Undergraduate Research and Internships

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fourwinds

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Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby fourwinds » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:42 pm

I am a junior at New College of Florida studying economics. I'll graduate with my BA in May 2018. I'm interested in applying to law school for the Fall 2018 term. I may defer admission for a year, but I'll still be applying directly after undergrad / submitting applications during my senior year. Thought I'd throw all of that out there to establish my timeline.

I have two questions. First, about undergraduate research. My college has a period called "independent study projects" where students spend the entire month of January doing something on their own; we don't have classes. Most students either research a topic they're interested in (alongside a faculty member), do an internship, learn a new skill, etc. I am debating between whether or not I should try to get an internship at a law firm or government agency or if I should spend January doing some economics research with a professor. Which would look better to law school admissions counselors?

My second question regards summer internships. I definitely want to spend my summer doing an internship at a law firm. I'm looking for a firm in the Tampa metro area. Would it be valuable to look at other internships as well, such as government agencies or maybe even an accounting firm or bank (I'm interested in corporate / finance / tax law)? When should I start applying to these opportunities? Obviously I shouldn't wait until May to apply for an internship that begins in June. When is too early to start inquiring about them? Will it be common for me to be able to find paid internships as an undergraduate?

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spqr351

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby spqr351 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:02 pm

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Last edited by spqr351 on Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fourwinds

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby fourwinds » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:10 pm

spqr351 wrote:Start looking for them now. They won't be posted on any boards, but speaking as one who has hired interns before, employers start thinking about them long before you hear about any. A few well-placed emails to places that interest you may save both you and the hiring managers a headache.


Should I start looking now or should I start sending emails now? It seems a bit early to be inquiring about June 2017.

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spqr351

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby spqr351 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:21 pm

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Last edited by spqr351 on Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WamBamThankYouMaam

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby WamBamThankYouMaam » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:59 pm

This is a random question because when I was considering undergrad colleges I looked at the New College for a little bit. How exactly does applying to different graduate schools work there? I remember seeing that they don't give grades, just written evaluations. Would your LSAT be, even more so, the determining factor in your cycle?

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RamTitan

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby RamTitan » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:57 pm

spqr351 wrote:
fourwinds wrote:
Should I start looking now or should I start sending emails now? It seems a bit early to be inquiring about June 2017.


Maybe you could wait a month or two, but definitely start before Thanksgiving. They might tell you that they haven't even started thinking about it yet, and that's probably true. But when you ask when you should contact them again, they'll tell you. When you get back to them in February or whenever, they may not be waiting for your call, but if you make a positive impression in October, they'll remember when you remind them who you are... ESPECIALLY if it's a smaller company or office. Initiative goes a long, long way. I have no idea how they'd react in the Big Leagues, or what they're looking for, but there's a lot of value in working in the small economy where most of the country works anyway.

I'd also suggest reaching out two weeks-ish in advance of major deadlines (Tax, election day, fundraising, whatever) when they'll be busy enough to want a little help, but not so swamped as to be annoyed by your cold call.

This is excellent advice that should definitely be adhered to

fourwinds

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby fourwinds » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:51 am

WamBamThankYouMaam wrote:This is a random question because when I was considering undergrad colleges I looked at the New College for a little bit. How exactly does applying to different graduate schools work there? I remember seeing that they don't give grades, just written evaluations. Would your LSAT be, even more so, the determining factor in your cycle?


Unfortunately, yes. My transcript is literally just a list of classes that I took at New College. We also have written evaluations, which are basically a few paragraphs written by the professor to describe how we did in the class, how we could improve, etc. The evaluations aren't included with the transcripts by default, so law schools have to request these on a class-by-class basis. By default, they get a list of the courses that I have taken and that's all. So that makes my LSAT score all the more important.

It doesn't seem to matter, though. I only know three students from the class that just graduated in May 2016 that are going to law school. One is at UPenn, another at NYU, and the third at Notre Dame. I'm sure there are other students that went to law school; these are just the only three that I know about. And they're all going to great schools. I'm not sure about the other two, but I know the girl going to NYU was an international studies major. I'm not sure about any of their LSAT scores.

fourwinds

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby fourwinds » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:54 am

RamTitan wrote:
spqr351 wrote:
fourwinds wrote:
Should I start looking now or should I start sending emails now? It seems a bit early to be inquiring about June 2017.


