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3 Ways to Turn a Scholarship Into a Silicon Valley Internship


Sometimes, scholarships can lead to opportunities beyond reducing tuition and fees. In addition to awarding money for college, some scholarships can land you an internship.

Winners of the Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships program, for example, are automatically considered for internships, in addition to receiving a renewable annual monetary award of $5,000.

Unfortunately, it can often be more difficult to turn a scholarship into an internship at your favorite Silicon Valley startup or corporation. Next time you start applying for scholarships from Google or another top technology company, consider how to get your foot in the door for a job, too.

If you’re a prospective or current college student hoping to eventually work in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – fields, one strategy is to apply for scholarships from a company you may want to work for after graduation. Another option is to apply for scholarships that include an internship component.

For example, upperclassmen at historically black colleges and universities could apply for the Apple HBCU Scholars Program, a partnership between Apple and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. This program awards recipients up to $25,000 in aid and a 12-week internship.

Once you have won a scholarship through a tech company, here are three ways to translate that award into an internship that could potentially lead to a full-time job.

1. Take advantage of scholarship perks: Technology company scholarships may offer additional perks beyond the monetary award, such as mentorship and professional support or paid visits to the company offices.

Through Google’s Women Techmakers Scholars Program, for example, recipients get an academic scholarship and are paired with Google-employee mentors at an annual retreat as well as are connected with an online network of program participants.

If a scholarship leads you to meet with a tech company’s employees, take advantage of the visit to potentially find and engage mentors who could help you land positions in the future.

You may be able to ask to speak privately with a human resources representative and learn more about internship opportunities. Or if you eat lunch at the company cafeteria, make a point of sitting and engaging with strangers. Finally, bring and hand out your resume if you strike up a quick rapport with an employee.

As you apply for tech scholarships, take note of the additional benefits they may offer and plan to take full advantage of them. You never know if you may make a connection that could lead to a future internship or job opportunity.

2. Ask scholarship connections about internships: The person who notifies you that you have won a Facebook or Microsoft scholarship may have nothing to do with the respective company’s internship program. But they likely know someone who does.

Although you may be tempted to apply online for a preferred company’s internships and leave it at that, don’t just hope the organization picks up on your pedigree. Reach out to any connection you have at the company and inquire about the internship program. You could also ask for application advice.

3. Highlight the scholarship in your internship application: If you’ve applied for and won a scholarship at a tech company, be sure to highlight the award on your resume and LinkedIn profile before applying to its internship program.

In its “#Resume 101 for students” guide, Twitter says companies typically review the average resume in less than 30 seconds. A mention of a Twitter-sponsored scholarship is a detail that can stand out in that short amount of time.

If you think your scholarship win might be hidden in the accomplishments section at the bottom of your one-page resume, consider focusing on it in your cover letter and describing what the win meant to you and why you’re so interested in working at this particular company.

Even posting about the scholarship win on social media could help you show your connection and interest in the company. That’s one way to boost your online profile.

To win a scholarship from one of Silicon Valley’s top companies, you typically have to be doing something well, whether it’s earning good grades in the classroom or being a leader on campus. To score an interview for an internship or job, you’ll have to do even more, such as writing a killer cover letter or presenting unique research.

Remember the connections between these milestones. Like a scholarship leading to an internship, the internship could also lead to your dream job. Take one step at a time, but don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.
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