Frequently Asked Questions

APPLY HERE • GENERAL QUESTIONS • APPLICATION QUESTIONS • ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS 

***Join the Internships & Career Services (ICS) team at info sessions throughout January and early February to learn more about the Director's Internship program.***

The Director’s Internship is a signature program of the IOP. Since 1995, the IOP has partnered with high-profile organizations and elected officials around the world to provide substantive, career-oriented summer internships for undergraduate students interested in politics, government, and public service. These are fully-funded internships that allow students to gain experience in the public sector that may otherwise be difficult to obtain or finance. Students have reported these internships as leading to careers, larger networks, and significant development of professional skills. 

Apply HERE by Sunday, February 7 at 11:59pm ET

 


 

General Questions

Q: When will Director’s Internships be posted?

Q: What format will internships take in summer 2021?

Q: What is the deadline to apply for an IOP Director’s Internship?

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the IOP Director's Internship program?

Q: Are Director’s Internships competitive?

Q: How many Director's Internships can I apply for?

Q: How many positions are offered with each organization?

Q: How much is the Director’s Internship stipend?

Q: What can the Director’s Internship stipend be used for?

Q: I have a question about a specific Director’s Internship, who can I contact?

Q: After I submit my application, when can I expect to hear back?

Application Questions

Q: What application platform does the Director's Internship use? 

Q: What are the application requirements?

Q: Where do I fill out my application if I’m applying for a Director’s Internship co-sponsored with the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) or Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship (CPIC)

Q: What is the Statement of Interest requirement? 

Q: What format should my Statement of Interest be in?

Q: I'd like to have someone look at my resume, where should I go for that?

Q: What is the references requirement?

Q: Do I need to submit a letter of recommendation, writing sample, or other application materials?

Q: How long are Director’s Internships? How do I know when my internship will start?

Eligibility Questions

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the IOP Director's Internship program?

Q: I am a former Director’s Intern, am I still eligible to apply?

Q: Do I need to have been involved with the IOP to be eligible for a Director’s Internship? 

Q: I’m a first-year. Am I eligible to apply? 

Q: Am I still eligible if I won’t be on campus the fall term after the internship?

Q: Can I apply to more than 2 internships if I’m applying to domestic and international internships?


General Questions

Q: When will Director’s Internships be posted?

A: The 2021 Director’s Internship program application will open on Saturday, January 9 at 12:01am ET. Once the application is live, an updated list of host organizations will be available here


Q: What format will internships take in summer 2021?

A: In light of the ongoing public health crisis, the IOP is arranging internships that are able to be conducted remotely. A final determination about the format of internships will be shared in the coming months. 


Q: What is the deadline to apply for an IOP Director’s Internship?

A: The general deadline is Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. For this application deadline, eligible students may apply to TWO host organizations. 


Q: Who is eligible to apply for the IOP Director's Internship program?

A:  All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. Students who participated in the IOP Summer of Service virtual program during Summer 2020 are eligible to apply. However, students who participated in the Director’s Internship program during or before Summer 2019 are NOT eligible to apply.

  • STUDENTS ON LEAVE: If you are on leave during the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters, you may be eligible to apply. You will need to petition, and receive approval from, the Administrative Board for approval to use the CARAT Application Portal. Contact your Resident Dean to initiate the petition process as soon as possible. Please note that students on leave will not be eligible to apply until the Administrative Board has approved any request. We recommend students on leave begin this process as soon as possible.

  • FUTURE ELIGIBILITY: All participants in the IOP Director’s Internship program for Summer 2021 will be eligible to apply to the Director’s Internship program in subsequent summers provided they satisfy all other eligibility requirements.


Q: Are Director’s Internships competitive?

A: Director’s Internships are competitive, and organizations are looking for a best-fit. Take time to decide which organization(s) you’re most interested in, and where your skills and experience would be a good fit. It is highly recommended that you do background research into organizations that interest you and demonstrate that research and knowledge of the organization in your application.


Q: How many Director's Internships can I apply for?

A: Students may apply for up to two Director's Internships for the February 7th deadline. If you apply to two internships, you will need to submit two unique, separate applications through CARAT

Applications are considered separately, and host organizations only review their applications. Applying for a second Director’s Internship (that may be your second choice) will not hurt your chances to obtain your first choice. To increase chances of being accepted into the program, students are encouraged to apply to two host organizations.


Q: How many positions are offered with each organization?

A: In general, there is one internship position available per host organization.


Q: How much is the Director’s Internship stipend?

