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how do I get an internship as a forensic psychology major in college

I am a sophomore in college. I am majoring in forensic psychology and minoring in criminology. I want to get involved through volunteering or internships. #internships #internship #college-majors

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Jenna’s Answer

Finding an internship and is an exciting and nerve wracking task. You need to be proactive, creative, and persistent. Just because you don't get a response doesn't mean the door is shut. Just because you get a "no" doesn't mean the opportunity is gone forever. Here are ways you can find an opportunity. For each situation, be prepared to send a personalized email with your resume attached. An example of cold-email is below.
1. Find professors with interesting research at your college and others
2. Research professional societies and reach out to key contacts (e.g., American Association of Forensic Psychologists https://aafpforensic.org/)
3. Look at academic facilities (hospitals, justice centers, government agencies) that employ Forensic Psychologists
4. Research job openings for Forensic Psychologists and see what types of jobs pop up - although you're not applying for that role - you can find contacts in those companies to connect with
5. Go on LinkedIn and reach out to individuals who have job titles you'd want. Offer your ability to support as an intern.

An example of a "cold email" you will send to the contacts you find above may look like this:

Dear XX,
I found your contact information on XX (name of site or search) while searching for XX (key words). My name is XX and I'm a Sophomore at XX University Studying XX and Minoring in XX. Your experience as a XX (job or title) is particularly interesting to me because I too aspire to be XX. I would love the opportunity to connect with you to learn about how you got to where you are today. I'm also looking for a summer internship and would be curious to pick your brain on creative ways I can support XX organization. My XX, XX, XX (characteristics about you) make me a strong fit for this occupation and I hope to have the opportunity to learn more from you. My resume is attached for reference.
Would you be open to an introductory call?
Thanks in advance,
XX


Note - set a reminder for 1-2 weeks after sending this email to follow-up with the person if you don't hear back. Follow-up 3x before dismissing the contact. If the person says "no" ask if they may be contacted in the future.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. Asuama
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Simeon’s Answer

I would reach out to your teachers and see if they know of any internships or work opportunities. Check the websites of companies that you'd like to work for someday and send inquiry emails. Even if a company doesn't know of an internship, they might know of other companies that do offer internships. If you can't find a summer internship, you could also try working at a summer camp. You'll make a lot of new friends and you can often leverage new connections to find job/internship opportunities.
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Jacquie’s Answer

Hello! I completed my Masters degree in clinical psychology with a focus on forensic psychology a few years ago. When we were looking for internships, as it was a required part of our program, we had the option to look into clinical or justice based settings. I had obtained an internship with a prison in my state that had both a halfway house and a full prison unit. I primarily worked on the halfway house side. When you are looking to find placement, see what you are comfortable with. Some may not like working in a prison directly, but may be okay with a halfway house setting, some may prefer an office clinical setting. In order to find a placement I would suggest the following:

1. Speak with your professors. They may have some information on locations that work with the program already and may be able to point you in the right direction. They also may have some contacts within the field that they may be able to put you in contact with.

2. Check with other students. See if there are any students who have previously done internships within your major or in majors that are closely related. Students are directly involved in the process and are working in the positions so they tend to have a pretty good idea and can give some solid advice on what to look for or where to go.

3. If you see a department that you would like to work with, inquire into whether they have a program established. If not, see if you can create an opportunity that your program will accept and that would be beneficial to both you and the organization.

4. Remember, your job as an intern is not to just fetch coffee or carry papers around (unless your field focuses in those areas). Make sure that you discuss what your expectations from the position are upfront so that they can determine if it would not only be a good fit for you, but for them as well. Sometimes you may not get to do everything you want, but if you know what the expectations are upfront, you are better prepared.

5. Use sites like LinkedIn to find people within the field that may be in your area. Ask them what they did. Look for people that may have gone to your institution and don't be afraid to reach out to other academic areas if you can't find what you are looking for.

6. Remain open minded. You may be surprised where you can find positions. Research where people that have the job you want are employed. See the type of work that they do and see if it matches what you would like to do.

7. Lastly, while you are waiting to find an internship placement, see if your university/college offers any type of research labs. One of the best parts of my degree was that I worked in a lab that focused on mental health resiliency and disasters. It was an amazing experience and it lead to me getting published. It is another thing that looks good when and if you determine you want to continue with your education. Plus, you meet some great, likeminded people in the research labs.

Forensic psychology is a fascinating field and it can be quite eye opening. I currently use the information that I learned while creating emergency and crisis plans. Understanding how people function and react in disasters, through what I obtained through my psychology program, allows for me to better understand how to write plans that are more people focused when needed. While it is not working directly in the psychology field, it complimented my first masters degree which was in emergency management and business continuity.

Best of luck as you continue in your education and pursue an internship!
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Blake’s Answer

Hey Asuama,

The best place to find internships would be at a career fair at your university. If your university doesn't have a career fair, then it will be a little more difficult but definitely doable. First, I would recommend looking at several companies websites to see if they have internship opportunities (companies that interest you would be preferred). If you aren't able to find anything through that venue, maybe reach out to local volunteer groups and see what opportunities that they have. Hope this helps!

Thanks,
Blake
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Tenaea A.’s Answer

Contact your local medical examiner, police department, juvenile justice department to see if you can intern. Alot of times, these internships are unpaid so be prepared for this (save up or work part time).
Look at city, state and/or federal agencies for internships as well. You may want to intern with private organizations that conduct forensic investigations.

Tenaea A. recommends the following next steps:

Get your bachelors degree
Intern with medical examiner, hospitals, police, juvenile department
Network with people in this field
You may have to get a Masters Degree
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