What If an Architecture Student doesn't Get an Internship?
Why is an Internship Important?
For an architecture student doing an internship at least once during their bachelor’s is mandatory. To be a certified COA (Council of Architecture) architect, you must do at least one architectural internship during 4.5 or 5 years of your degree. Most colleges even have a slot in their curriculum for their students to fulfill this requirement.
Doing an internship has a lot of benefits for the student. An internship is probably the only way for most architecture students to interact with the world outside and know how things before work. In a shielded environment of a design or construction studio, students often do not get the opportunity to explore and come across problems that are pretty common in the real world.
Internships also help students find their area of interest and help them decide what they want to pursue after graduation. A student can, in training, experiment with their fields and hone a diverse skill set. They can do more than one internship and understand the different sectors open to them after they complete their architecture school. The diverse skill set is often something many potential employers are looking for.
They also work as the transition stage between the academic environment and professional work.
Take a read to this inspirational article and get inspired Why should you be an Architect
When do you Look for an Internship?
The next question that comes to the mind of any student is how long their internship should be? And when to start?
An internship can last for different amounts of time since, for a student, the opportunities limit to summer and winter vacation; the most common internships of 1 to 3 months. Some colleges and universities give their students a chance to intern for 6 to 8 months.
The Next Question is When?
A student can start doing an internship as early as the first year. Though their skill set would not be compatible with many job requirements, they can still learn through their experiences. Most students apply for internships about 6 to 8 weeks before starting their vacation (the time when they can work).
Doing internships in junior and senior college gives a student more advantage in the later stages of their career, whether they are looking for another training or even when they are applying for a job. However, it is more common for students to engage in activities (internships, projects, or even competitions) throughout their college to gain better experiences in diverse fields.
Where do you Look? Finding the Right Firms
When you seek an opportunity to gain experience, they should be, according to your taste, in the field that either you already want to build a career in or want to explore. If you aspire to hold specialization in any area, doing an internship is the best way to do so.
The next question is, where do you look for internships?
There are numerous different ways an architecture student can find an internship. The most effective and common ones are listed below:
You must check out 6 Best Ways to Apply for Job & Internship in Architecture
1. Find Out What you are Good at
The first and foremost thing to look at is what you like and what you are good at. This helps you narrow down the field of your preference and thus the firms you should be looking at. Next, you can make a list of the firms and their works that interest you and start applying if there is a vacancy (most firms do not explicitly say that there is a vacancy for an intern, it’s always good to ask).
2. Using Internet Platforms and Networking
With the rise in internet usage and networking worldwide, it has become more accessible and easier to connect with firms and look for opportunities you never knew existed. You can look at social media platforms, the pages of firms on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to see the kind of work and projects they associate with and get in touch with them if you find something interesting.
Another more traditional way of networking is through your peers and seniors (or juniors). The people already in the field can give you a much better idea of what is in the area and how you can get it.
Do read this to know more about Brilliant Ways to Get Recruited As A Trainee Architect In A Reputed Firm
3. Start Early
Starting early is always advantageous. You can begin by compiling a neat and expressive portfolio (most firms are not looking for a perfect portfolio, but rather for committed and eager students).
Getting in touch with the forms weeks before your vacation and time for internship gives you the opportunities your peers might miss just by being after that you!
Is There an Alternative?
If you don’t want to do an internship but still want to gain experience in architecture. There are some more ways you can do so. Taking a project in your department or some other university under the guidance of a professor is always the best way to delve deeper into and broaden your knowledge base. A project is a perfect way to get a very wholesome idea of a field you are new to and want to know comprehensively.
Another way to achieve some experience is doing an internship in the allied branches. Architecture as a field is, vast and one can always explore different areas associated with it. If you are not keen on doing an internship in architectural design, you can look into interior design, project management, MEP systems, and even research and journalism! The gates are open for you.
What to do if you don’t Get an Internship
Even if you don’t end up with an internship for your summer or winter break, there are still many things you can do!
Many online learning platforms provide courses related to the field of architecture and allied branches. Enrolling yourself in one of the certified courses can add to your skillset and portfolio. These courses show that you are a dedicated student. The most common types of courses are:
- Sketching and perspective drawing
- Rendering and photoshop
- AutoCAD and BIM software mastery courses
Not only this, one can use the time to look at their shortcomings and improve on them. As a student, you must always try to improve yourself and become take steps towards becoming a better professional.
You can try to find out why you did not get an internship this season and improve upon those areas through courses, projects, and personal projects. Some areas include:
- Presentation: The presentation of your work can have a significant impact on your selection. You can take a graphic design course or a rendering class to acquire/improve that skill.
- Soft skills: soft skills are equally important. Your communication skills and writing affect your image in front of the recruiter more than you know. The way of approaching the firms can also be a reason for not getting an internship. Talking to someone in the firm you have been targeting or someone in the field about this can help a lot. Furthermore, if you are keen on improving your soft skills, many resources are available on the internet.
You must check out 7 ways to Improve your Portfolio!
However, Starting your career as a Freelance architect is also a good option. Read here to know more about How to become a Freelancer Architect
Choosing the right internship can be overwhelming, especially in a field like architecture, where so many different specializations and opportunities are available.
If you haven’t done any internship until now, you don’t have to worry; chances are your curriculum already has covered it. Though there is always somewhere you can start, why not now!
There are many different types of firms and fields of work a student can choose from, and internships help them gain a perspective knowledge of the nitty-gritty of these fields. There are also many different ways you can get training. You can choose what works for you and find the right firm!
We hope this article was helpful and helped you gain some ideas that you can use during your internships (or even when you are looking for a new job!). What do you think about this article? We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about your internships. Please share your struggles and winnings with us through the comments section below!
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