Young White female with blonde curly bob in office with colleagues in background

Important Steps to Succeed Before, During, and After Your Internship

Internships can lead to great things, but only if you make the most of them. Here’s what you should do throughout your internship to make a great impression!

Starting a new internship can be scary with all the new people, expectations, and responsibilities. But interning is a great way to gain experience, work on your leadership skills, and get a leg up on the competition, whether it’s for college admission or the postgrad job search. To get the most out of your internship, you’ll want to make a great impression. Here’s what you should do to ensure you have a successful internship experience.

The first day of your internship

Before you start your internship, you should research the company and find out what clothes are appropriate; some offices want employees to dress to impress, while others are more casual, so don’t be afraid to email your supervisor with questions. Then on the first day, find your boss and formally introduce yourself if you haven’t met in person already. Showing this initiative is a great way to impress your internship leaders and establish a good reputation early on in your workplace. Also remember that you’re there to learn new things; you’re not going to know everything, so asking questions shows your advisors that you care about doing your job correctly. Don’t be afraid of what others think of you; instead, focus on being the best you can be and aim for constant improvement.

Related: 7 Things to Do on the First Day of a New Job

Throughout your internship

It’s important to remember that an internship will look good on your résumé, but most of all, it’s good for you too. Be willing to accept assignments and learn from them, no matter how mundane they may seem. Also continue to ask questions and reflect to improve your future performance. After you’ve been in your position for a couple of weeks, you’ll want to ask your supervisor for feedback. Again, the purpose of an internship is to learn, so asking for feedback on your work and areas in which you can improve will give you a new perspective from someone more experienced in your field of interest. This can also help you determine if this field and type of work are right for you.

After receiving feedback, this is a chance to revise and implicate that advice to improve your skills. Show your advisors that you’re retaining the information they’re giving you. Practicing hard and soft skills in the workplace is helpful when you’re in college or trade school and need to employ those skills in an educational field. It’s also important to make friends and connections with your colleagues. Today’s society is all about networking—the more people you know, the more people you can meet and the more opportunities you can find. Making a good impression with a large group of people can connect you to many useful networks in your future, so don’t neglect this important part of the internship process.

After your internship

For high school interns, colleges want to know about your internship experience. They also want to know about you, your work ethic, and your personality. They can find all this out through letters of recommendation. Asking a trusted person—such as a mentor from the place where you interned—if they would be willing to write you a letter in the future is an amazing way to put yourself in a good light with colleges while highlighting your strengths and proving your accountability. This is also important for college interns who’ll be looking for jobs after they graduate.

Finally, use your internship experience to your advantage! You did a hard thing, and you learned from that thing, so use it. Apply the skills you learned to your daily life and write about your experience. Tell colleges or interviewers how the experience affected you and why this field is your passion.

Related: 5 Strategies to Turn Your Internship Into Your First Job

While internships are educational experiences that typically remain professional, the most important thing is to be yourself. Colleges and employers want to know who you are. Show them the real you, including your quirks, talents, and weaknesses. Most of all, express your passion while showing advisors that you care and are willing to work hard for your dreams. With confidence, respect, and dignity, you’ll succeed on the first day of your internship and beyond.

Wondering what you might do as an intern? Learn all about it with our article on Types of College Internships and What They're Really Like.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Gracie O'Brian

Gracie O'Brian

Gracie O'Brian is a high school freshman residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She's a part of her school's swim, speech and debate, and tennis teams. During her free time, Gracie enjoys reading and crocheting while watching TV. She also loves hanging out with her hedgehog, Nala, and going on walks with her dog, Hazel. Gracie works as a junior florist at her local flower shop. She hopes that being a CollegeXpress Student Writer will offer insight to other aspiring college students! 


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2019

My favorite feature of CollegeXpress is the scholarship search. As someone going out of state for college, I needed all the financial help I could get, and CollegeXpress helped me easily find scholarships I could apply for to help fund my education.

Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress really helped me by letting me know the colleges ratings and placements. They gave me accurate information on my colleges tuition rates and acceptance. They even let me know the ration between students and faculty and the diversity of the college. Overall they told me everything I needed and things I didnt even think I needed to know about my college and other colleges I applied for.

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

Caitlin Eaton

Caitlin Eaton

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2021

I first discovered CollegeXpress during my sophomore year of high school while researching colleges that interested me. My SAT prep class the following year further familiarized me with the opportunities available through the organization. CX has personally helped me by exposing me to a diverse selection of schools as well as scholarships and life tips that have provided valuable guidance in my college search.

This scholarship will help me adjust to college life without worrying as much about tuition. This gives me more room to truly explore and benefit from all aspects of higher education. I plan to study Conservation Biology and work protecting species/ecosystems. I’m looking forward to getting field experience and seeing firsthand the problems research is solving.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Elon University

Elon, NC

Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, IL

Ohio University

Athens, OH