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Top 10 Internships for College Students in 2017

Written by Kate Lopaze

You’re in college, or a recent graduate. Maybe you already have a solid idea of where you want to go, and what you want to do next. Great! Maybe you…don’t. That’s great too. Whether you’re looking to test the career waters of a job related to your major, or you’re still figuring out what you want your post-college career path to be, internships are an excellent way to refine your thinking and build experience. Let’s look at 10 of the top internship options in a variety of fields, based on sources that take intern feedback into account, like’s annual rankings and Glassdoor’s survey of internship opportunities.

Best Social Media Internship: Facebook

Perhaps you’ve heard of this company? Facebook ranks highest on a recent Glassdoor survey of best internship companies, with feedback like, “Facebook has one of the best design teams in the world, and deals with particularly hard problems. Interns get lots of responsibility, but the biggest learning is from the people around you.”

Facebook’s focus on tech, data, and social media provides cutting-edge internship opportunities, as well as spots in business operations.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 6 to 12 weeks

Location: Facebook’s headquarters are in Menlo Park, California, but the company has office locations all over North America, including New York, Washington DC, and Chicago.

Best Health Care Internship: Aetna Summer Associate Program

Insurance company Aetna’s summer program gives interns the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the business side of insurance, as well as build general office and career skills. Each intern has the opportunity to work on a “cross-functional” project that takes on a real-life business issue faced by the company. This kind of real world experience is definitely not your stereotypical coffee-and-copies internship. Interns are also offered many marketing opportunities, and the chance to work with company mentors to help build their career beyond the internship.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 6 to 12 weeks

Location: Aetna is based in Hartford, CT, but has other offices (and internship opportunities) around the U.S. as well.

Best Financial Services Internship: Northwestern Mutual

For students majoring in Finance, Accounting, or other related business fields, Northwestern Mutual’s internship program gives students hands-on experience working on financial planning, client services, and consulting. Interns receive a stipend for their 6-12 month terms. Approximately one-third of Northwestern Mutual interns are offered a full-time position with the company after graduation.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 6 to 12 months

Locations: The company has offices throughout the U.S.

Best Media Internship: Nickelodeon Animation Studio Nickternship Program

If you’ve ever wanted to see how the Spongebob is made, this internship at Nickelodeon’s Animation Studio could be for you. Geared toward animation enthusiasts or those who want to work in the children’s entertainment industry, this internship helps “Nickterns” build general business experience while also taking specialty classes and workshops in areas like storyboarding, character design, pitching concepts, production and post-production, and presenting. Even if you can’t draw, the Studio offers internships in virtually every area of the business: TV production, development, talent development and casting, office management, digital operations, business operations, sales and marketing, human resources, and public relations. Nickterns also get perks like free movie screenings and admission to industry events, as well as networking opportunities.

Compensation: Paid

Duration: 6 to 12 weeks

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Best Energy Internship: Westar Energy Internship Program

If you’re interested in finding innovative ways to provide energy, Westar Energy’s internship program is a way to build skills and experience in the expanding field of green energy solutions. Headquartered in Kansas, Westar is the largest electricity provider in the state. For its interns, the company is committed to providing hands-on business experience, as well as building knowledge about the future of energy and electricity.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 3 to 6 months

Location: Topeka, KS and Wichita, KS

Best Retail Internship: Burlington Stores Summer Internship Program

Based in the Burlington Stores company’s corporate offices in New Jersey, interns learn the ins and outs of the business behind a nationwide discount department store chain. Burlington is committed to providing meaningful learning experiences for its employees, including leadership development seminars, mentorship opportunities with senior management, seminars on retail practices and technical skills, store tours, and projects based on real business scenarios.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 6 to 12 weeks

Location: Burlington has stores all over the country, but the internships are primarily located in its corporate offices in Burlington, NJ and Edgewater Park, NJ.

Best Engineering Internship: Capital One Technology Internship Program

With its engineering focus, financial and IT company Capital One’s internship program is geared toward the STEM student. These hands-on programs give interns specialized experience in software engineering, data engineering, and cyber security engineering. Interns work on collaborative engineering projects, and also attend business and leadership seminars throughout the term.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 10 weeks

Location: San Francsico, CA, New York, NY, McLean, VA, Richmond, VA, Plano, TX, Chicago, IL, and Wilmington, DE

Best Startup Internship: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Fellows Program

If you’re interested in the startup world, but you aren’t finding many targeted internship opportunities, consider programs like KPCB’s. KPCB is a venture capital firm that specializes in working with tech startups. Its Design and Engineering Fellows program helps interns build the tech and creative skills they can apply to startup companies (or even start their own). The Fellows program offers unique networking opportunities in Silicon Valley, as well as the opportunity to spend a full year working for a Silicon Valley startup.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: 3 to 6 months, plus a potential year of employment

Location: Mountain View, CA, Palo Alto, CA, San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, San Mateo, CA

Best Poli-Sci Internship: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Internship

Consistently ranked among the best U.S. government internship programs, the CIA’s program is geared toward providing work and civil service experience for promising undergrads, particularly minorities and students with disabilities. While you likely won’t be sent deep undercover, Homeland-style, you will gain practical experience in the daily operations of one of the biggest U.S. government offices.

Compensation: Unpaid

Duration: Flexible

Location: Washington, DC metro area

Best Multidisciplinary Internship: NBC Universal Campus 2 Career Internship Program

As a massive media company, NBC Universal offers internships in areas like television production, news, business operations, ad sales, legal, marketing, media relations, accounting/finance, business, strategy, human resources, research, and marketing.

Compensation: Paid/stipend

Duration: Flexible

Location: NBC Universal has headquarters in New York City and Los Angeles, but there are internship opportunities at its offices and sister companies throughout the country.

If you’ve got your career sights set on a particular path, or know you want to do some experimenting and skill-building while you figure out your long-term plans, internships are one of the best ways to ease from student mode to professional mode. Wherever you decide to plant your intern flag, TheJobNetwork has you covered!

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.