Making Your Summer Plan Decision: What to do when you’ve received offers and rejections

I received an offer for an internship! What do I do now? 

Step 1: Gratitude and Confirming Details

  • Congratulations! Give yourself a high five. 
  • Thank them for the opportunity as soon as possible over email. Use this email to ask any questions and confirm details, including information regarding dates of employment and compensation, if necessary. Confirm when you need to alert them of your decision to take the offer. 
  • Do not officially accept the offer right away so you can make an informed decision, even if you’re excited. This also allows you to contact other internships you applied to in order to make sure you do not have another offer. 
  • If you are waiting to hear back from other opportunities you are also very interested in, you may email them and politely ask for an update on your application status. Alert the other employer(s) that you have another offer (don’t say where) but you are very excited about their opportunity. Be sure to include the date when you must make your decision by. 

Step 2: Reflection and Aligning With Your Goals

  • Reflect on your own and talk with people you trust about the opportunity. Ask yourself honestly, ‘Is this an internship that is best for me and my needs this summer? Will this internship help to meet my goals?’ 
  • Review the position description, the organization’s website, contact you’ve had with the organization and notes to help you make your decision. Look back on your Houston Program application and re-read what you envisioned for yourself this summer. Try to make a pro and con list, noting which criteria are most important to you. 
  • Examine your financial needs and expectations for the summer. Does this internship enable you to meet your financial situation?

Step 3: Communicating Your Decision

  • Email your official decision by the predetermined deadline, confirming the details outlined in your offer. Ask if there is any form or training you need to complete or anyone you need to communicate with in advance of your start date. Then, inquire when/with whom you’ll be coordinating with before your first day. 
  • Respectfully decline all other offers and/or withdraw your other applications. Take time to do this! This is a courteous practice that makes a difference for employers as they are hiring interns. Remember that you never know who you might be working with in the future and it is important to maintain respectful relationships. If you are withdrawing an application for a position you have never heard back from, detail the name of the position you applied to and when you submitted your application

Step 4: Stick To Your Commitments and Start Planning

  • When you accept an offer, you must stick to your commitment unless there is a personal emergency. Backing out of an offer after you accept is highly unprofessional and puts organizations in difficult positions. If you begin the internship and it is an uncomfortable situation or unsafe environment, contact us immediately. 
  • Think carefully about logistics surrounding your internship: Where will you be living? Do you need to practice any skills or tools you’ll be utilizing on the job? If you are remote, what will your home office setup be? What are your travel plans, if any? More info on this topic in our next newsletter! 

I was rejected from all the internships I applied for. Help! 

  • Take a breath. This is disappointing and probably not what you expected. Everyone receives rejections and while they hurt, they also allow us to reflect, learn, and be better prepared for the next opportunity. 
  • Re-evaluate your needs and goals for the summer to figure out what in terms of your criteria you might need to be flexible with. Be honest about what might be necessary, like financial realities, as well as what you might be willing to compromise on, like the kind of internship.
  • Reach out for support from the Loeb Center, from your Amherst network, friends and family. You never know what opportunity someone may know about. Utilize the Loeb Center and have us review your resume, cover letters, and other application materials to make sure you are representing yourself in the best way possible. 
  • Re-imagine what this summer can look like. Remember that a meaningful summer that supports your personal and professional growth is not limited to an internship. It can come from a full-time job, multiple part-time jobs, a combination of paid work and volunteering, working on a personal project, or learning a new skill. 

Internship Search Advice From Fellow Students

  • Did you know that you can use Handshake as a way to connect with other students who have interned with organizations you’re applying to? Tom ‘25 messaged students from other colleges who were listed at the bottom of his internship’s post to ask them about their experiences. Their insights deepened his understanding of the internship and helped to make his decision! 
  • Still strengthening your resume? Former PCA Grace ‘23E recommends, “While looking at job descriptions for previous experiences you’ve had can be helpful in recalling those responsibilities, be sure to use your own language to talk about past opportunities on a resume! Making sure your descriptions reflect the specific work and impact that you had at each experience will help make you a stronger candidate.”  
By Emily Tareila
Emily Tareila Program Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Internship Program