Colleges are great for networking, but the rubber meets the road with internships.
They allow for on-the-job paid training --sometimes paid -- that is infinitely more valuable than listening to a lecturer. There’s only so much you learn sitting in a chair all day.
This is because there are some things about a job you simply can’t account for until doing it. What sounds like the perfect gig in theory might be a slog in application.
If you know for sure what you want to do, internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and start impressing the right people.
For those majoring in political science, the internships aren’t as obvious as they are for someone majoring in journalism.
To clear the way a little bit and make your life easier, we’ve assembled the top political science internships currently available.
How We Chose Our Ratings
As with any collection of internships, their merit is going to rely highly on the proclivities of the individual. This means that not all of the listed
internships will be suited to your specific needs and wants. For this reason, we made the effort to thoroughly described each internship, so you can ultimately decide for yourself.
Nonetheless, there were some aspects of theinternships that can be appraised objectively. One such aspect is pay. While pay shouldn’t be the primary reason for choosing an internship, it’s certainly important to many college students, who aren’t exactly taking baths in hundred-dollar bills.
We also paid close attention to the merit of the organization offering the internship. Politics aside, some institutions are more entrenched in the political game than in political philosophy, and if you’re a political science, the ideas are probably more important to you than the reality show.
It should be noted that because these organizations are based in politics, each has its own political philosophy. If choosing a program that matches your own opinions is important to you, you may have to skip around a little.
Lastly, typically we give a “star” rating to these types of blogs. However, because of the nature of the blog, these political science internships are ALL the best-of-the-best. It’s simply that different students will want to apply for different internships. So, today, we are giving them all 5-star ratings.
Top 4 Best Political Science Internships
Once our nuanced rating system was applied to the innumerable amount of political science internships, we were able to parse out this diverse list of the very best.
Here are the top 4 best political science internships currently available.
Image source: cato.org
The Cato Institute offers an internship that is perfect for those looking to find a career in law, communications, or policy.
In addition to work experience, interns will receive education in political philosophy, history and economics, and all how all of these subjects relate with the modern political landscape. This education is delivered through seminars.
Unlike most internships, which only accept undergraduates or graduate students, the Cato Institute welcomes recent graduates and early-career professionals, as well.
Perhaps, the internship’s best selling point for poor college students is that it actually pays, a rarity for internships. Interns will receive $1000 a month, while those coming from a law school will get $1,400 a month. That comes out to about $4,000 and $5,600 for the entire semester, respectively.
Getting paid for work. What a novel concept.
As the Cato Institute explains, most interns work as researchers for their policy scholars, though interns can choose which area of policy fits their interests. Among your choices are defense and foreign policy, constitutional policy and healthcare policy, but there are many others.
This internship takes place in WashingtonD.C., so you’ll be right in the middle of the political science capital – and all-around capital – of the country.
It should be noted that the Cato Institute is a libertarian organization, so if your politics are the polar opposite of libertarianism, you might want to look elsewhere. Or maybe you’d like to broaden your horizons a bit.
As the risk of being reductive, libertarianism can be loosely described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. It’s a philosophy that values free markets, limited government and the liberty for individuals to live their lives however they please.
In fact, the institute gets its name from the Roman statesman, Cato, who was a staunch foe of Julius Caesar and promoted republicanism in the face of Caesar’s dictatorship.
One of the things that sets the New York State Assembly Internships apart from the other political science internships is its accessibility. It’s open to students of all majors, not just political science.
This means if you’re interested in a career in political science but are majoring in a tangential subject, you’re not left out.
As for what the internship entails, you’ll be allowed to participate in New York’s government and the legislative process. In addition to the on-the-job experience, an academic course is also required,which includes required readings and a “major research paper.”
This makes the internship a bit of a hybrid between work experience and taking another college class.
To be eligible, you must an undergraduate junior or senior currently taking a college degree program. Graduate students are also accepted, but you must have recently completed a graduate degree program. As far as what “recently” means, that is not explained on their website.
