Four years of college seems like a long time, plenty of time to do an internship. Until you’re so busy that the application deadline for the fall internship passes you by. And then spring. And then suddenly you’re graduating and wondering if it’s too late for that internship.

The good news is it’s not. Waiting until you graduate to do an internship could mean you can devote all your attention the internship, and not to other school-related responsibilities. It could mean you’re fully-equipped with the learning tools that could help you get the most out of the internship without having to commit to one career path. But it could also make you feel like you’re behind your peers, or that you’re missing out on the financial and health benefits of a full-time position because you’re “just” an intern (by the way, at RTS, there’s no such thing as “just” an intern. Our interns make a huge difference in our transportation services every day, and we wouldn’t be the same without them).

So let’s rewind the clock for a second (or more like a year), and talk about doing your internship before or during your senior year. This can be tricky, as you’ve already got a lot to think about with graduation looming, but it could also serve as the perfect transition as you get ready to leave the academic world and step into the business world. Plus, interning during your senior year could set you up nicely to receive a full-time offer upon graduation, which might not be as likely to happen if you’re still a first or second year college student.

That being said, one of the benefits of doing an internship earlier in your college career is that it gives you the chance to explore your options more freely. You could do more than one internship and get a feel for what you do and don’t enjoy in a workplace. You could end up determining that the major you thought was your destiny actually isn’t for you (or you could be completely validated and commit to your choice with even more confidence!). Some places (like RTS) may even let you intern for two semesters, giving you the chance to build deeper connections and continue the learning process. However, younger interns may find in some instances that they aren’t given more difficult projects if they don’t yet have the knowledge that they might have after additional years of study.

As much as it’s probably not what you want to hear, you have to decide when is best for you to do an internship. And when you’re ready, we hope you’ll consider the internship program here at RTS.