A: Students who are selected for the IOP Director’s Internship program will receive a $4000 stipend for 8 weeks of full-time work to take place between June 7 and August 13.

While in most cases this stipend comes exclusively from the IOP, occasionally a host organization may choose to provide a stipend. In those cases, the IOP will provide the difference between $4000 and the host organization's stipend (ie: if a host organization provides $2000, the Director’s Intern would receive $2000 from the IOP for a total of $4000). 

Additionally, the IOP and other funding centers at Harvard aim to distribute summer funding across the undergraduate community. Therefore, students who receive an IOP Director's Internship may not accept any additional Harvard funding for their internship. Students are also prohibited from accepting more than one substantial Harvard-funded summer opportunity each summer. In general, substantial experiences are defined as 8 weeks or longer. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard funding for any other projects at any point throughout the summer, the amount of the award, and the dates of the other project as soon as possible and no later than June 1 of the year of the award. The IOP reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board.


Q: What can the Director’s Internship stipend be used for?

A: Awards granted through the Director’s Internship program are to be used to support student expenses so that students can have an educational experience. Students may use funding to cover costs including housing, local transportation in program location (pending local public health guidelines), food, and incidentals.

Funding students receive from Harvard sources cannot be used to pay others to provide services or be given to an organization; for example, hiring third-party researchers or clinicians, or making charitable donations.


Q: I have a question about a specific Director’s Internship, who can I contact?

A: If you have specific questions your best resource is a past intern. Past interns are listed here and here, and past intern reflections are included with organization descriptions here. If you have questions about an organization that is new to the program this year, you can email IOP_ICS@hks.harvard.edu. You should not reach out to the organization directly.


Q: After I submit my application, when can I expect to hear back?

A: This varies for each organization. In general, final decisions are expected to be made no later than mid-April, and it is our hope that every applicant will receive an update on the status of their application by March 15, 2021.


Application Questions

Q: What application platform does the Director's Internship use? 

A: Director's Internship applications are submitted through CARAT. Once the application is live, you'll be able to see individual organization descriptions here and then apply through CARAT


Q: What are the application requirements?

A: The IOP Director’s Internship application has three required parts: RESUME, STATEMENT OF INTEREST, and REFERENCES. More details about each are below: 

  • RESUME: 1 page. 1” margins, 11 - 12 point font. You can find resources and templates for resumes here

  • STATEMENT OF INTEREST: Write a one-page statement that demonstrates your knowledge of, and interest in, the organization to which you are applying. 

    • Basics: The statement should be one page in length, single spaced, with Times New Roman, 11 - 12 point font, and submitted in PDF format.   

    • Tone & Format: The tone and format of your Statement of Interest may vary depending on the organization(s) to which you're applying. The format can range between a college application essay and a traditional cover letter. This range is meant to allow you the freedom to choose what best suits you and fits the organization to which you’re applying. Your Statement of Interest can fall anywhere in that range (i.e. if you'd like to submit a traditional cover letter, you're free to do that).

    • Salutation: If you’d like to use a salutation, you can address your Statement to the organization or to some variation of “IOP Director’s Internship Selection Committee.”

  • REFERENCES: You will need to provide the names and contact information for two references. A reference can be anyone you choose - a professor, a coach, a tutor, a boss, etc. Depending on your class year, you may decide to choose someone from your time in high school. Your reference should be able to speak in detail about the positive skills and traits you possess. Please inform your reference that they may be contacted by the Director’s Internship selection committee during the course of evaluating your application.

    • NOTE: The IOP Director, Executive Director, and the Internships and Career Services program staff are not able to serve as references for the Director's Internship application.


Q: Where do I fill out my application if I’m applying for a Director’s Internship co-sponsored with the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) or Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship (CPIC)

A: All applications for Director’s Internships co-sponsored with HGHI or CPIC are accepted via CARAT. You will need to apply for those internships here.


Q: What is the Statement of Interest requirement? 

A: The Statement of Interest is somewhere between a cover letter and a college application essay. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the organization to which you are applying. The Statement's range between a college application essay and a cover letter is meant to allow you the freedom to choose what best suits you, and your Statement of Interest can fall anywhere in that range (ie: if you'd like to submit a traditional cover letter, you're free to do that). If you’d like to use a salutation, you can address your Statement to the organization or to some variation of “IOP Director’s Internship Selection Committee.”

