Find College Scholarships Through Your Internships

Unpaid internships may pay off after all – with a scholarship.

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Check with the career center at your college to find out how your internships can help you land scholarships.
Check with the career center at your college to find out how your internships can help you land scholarships.

You're a hardworking, dedicated student, and each week you check in with The Scholarship Coach to learn about new scholarship opportunities. As summer approaches, you're also probably searching for internships

Fortunately, some of those opportunities also come with scholarships attached.

With the slow growth of the job market adding competitive pressure on students preparing to enter the workforce, work experience can be as valuable an investment in your education as financial assistance. An internship experience in your field will help you foster new professional connections, build relationships with colleagues who can write letters of recommendation and construct a strong resume to stand out at job fairs and interviews after graduation.

[Find out which universities produce the most interns.]

Explore the following opportunities to find scholarships that include internships. We know you're up to the job!

Are you a science, technology, engineering and mathematics student? NASA is looking for students in the STEM fields to fill internship and fellowship positions each semester. They offer a "One Stop Shopping Initiative" where students can search for fellowships, internships and scholarships all at the same time.

They offer combined scholarship-internship opportunities for students from pre-college to graduate school. These internships last 10 weeks and are offered at NASA headquarters or a NASA center.

Eager to spread your wings and study abroad? World Learning is a highly reputable organization that offers global exchange programs in conjunction with many generous scholarships for high school, college and graduate students. In some of their programs, 80 percent of students who apply will receive a scholarship to help cover the cost of their program abroad.

Their diverse offerings include internships, degree and certificate programs, research projects and exchange programs, all of which address international development. The World Learning Graduate Institute has its origins as a training center for Peace Corps volunteers, and continues its commitment to empowering young leaders in global change.

[Avoid making these internship mistakes.]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers several scholarships, as well as paid and unpaid internships, to student leaders in agriculture, food science, public policy and natural resources. The USDA also offers programs specifically for empowering Hispanic students with internship and scholarship opportunities.

Many schools and student organizations offer scholarships specifically for students engaged in internship experiences. The University of Virginia provides scholarship awards for third-year students in the arts and sciences who are participating in unpaid internships.

Utah Valley University offers many generous scholarships for students receiving academic credit for their internship positions. These UVU scholarships are available for a wide range of interns, with specific funds reserved for students in government internships, nonprofit internships and general internships.

[Tweak that college resume for jobs and internships.]

Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society offers scholarships for members who complete an internship in Washington, D.C. Their scholarships are each $2,000 and are offered to students participating in summer and fall political science internships.

These are just a few examples, so be sure to check with the counseling or career development center at your college to find out how your internships, research and work experience beyond the classroom might pay off with scholarships.

Angela Frisk holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities and is a former scholarship recipient. She joined Scholarship America in 2012.