When I came into my graduate program, I knew that the summer in between years I would be doing something somewhere. I began looking at summer internships, but mostly looking at the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) summer internships.
The NODA Internship Program matches orientation, transition and retention professionals and host institutions with graduate students (and sometimes undergraduates that will be entering a Higher Edu program in the fall) looking to expand their orientation experience and connections.
I knew this program would be the best fit with me because I have known people who have participated in a NODA internship before. I talked it over with them and when it came time to apply, I knew that a NODA internship was where I needed to be.
You start this process off with a general application, answering a few questions about your experiences and why you want to be a NODA intern. Then, Melanie (the NODA Internship Coordinator) has complied all of the positions for the institutions into a giant excel spreadsheet.
For me, I knew that I wanted something completely different than my current institution because that is all I have known (I completed my undergrad here as well). I took the excel sheet and if the school was private, I removed it from my search. I also wanted to be at a school with a fairly large amount of students compared to what I was used to (~4,000). Another search I looked at was if the institution provided housing for the NODA intern- trying to go somewhere far away from home I knew that I would need some extra help with housing. After this search, I was still at about 50 or so schools. Then my search reallllly began…
I made a Word document for every school still in my search and I studied those sheets in depth as well as stalked their sites that they provided and even the entire school page. I learned in a class last semester that an institution’s mission should be looked at when considering applying. After this, I finally was able to cut it in half and had about 20 or so to still cut down to a top 8.
I talked over my choices and concerns/wants/needs with my friend Austin (who was going through the same thing with applying for his NODA internship). We talked it over and I was able to come up with my top 8 schools and finally submit my application.
Now that process gets put on hold for a while (finally reaching the submit by date and the sorting the applicants to their schools). Then the contact date, where the institution can contact the applicants in which they want to interview, came and I was so nervous. BUT then I was contacted by some great schools- INCLUDING MY #1 CHOICE! Now that, was an exciting moment!
I did phone interviews with all of the schools and one school (my #1) had me do a Skype interview for a 2nd round interview (the only school that had a 2nd round). Now, a Skype INTERVIEW was a new concept for me but I was ready to make the most out of it and wear my favorite color- PINK!
Then it was time to wait….until February 13th when offers could go out. I wasn’t working that day so it made me even more nervous because I didn’t know if I was going to get an offer from anyone or not. But then it came- a phone call from my #1 school. It could be either good or bad news but in this case, it was GREAT NEWS!
I am happy to say (even though most of you know where I will be if you are reading my Facebook posts or Twitter feeds) that I accepted a position with my #1 school- The University of Alabama! ROLL TIDE!
Some of my responsibilities as the First Year Experience NODA Intern will be:
- Serve as a FYE representative during Bama Bound orientation sessions.
- Coordinate Week of Welcome (WOW) events.
- Organize assessment results, curriculum, and logistics, of Freshman Forum, a leadership program of 130 freshman students.
- Create a blueprint for an extended orientation plan.
- Projects may also include working with the transfer student support, Family Weekend events, and any communication efforts.
I am so excited for this opportunity and all of the great people that I get to meet! I am so excited for this summer- I fly out on May 6th and won’t return until Aug ust 1st. This summer is going to be a great and exciting experience! I am looking forward to every single moment that I am going to have there!
So, if you are looking to enter a Higher Ed program I highly suggest that you look into applying for a summer internship. Internships can come from the institution itself or another internship program like ACUHO-I (The Association of College and University Housing Officers – International). Make sure to know exactly want out of your experience, know what you are good at and what you need work with and it will help you to figure out what you still need. Be confident. Where ever you can gain experience- get it! Make the most of it.
Keep checking back for updates on my summer internship at The University of Alabama!