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Summer Internship vs Research

ender wiggin

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Hey there. I'm an undergrad that will be applying to grad programs next Fall. I'm trying to decide between doing an industry internship or research position for the summer. The internship would be at a small company in my field of interest but it's run by a big name in the field who I think would make for an awesome LOR. The research position is at a very well regarded school but with a lesser known professor in my field of interest. The jobs and locations are about equal in interest level for me. 


I've been conducting undergrad research at my home institution for the last few years as well as a summer research position which has resulted in a few publications and a super awesome LOR from one professor. I was wondering with regards to applying to grad schools next year is there a clear advantage to one of the choices? I have to decide which position to take in the next week. Thanks for all advice in advance!

Edited by ender wiggin
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Speaking as someone who always opted to do the industry internship - I think it comes down to your specific needs. For example, do you need another LOR from a professor? A lot of the schools in my field said that only 1 LOR could come from my supervisors in industry.


I would say that it doesn't really matter how big name the professors/institutions are since you're going to have publications already. If you haven't done any industry before, it might be a good idea to try the industry internship while you still have a chance to. It sounds like you really can't go wrong here though!

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I would pick internship for the money and experience, considering it will be a look ahead on where you'll probably end up, unless you ultimately decide it's not for you. I think the difference is marginal with respect to which one will give you a better chance of admission, but that's speaking broadly. you know the details more than anybody


i think it's importantly to diversify your experiences as much as possible early on.

Edited by spectastic
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  • 1 month later...

It really depends on the field, and what you need to demonstrate in your SOP and LOR. If you need a heavy research angle, go with the research job. However, if you need to demonstrate the real world application, go with the internship.


I don't know about many other fields, but in human services, you can find other real world applications through volunteering at crisis hotlines, or after school care with special needs, so the research again would be preferable (since it's more difficult to come by on a undergrad level). However, if the internship demonstrates exactly what you want to do, and you can do it well, yes that would also be an excellent choice.


You're in a win-win situation, just consider which part of your applications need the extra support.

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