The tone and format of your Statement of Interest may vary depending on the organization(s) you're applying to and the organization's public persona. Looking at an organization's online presence (website, social media, etc) is a good way to gauge their tone. A strong Statement of Interest will make a clear and convincing argument of your candidacy and a strong connection between you and the organization. If you are applying to two Director's Internships, your Statement of Interest should be unique for each organization. 


Q: What format should my Statement of Interest be in?

A: It should be one page in length, Times New Roman, 11 or 12 point font, single spaced. It must be submitted in PDF format. 


Q: I'd like to have someone look at my resume, where should I go for that?

A:  For resume review, please visit the  Office of Career Services  (OCS), for their daily drop-ins. OCS also has great online resources for resumes, including templates and online workshops. Resumes must be kept to one page. 


Q: What is the references requirement?

A: In one PDF document, you will need to provide the name, title (if applicable), email and phone number(s) of TWO references. A reference can be anyone you choose - a professor, a coach, a tutor, a boss, etc. Depending on your class year, you may decide to choose someone from your time in high school. Your reference should be able to speak in detail about the positive skills and traits you possess. Please inform your reference that they may be contacted by the Director’s Internship selection committee during the course of evaluating your application.


Q: Do I need to submit a letter of recommendation, writing sample, or other application materials?

A: You DO NOT need to submit a letter of recommendation, writing sample, or other materials to the IOP application on CARAT. However, AFTER the application closes, some organizations may request that finalists submit a letter of recommendation, writing sample, or other materials directly to their office. Please review the internship descriptions for the positions to which you are applying to confirm whether additional application materials are required of you AFTER the application deadline.


Q: How long are Director’s Internships? How do I know when my internship will start?

A: Director’s Internships are at least 8 weeks of full time work, though they can be longer. Unless otherwise stated in the internship description, internships will take place between June 7 and August 13 in Summer 2021. 


Eligibility Questions

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the IOP Director's Internship program?

A:  All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. Students who participated in the IOP Summer of Service virtual program during Summer 2020 are eligible to apply. However, students who participated in the Director’s Internship program during or before Summer 2019 are NOT eligible to apply.

  • STUDENTS ON LEAVE: If you are on leave during the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters, you may be eligible to apply. You will need to petition, and receive approval from, the Administrative Board for approval to use the CARAT Application Portal. Contact your Resident Dean to initiate the petition process as soon as possible. Please note that students on leave will not be eligible to apply until the Administrative Board has approved any request. We recommend students on leave begin this process as soon as possible.

  • FUTURE ELIGIBILITY: All participants in the IOP Director’s Internship program for Summer 2021 will be eligible to apply to the Director’s Internship program in subsequent summers provided they satisfy all other eligibility requirements.


Q: I am a former Director’s Intern, am I still eligible to apply?

A: All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. Students who participated in the IOP Summer of Service virtual program during Summer 2020 are eligible to apply. 

Students who held a Director’s Internship before Summer 2020 are not eligible to reapply for the program. This includes internships that are co-sponsored with other organizations across campus. For those students, we are always happy to talk about summer (and/or career) plans and think about how to best approach planning. Former Director’s Interns are eligible to apply for the IOP Summer Stipend Program.


Q: Do I need to have been involved with the IOP to be eligible for a Director’s Internship? 

A: No. All returning Harvard College students who meet the eligibility criteria are able to apply; involvement in the IOP is not a prerequisite.


Q: I’m a first-year. Am I eligible to apply? 

A: Yes. All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. Generally about 25% of Director’s Interns are first-years. 


Q: Am I still eligible if I won’t be on campus the fall term after the internship?

A: All currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates who intend to be enrolled at Harvard College in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply and participate. If you will not be enrolled in Fall 2021, you are not eligible. For instance, if you will be studying abroad in Fall 2021 but will still be considered a full-time student, you are eligible. However, if you are taking a semester off in Fall 201, you would not be eligible. Seniors who are graduating in May are not eligible for Director’s Internships.


Q: Can I apply to more than 2 internships if I’m applying to domestic and international internships?

A: No. You can apply for up to two internships that are sponsored by the IOP Director's Internship program, regardless of whether they are domestic or international, co-sponsored or not. However, if you apply for two internships that are co-sponsored by the IOP and another organization (e.g. Harvard Global Health Institute, Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship), you are still eligible to apply for any additional (not co-sponsored) internships with that organization until you have reached that organization's application limit. Example: Students who apply to two Director's Internships co-sponsored with the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship (CPIC) are allowed to apply for an unlimited number of additional CPIC internships that are NOT co-sponsored with the IOP.


Further questions should be directed to IOP_ICS@hks.harvard.edu .