How to Intern for the State Department

jan 27

Before I give a brief narration of the APPLICATION PROCESS for the U.S. Department of State STUDENT INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, I want to point out that I am NOT an EXPERT on these matters. I am simply a satisfied intern who wants students with my similar career aspirations to take part in such a REWARDING program. The information provided below is simply a summary of the Student Internship Program Brochure.

The program is without a doubt highly COMPETITIVE with a few specific requirements. But please do not let that deter you from applying. If you have the right MINDSET, I believe that you will have a chance. I’ve noticed that all State Department interns share the same characteristic: AMBITION. Every intern I have met so far applied for the program in hopes of furthering his/her’s career objectives. These interns have set goals for their lives and they are ambitious to achieve them. If you have a DREAM and believe that this internship will aid you in accomplishing that dream, then you have the right MINDSET.

US Citizen
Undergraduates (juniors and seniors) and Graduate Students
Minimum 2.5 GPA
Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance

Visit, then visit the STUDENT PROGRAMS section. Click on “U.S. Department of State Student Internship Program” then continue through the “Gateway to State.” This link will only appear when the program is accepting applications. Also, I would suggest Signing Up to Receive Email Updates regarding when this program is open to receive applications.

The application is straight-forward and easy to navigate. You will need to provide your resume, a Statement of Interest (2,500 characters), an official or unofficial transcript, and other required documents. Then, you must select up to two bureaus in which you would like to be assigned.

The bureaus/posts you applied for are in charge of selecting the applicants. The Student Programs Office will then inform the candidates, whether he/she has been selected as a Primary orAlternate. Primaries are the bureau’s first-choice and Alternates are their second-choice. Alternates replace Primaries when he/she declines the offer or does not receive a security clearance.

The hardest part of the process, personally, was obtaining the Security Clearance. Celebrating my acceptance into the program was not as gratifying as celebrating my clearance. I am an impatient individual, so those 60-120 days that it took to receive my clearance was torturous. Also, don’t be surprised if an investigator requests to conduct an in person interview. Receiving my clearance took a load off my shoulders since I had purchased my plane tickets in advance, signed my lease in D.C., and was mentally prepared to say “Adios” to the West Coast.

Please continue reading my blog posts for tips on surviving the winter East Coast weather, restaurant and food recommendations, and information about life in D.C. Make sure to visit my website (!


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