A Guide to Remote Internships

By Brandi Lucey · August 14, 2023 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

A Guide to Remote Internships

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the landscape of internships, giving rise to more remote-only opportunities. Even as companies have gone back to in-person and hybrid work, many have made remote internships a permanent offering. As a result, you are not necessarily limited by geography when looking for a college internship. But are virtual internships valuable?

The short answer is, yes. However, there are some steps you may want to take to ensure you get the most you can out of the experience. Here are key things to know about remote college internships.

Finding Remote Internships

Colleges usually have information about internships, both those that are available during the school year and summer internships. Students can check in with their school’s career center and see what intel it has on remote internships.

Students who are looking for remote internships can also get in touch with those in the alumni organization, ask around in their personal networks, and see if their schools will be hosting any job fairs during the upcoming semester.

You might also check out the Virtual Student Federal Service, which matches students with projects from a variety of federal agencies. This program is virtual, students can be in charge of their timetable, and the commitment is 10 hours a week. The application period for the program is July 1-31 every year.

💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders help you pay down your student loans sooner with reward points you earn along the way

Creating a Home Office to Support Success

Working from home is a new experience for some people, so creating an environment that helps to maintain focus and health is key to success.

As with any office building, there are a few things that can be done to make the space healthier.

Those who will be spending most of the day in their home office may want to consider opening the windows, keeping the space clean, and investing in an air purifier.

A key piece of staying productive and reducing stress is having an organized space. When working from home, it helps to have a desk free of clutter.

Research has shown that maintaining an organized space helps with cognition, emotional health, and behavior. All of these factors contribute to how people perform at work.

Succeeding at an internship as well as at school could be challenging for students.

Setting boundaries for their work may help with prioritizing and prevent students from losing valuable study time.
Having set work hours can make it easier for students to turn “off” work mode and transition into study or relaxation mode.

Recommended: 3 Summer Jobs Ideas for College Students

Need some extra help paying
for school? SoFi is here for you.

Paying Attention to Health

Students should also be aware of the impact that working from home can have on their physical health.

Long hours on a computer, both writing papers and doing work for their internship, can take a toll.

To prevent eye strain, students can adopt the 20-20-20 rule. It goes like this: Every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

In addition to preventing eye strain, students may want to pay attention to their posture throughout the day.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends working in a neutral position that won’t strain joints and tendons, and changing positions, stretching, and walking throughout the day, as well as performing some tasks while standing.

Physical health isn’t the only kind that can be affected by spending long periods of time at home.

Some people have reported that working from home caused them to feel more stress, whereas others said it reduced stress. Since this varies, students will have to keep an eye out for mental well-being during a remote internship.

To take care of their mental health, students can implement routines like walking, meditating, and calling friends.

Recommended: Finding Free Money for College

Finding Value in Virtual Networking

Video calls are a great way to connect and network with others virtually.

Emails and phone calls are still important pieces of remote work, but with video calls, it’s easier to connect with remote co-workers and better understand them during meetings.

Nonverbal communication skills are essential to good communication.

This means that networking virtually is possible. Networking during an internship is important because internships have the potential to turn into full-time positions.

Asking colleagues to get together for a video chat to ask questions or better understand their position could improve the chance of being offered a job at the end of the internship.

Networking virtually takes planning and intentional communication, because coworkers can’t bond over lunch or chat at the water cooler.

Setting up a virtual chat to get to know colleagues better can demonstrate the ability to take initiative and how serious the intern is taking the position.

Recommended: A Guide to Post Grad Internships

Starting Off on the Right Foot

A virtual internship is going to work a bit differently from an in-person internship, which means students should be ready to ask a lot of questions.

Before beginning the internship, prepare a list of questions to ask the employer via email or video chat.

Asking questions can help students develop important leadership skills, so it’s a good habit to develop during an internship.

Starting an internship off right also involves setting up regular check-ins with a manager. They may do this already, but if not, it’s OK to ask for it to be implemented.

Receiving regular feedback can improve performance, and therefore help students get the most out of their internships.

Juggling studies and a remote internship may be intense, so part of being prepared is getting a calendar to track important dates and internship tasks.

Blocking off time in a calendar to focus on the internship tasks could prevent moments of burnout and overwhelm.

Brushing Up On the Tech

Before beginning a virtual internship, it could help students to get familiar with the common platforms that are used in remote work for communication, task management, file sharing, and online calendars.

Each workplace is going to use different programs; some may prefer Asana versus Trello when it comes to task management, and some may prefer Slack versus Basecamp for communication within the team.

There are tons of programs out there to make virtual work easier. Interns won’t be able to learn them all, but brushing up on what’s popular may ease anxiety and increase feelings of preparedness.

Recommended: Am I Eligible for Work-Study?

Documenting Your Success

It can be really easy to forget all that has been accomplished during an internship.

Most internships last a whole semester (or summer), and if students aren’t tracking what their tasks and accomplishments are, they may forget them.

This is important information for students to keep for both themselves and their managers.

Keeping things documented can help students easily add their accomplishments and new skills to their resume.

It will also make it easier for managers to write a letter of recommendation at the end of the internship.

With luck, the manager will remember the best of the accomplishments, but if they’re managing a large team it could be difficult for them to write a letter without reference points.

A letter of recommendation can help students once they enter the workforce and begin applying for jobs.

💡 Quick Tip: It’s a good idea to understand the pros and cons of private student loans and federal student loans before committing to them.

Keeping the Financial Support Flowing

Many college internships are paid, but some are not. Either way, you’ll likely still need financial support to cover the cost of college — which usually goes well beyond tuition.

Your funding options include federal aid (including grants, scholarships, and subsidized student loans), savings, help from parents or others, and private student loans.

It’s generally recommended that students exhaust all options of federal aid (including federal loans) before moving on to private loans.

Federal loans come with benefits that students may not find elsewhere, such as income-based student loan repayment plans.

If you still have gaps in funding, you may want to apply for a private student loan. These are available from banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Rates and terms are determined by the lender. Students who have excellent credit (or can recruit a cosigner who does) generally qualify for the lowest rates.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender