Summer Experience Award – Finding Opportunities

There are many opportunities that meet the requirements of getting funding through the Summer Experience Award. Yale’s Office of Career Strategy has the following tips as you start to search.

  • Determine which category(ies) within the SEA you are interested in spending your summer.
    The SEA categories are:
    • Arts Apprenticeship
    • Government
    • Nonprofit
    • Research
    • For profit (international only)
  • Consider whether you are seeking an opportunity within the U.S. or international.

After you have narrowed down the above options, it’s time to start coming up with organizations that you would want to work for that are eligible for the SEA. Keep in mind that the positions need to:

a) be unpaid or underfunded (below $2,000)

b) be at least 30 hours/wk for at least 8 weeks.

Review the complete eligibility guidelines here.

Here are some ideas on securing a position that meets the SEA eligibility requirements

1. Create Your Own Position
2. Apply to Established Opportunities that meet the SEA Requirements.
3. Utilize the Peer Networking Lists (YC Alumni & Summer Experiences Class Lists).

1. Create Your Own Position

Knowing that as long as you and the proposed opportunity meet all of the eligibility requirements of the SEA, you will receive the funding, one approach for securing a position is to reach out to organizations of interest and let them know that you come with funding. This has been a very effective way for Yale students to secure internships at host organizations they are interested in. Many employers do not feel comfortable having an unpaid intern but if the intern comes with funding, then they may consider it. This allows you to create target lists of host organizations and reach out to them to see if they are interested. It also can allow you to play an active role in proposing what you will be doing during your internship, which allows you to gain experience and skills in the areas you want.

These two links will provide some specific tools on how to take this approach:

Leverage SEA Funding to Secure a Summer Opportunity

Summer Experience Award – Sample Cold Emails  

2. Apply to Established Opportunities that meet the SEA Requirements

Another approach is to conduct internship searches based on the requirements of the SEA. This would typically include utilizing job boards where you can filter for criteria such as specific industries or sectors (nonprofit, research, government, arts) as well as for unpaid positions. There are many job boards out there that could support this approach and it will likely be further narrowed down by the specific SEA category that you are interested in.

Yale Career Link


Summer Research Guide


Common Good Career Job Boards


Media and Communications

OCS Federal Government Page (includes various listservs and job boards)

3. Utilize the Peer Networking Lists (Yale Alumni & Summer Experiences Class Lists)

OCS has lists of experiences Yalies have done in past summers. This data is easily searchable by a variety of filters including: class year, major, employer, industry, job function and much more. There is data going back for five years. These lists can be a beneficial tool to generate ideas and interest regarding which employers have hired Yale students.