How many interviews should I expect to conduct as part of my pre-arrival process?
Students typically interview at two to four different organizations. Some students enjoy their first interview and accept a position shortly there after, while others interview at many before accepting a position.
What type of questions will I be asked during my interview?
Check out some of the most Common Interview Questions in this document.
What resources are available if I am not experienced in interviewing?
Here are some Basics of Phone Interviews. You can also sign up for a mock interview with one of our internship advisors, who will provide you feedback about your interview. Your internship advisor will send you the link to sign up for this opportunity once you start the advising process.
What tips do you have for professionalism in communicating with internship sites?
- Make sure you know where your inboxes are. Many emails from new internship sites get trapped in Spam or Clutter. Make sure you’re familiar with and actively checking all these boxes.
- Listen to your voicemail greeting. Haven’t checked your greeting since high school? Now is a great time to make sure your voicemail greeting sounds professional and won’t make prospective employers concerned!
- Make sure your voicemail is set up and not full. There’s many times we can’t leave a message for students because they have a voice mailbox that is either not set up or is full. This just gives sites a good excuse to not contact you again!
- Most importantly: Respond quickly. No one likes waiting for a response. The sooner you can respond to a site about your availability to interview, an outstanding offer, or additional questions, the better a chance you’ll have at securing that dream internship!
How long do I have to respond to outreach from an organization?
You should respond to all communications within one or two business days. Please check your email and voicemail at least once a day.
How often/when should I contact TWC?
We want to hear from you every time you have an update, such as did you receive an interview request, or did you get another offer? Let your internship advisor know! We're here as a resource to you, so let us know when you need assistance or have questions or concerns.
Can I still interview after I accept an internship?
Once you’ve accepted an internship, you should decline any outstanding interview requests and offers you may still have. Instead, ask if you can meet with these professionals for coffee once you’re here in D.C. It’s important to keep your networking options open.
What do I do if I receive multiple offers?
Acknowledge your multiple offers and then consult your internship advisor before making any decisions. We’re quite familiar with our site partners and can help you make a decision about which organization is right for you, based on your specific needs and goals.
How should I dress for my internship?
Once you accept an offer and are placed at an internship, you should reach out to your supervisor to ask about the office dress code and first day instructions. If you are ever in doubt about how to dress for any professional event, it is your best bet to dress business professional (a suit and tie for men, a pant/skirt suit with blouse for women). It looks better to be over, rather than under-dressed.
What does “Out-of-Network” mean?
“Out-of-Network” refers to an internship site that does not currently partner with The Washington Center. Most of these internship sites require an external application, outside of TWC’s application process.
How do I know if a site is Out-of-Network?
To determine whether an internship site is a TWC partner or is Out-of-Network, please consult your internship advisor.
What are the requirements of an Out-of-Network site?
If you are securing an Out-of-Network internship, TWC needs to know the following information:
- Supervisor Name
- Supervisor Email
- Supervisor Phone Number
- Address of Internship Site
We also need to ensure that the organization will comply with TWC internship requirements:
- A Monday–Thursday work schedule of approximately 32 hours a week
- Compliant with TWC internship start and end dates
- A dedicated workspace for the internship
- Completion of the Internship Agreement Form, which details rights and responsibilities of both intern and internship site
- A mid-semester site visit from your LEAD instructor
- A final evaluation of the internship
How long do I have to apply to Out-of-Network sites?
An Out-of-Network placement must be secured ten business days before that semester’s check-in date. Otherwise, we will work with our partner organizations to secure you an internship.
How will I know I have to do a background check?
Your internship advisor will notify you if you demonstrate interest in an internship site that requires a background check process. Your advisor will subsequently send you general materials regarding background checks. Once you are contacted by an internship site that requires a background check, they will then send you information about their specific process.
What sites require a background check?
Common sites that require background checks are the United States Marshals, Metropolitan Police Department, Peace Corps, and Voice of America. Most federal agencies also have some sort of clearance process. Other internship sites may require a background check depending on the specific position that is offered.
Who do I contact with questions about my background check?
When participating in a background check process, you will reach out directly to the internship site with updates and questions. TWC can only request updates and is unable to expedite or approve a clearance. However, you can always reach out to your internship advisor if you are unable to get in contact with your site.
What happens if I fail a background check?
If you fail a background check, don’t panic! Just notify your internship advisor that you were unable to gain security clearance. Your advisor will work promptly with our site coordinators to get you placed at another internship site that fits your needs and interests.
What does the background check process look like?
Every background check process is different; once a site is interested in your application materials they will reach out to you directly about their specific process. They may have you complete a background check initially or after a preliminary interview. Background check timelines can range from one day, to over a month, so it is essential that you keep up with deadlines and stay in close communication with the internship site.
How does the internship matching process work?
Shortly after you are accepted, you'll take part in a Skype or phone session with your internship advisor. Together, you will define your goals and expectations for your internship, review your resume, explore potential internship site opportunities and discuss next steps in the internship matching process. Throughout the following weeks or months, we'll submit your documents to targeted internship sites. Upon consideration from one of the sites, they will reach out to you and conduct a phone interview. You can expect to have one or several interviews, and once an offer is extended, you ultimately decide if you want to accept it or not.
How do I know when my materials have been sent to potential internship sites?
You can track where your materials are sent through InternConnect, which is part of your student portal. You will be given access to InternConnect after your initial advising session with your internship advisor.
How many organizations will my materials be sent to?
You can expect your materials to be sent to about five to seven different organizations. You may be sent to more or fewer organizations depending on your major and interests.
What do I do when I receive an interview or offer?
If you’ve been reached out to by an internship site, respond professionally within one to two business days to acknowledge their outreach. You should also let your internship advisor know, so they can help you decide whether each opportunity is right for you.
How long do I have to decide to accept an offer?
Once you’ve been extended an offer, you should acknowledge the offer within one to two business days. If you are unsure about the offer, speak with your internship advisor, who can help you decide if the offer is right for you. Most sites will give you a timeline as to when they need to hear back with a final decision- you should try to make a decision within that timeline.
Can I renege on an offer once I accept?
Once accepting an internship, TWC does not allow students to withdraw their acceptance to take another position at a different site. We have found that changing internships once an internship has been accepted is unprofessional and is not in the best interest of the student.
What happens after I accept an offer?
Once you’ve accepted an offer, congratulations! You’ve secured an internship. Communicate with your new site supervisor about first day details: where to go, when to get there, who to report to, what to wear, etc. Stay in contact with them so you are both on the same page about the first day of your internship.
Can I intern at a governmental organization?
Unfortunately, interning at a governmental organization as an international student is not possible, but we have a wide range of organizations where you’ll have an equally valuable experience.
What happens when I accept an internship?
Once you have accepted a placement, we will issue your DS-2019 and DS-7002 visa forms (these forms are needed for your interview at the US Embassy). We will then send you an email with the following information to make your J-1 visa interview appointment at a US Embassy/Consulate:
- SEVIS Number
- Exchange Visitor Program Number
- Exchange Visitor Category
When will my visa paperwork be sent to me?
Once you confirm your acceptance, we will start processing your DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms and send them to your internship. Once they have signed it, we can mail them to you.
How quickly will I receive my SEVIS ID after being placed
Anywhere from 2-10 days, depending on how quickly your internship supervisor is able to complete you DS-7002 form. We will mail the package through priority mail, which is the fastest possible way to send these documents to you.
What address should my visa paperwork be sent to?
Your home address or an address where you can easily receive your paperwork. If your current address is different from the one stated on your online application, please email the correct address for sending the J-1 visa package to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have additional information about the visa process?
Please take a moment to look over the J-1 Pre-Arrival Guide in order to obtain a better understanding of the complete process. We will also have a J-1 visa orientation upon your arrival in DC that will provide a more in-depth explanation of the J-1 visa’s rules and regulations.