Internship Preparation

Each student will independently pursue internships in the policy field of their interest. Students should observe guidelines for internship placement and work closely with program staff to secure an internship that is related to his or her academic preparation and career goals. Students are encouraged to follow the steps below to identify and apply for an internship. This process can take place as you are completing the program application, and at the latest, should begin immediately after admittance into the program. It takes an average of 1-2 months to secure an internship, so it’s important to get started early.

Step 1: Explore possible internship sites

Internships should reflect the student’s upper-division coursework, skills and achievements, and extra-curricular involvement. The WAIP is designed to allow students to apply what they have learned on campus to a substantive field placement in Washington. To get started:

  • Review the list of past internship placements, but be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of internship placements in the Washington area; it is a good starting place as students begin to think about internship options.
  • Talk with faculty members and an advisor regarding internship suggestions. Ask them to suggest organizations that might align with preparation, skills, and interests.
  • Look into possible internships using organizations’ websites, idealist, the WAIP blog, or other job/internship search engines.

Step 2: Schedule an appointment with the On-campus Program Coordinator to discuss possible internships

Once students have completed these steps and compiled a short list of internship sites, they should contact the on-campus internship coordinator Emily Carruthers at to schedule an appointment for assistance in prioritizing a list of potential placements.

  • The top 3 internship choices should be noted on the WAIP application, along with the name and contact information for an Internship Supervisor, or Human Resources Officer.
  • Internships should be able to accommodate the predetermined schedule: students will work Monday through Thursday, a minimum of 32 hours (this is the requirement to earn full course credit)
  • After students have completed the WAIP interview process and received notification that they have been accepted into the program, students should begin contacting their internship sites of interest immediately. It takes an average of 1-2 months to secure an internship, so it’s important to get started early.

Step 3: Contact potential internship sites

After thorough research, students should send an email to Katy Hogan (, WAIP program manager in Washington, detailing their top 3 internship choices and including contact information for whomever is in charge of hiring interns (Internship Supervisor or Human Resources Officer).

Students should make the initial contact with a potential internship site. Please be sure to include all of the following points in your cover letter (NOTE: Every internship site has its own requirements for submitting application materials. Please read the cover letter, resume and writing sample requirements carefully and submit accordingly.) In general, cover letters should:

  • Convey that you are in the process of applying to Ohio State’s Washington Academic Internship Program which is sponsored by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
  • Indicate the academic semester and specific days and dates that you would be available to complete your internship. Our program operates on the OSU calendar, so your first day of your internship would be the second day of the semester (the first day of the semester is reserved for program orientation). Your last day would be the last day of classes. You would be available to work four full days per week; Fridays are reserved for study tours.
  • Academic credit is earned for the internship, course-work in seminar, and an in-depth policy paper that you will develop and write throughout the quarter.

Questions about the program should be directed to Program Manager Katy Hogan at or call her at 202-403-8537.

Be sure to copy Katy Hogan on all correspondence with internship coordinators.

In order to produce high-quality application materials for internship sites, students are encouraged to have their resumes and cover letters reviewed by advisors, if possible. Students may also contact Katy Hogan for cover letter assistance prior to submission.

Things to remember:

  1. Summer is the most competitive time to secure an internship in Washington, due to the large number of students looking to obtain an internship. To secure an internship at a more competitive or prestigious organization students should consider participating during fall or spring semesters.
  2. Many government agencies require a large amount of lead time: if you are interested in working in a federal agency, you should begin applying 6 to 9 months in advance (be sure to notify program staff).
  3. In the past, the program has been unable to accommodate students interested in interning with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense. Both organizations require a large amount of lead time in submitting applications (approx. 9 months-1 year), in addition to a security clearance requirement.

Most students are required to work a full 5-day week, as well. If you are interested in pursuing an internship at one of these agencies instead of participating in the WAIP, visit and search for internships (or the Dept. of State student internship page).

For more information on student jobs and internships in the federal government, visit:
(note: not all of these opportunities will align with the requirements for the WAIP).

© John Glenn College of Public Affairs
Page Hall, 1810 College Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210

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