Much like the Cato Institute, this is a paid internship, with the total rounding out to $6,200. With a normal college semester being about four months, this comes to $1,550 a month. For graduate scholars, it’s even more, coming in at $3,750 per month. This internship goes out to 150 college students, so there’s plenty of room for any young hopefuls.
If you want to get into political science,you might as well go straight to the top. The White House, a symbol of America and the home of one-third of its powers, can offer an experience unlike any other.
With this internship, you can attain some unique work experience and pick up some useful leadership skills. It claims to “mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office, and prepare them for future public service opportunities.”
As for the specifics of what you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis, you could be staffing events, attending meetings,writing memos, conducting research, and managing incoming inquiries. This way,you can become a jack of all trades.
In addition to the work experience, the internship will also include a speaker series and professional development courses. Interns will also do work at non-profit organizations.
For young people looking to find a career in political science, working in the White House will be an indispensable experience that will serve you for years to come. Plus, it’s sure to catch the eye of any employers who look over your resume.
If you’re interested in getting right into the middle of the political football game, the Democratic National Committee offers an internship of their very own.
For those would like to apply, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18-years-old. The internship is available to undergraduates or those currently enrolled in a graduate program. If you graduated less than two years ago, then you’re also eligible for the internship.
In a nice change from the other political science internships, military veterans who have at least a high school diploma and have served sometime in the past two years are also invited to apply.
This is a great offering for a demographic that might have a hard time finding internships with no college experience, but a lot of leadership experience.
As for what the Democratic National Committee even does, they work to get Democrats elected into office all over the country. As you can imagine, this requires wearing a lot of different hats. As for some of the hats you’ll be wearing, they include administrative tasks and media relations, among other things.
To be considered for the internship, you must be a Democrat and registered to vote. Sorry, everyone else. But if you’re a Republican, you probably aren’t interested in interning at the Democratic National Committee anyway. No harm, no foul. When applying, you must write an essay that is no longer than 500 words. Where you’re placed at the committee will depend on where they need you and your preferences.
A paid internship, interns will receive $3,000 for a semester of work.
Student’s Guide: How to Go About Finding the Best Political Science Internships
When searching for a political science internship, you never want to settle for less. This is going to be your first major step into the professional world, and you don’t want to make it a bad one. Some considerations are more obvious than others, but they are all equally important.
First of all, you want to pay close attention to the location. For students who don’t have much money to spend, an internship that’s close may be your best bet, as long as it still has merit. If you’re willing and have the money to relocate, it’s best to find an internship at a place like Washington D.C. or New York.
After all, if you’re going to move, move to a hotspot of political science. And, once your internship is over, you want to be where the jobs are.
Just as everyone has their own politics, so does every organization. Some are more covert about it than others – no one’s wondering whose side the Democratic National Committee is on – but all organizations have an ideological bent.
If your political convictions are important to you, finding an organization that shares your ideas might be your safest bet. However, as long as conformity isn’t a requirement by the organization,there can be a lot of value in opening yourself up to ideas different than your own.
There’s no better way to test ideas than to bend them against others and see which ones hold up. While this might seem like a no-brainer, research is going to be your best friend when looking for political science internships. If possible, talk to students who already when through the programs. That’s where you’ll get the best information.
There are Political Science Internships for Everybody
No matter your political opinions, location or station in life, you can probably find a decent political science internship that fits your needs, within reason.
More so than college itself, these internships can truly expose you to new ideas and new people, which are all invaluable. And unlike college, you’re the one who gets paid.
That’s a nice change of pace, isn’t it? While we listed here the best political science internships that we could find, there’s a number of others out there, if not of these caught your attention.
Maybe choosing an internship is making you a little nervous, but don’t be. Not many people ever get to the position in college where they need to choose an internship.
If you have to choose between interning at the Cato Institute or the New York State Assembly, you’re probably doing something right.
Featured Image from Pixabay