approach the interview process as professionally as possible).
Q: What should I do if I've been matched with an internship, but it wasn't one of my top choices, and I don't want to do it?
All students who submit an application to the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program sign an agreement form saying that once they are selected with an internship match, they will complete their internship assignment even if it wasn't one of their top three choices. We expect all students who have been matched with an internship opportunity to honor this commitment.
Q: What should I do if I've been matched with an internship, but something has happened between my match and my start date, and I'm no longer to complete the internship?
All students who submit an application to the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program sign an agreement form saying that once they are selected with an internship match, they will complete their internship assignment even if it wasn't one of their top three choices. However, the SPP recognizes that unforeseen circumstances outside of our students' control do happen and may prevent our students from fulfilling their academic goals. If you are worried about your ability to complete your internship, please contact the SPP Internship Program Coordinator as soon as possible to troubleshoot your situation.
Q: Is the "Pre-Internship Orientation" mandatory?
Yes, the "Pre-Internship Orientation" is mandatory for all students who will complete an internship through the SPP Undergraduate Internship Program. Students who fail to complete the orientation will not be allowed to start their internships and will be banned from re-applying to the program in a later year.