Maybe you could wait a month or two, but definitely start before Thanksgiving. They might tell you that they haven't even started thinking about it yet, and that's probably true. But when you ask when you should contact them again, they'll tell you. When you get back to them in February or whenever, they may not be waiting for your call, but if you make a positive impression in October, they'll remember when you remind them who you are... ESPECIALLY if it's a smaller company or office. Initiative goes a long, long way. I have no idea how they'd react in the Big Leagues, or what they're looking for, but there's a lot of value in working in the small economy where most of the country works anyway.

I'd also suggest reaching out two weeks-ish in advance of major deadlines (Tax, election day, fundraising, whatever) when they'll be busy enough to want a little help, but not so swamped as to be annoyed by your cold call.

This is excellent advice that should definitely be adhered to


In my initial "cold calls" to local firms, should I send a cold email instead, that way there's a record of when I originally contacted them? Send an email with a follow-up call in a few days? Or should I just walk into the firms? What's the best way to make a good impression?

cavalier1138

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:09 am

fourwinds wrote:
RamTitan wrote:
spqr351 wrote:
fourwinds wrote:
Should I start looking now or should I start sending emails now? It seems a bit early to be inquiring about June 2017.


Maybe you could wait a month or two, but definitely start before Thanksgiving. They might tell you that they haven't even started thinking about it yet, and that's probably true. But when you ask when you should contact them again, they'll tell you. When you get back to them in February or whenever, they may not be waiting for your call, but if you make a positive impression in October, they'll remember when you remind them who you are... ESPECIALLY if it's a smaller company or office. Initiative goes a long, long way. I have no idea how they'd react in the Big Leagues, or what they're looking for, but there's a lot of value in working in the small economy where most of the country works anyway.

I'd also suggest reaching out two weeks-ish in advance of major deadlines (Tax, election day, fundraising, whatever) when they'll be busy enough to want a little help, but not so swamped as to be annoyed by your cold call.

This is excellent advice that should definitely be adhered to


In my initial "cold calls" to local firms, should I send a cold email instead, that way there's a record of when I originally contacted them? Send an email with a follow-up call in a few days? Or should I just walk into the firms? What's the best way to make a good impression?


The best way to make a good impression is to not obsess over the method of communication you use.

It's 2016. Send an e-mail. Or call. No one cares.

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spqr351

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby spqr351 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:46 pm

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Last edited by spqr351 on Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LawschoolHopeful2k16

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby LawschoolHopeful2k16 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:28 pm

fourwinds wrote:
spqr351 wrote:Start looking for them now. They won't be posted on any boards, but speaking as one who has hired interns before, employers start thinking about them long before you hear about any. A few well-placed emails to places that interest you may save both you and the hiring managers a headache.


Should I start looking now or should I start sending emails now? It seems a bit early to be inquiring about June 2017.


Honestly, at least research the companies you'd be interested that are in your area and some of the big ones too. And it probably would only help if you contacted them to ask if they take summer interns and when the application period for that is. A lot of the best places have application deadlines of Jan 1 or even earlier, and you want to make sure you know the deadline so you can submit yours well before then.

Also, to find a paid internship, which is really tough, especially for non STEM majors, look at the larger companies and places that aren't necessarily in your field. Like Google or Amazon or Morgan Stanley sometimes have a few intern positions that someone without a STEM focus can land as long as they spin their application to show how their major is at least sort of related.

LawschoolHopeful2k16

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Re: Undergraduate Research and Internships

Postby LawschoolHopeful2k16 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:37 pm

Also, for the January thing I'd say you should do the research. Not only will a one month internship be hard to find, you also won't learn much from only a month since it will take a chunk of time to get up to speed on what you're supposed to be doing, how the company operates, etc.

As for where to intern, besides the type of company/organization, you should also consider how hands on the experience will be and what types of tasks you'll do. A place thats smaller, but let's you get involved in projects and client deliverables will teach you a lot more, and often look better on your résumé, than a position at a more prestigious company where you just grab coffee and file papers.

Also, I've heard that interning at a law firm doesn't even look that great to many law schools because so much of the actual law related work isnt something that an unqualified intern can do. So they know that you filed papers all day because you sure as he'll weren't representing a client in court.



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