Home     Apply     School Policies     Syllabus     FAQs     Contact


 
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Application and Selection Process

Do I need prior political experience?

Do I need to be a political science major?

Can I do the internship after I’ve graduated?

Are there internships available for graduate students?

Does it help to get a letter of recommendation from my Senator or Representative?

How many interns do you take from each school?

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to do the internship?

Do I have to be a Washington resident to do the internship?

Who is my required faculty sponsor?

 

Schedule and Credit

When are internships available?

How long is the internship?

Can I do it in the summer?

How many quarters is the internship?

How many semesters is the internship?

How much credit do I get for the internship?

Do I have to do the internship for school credit?

Can I start after orientation since I already have January plans?

 

Internship Logistics

How much will I be paid?

Who will I work for?

How do I know which party I will be placed with?

Can I choose whether I want to be in the House or Senate?

What will I do as an intern?

Will I be involved in political campaigning as an intern?

Will I be able to advocate for a cause I am passionate about during the internship?

What are the academic components of the internship?

How should I dress for the internship?

Where will I live during the internship?

I don’t have a car.  Will this be a problem?

 

Don't see your question here?  Email us at civic.ed@leg.wa.gov.


 Application and Selection Process

Do I need prior political experience?

No. Successful interns come from all backgrounds and disciplines. Campaign or other political work does not make you more likely to be selected.

top

Do I need to be a political science major?

No. We welcome students in any major or discipline who are interested in learning about public policy. It’s helpful to have taken a college class in government or political science, but not required.

top 

Can I do the internship after I’ve graduated?

No. All internships must be taken for undergraduate academic credit at a four-year university.

top 

Are there internships available for graduate students?

Not through the Legislative Internship Program. Senate Committee Services, the House Office of Program Research, the Secretary of State’s Office, and the Governor’s Office all offer internships that are open to recent college graduates and/or law and graduate students, as do a number of state agencies. Check agency websites for current programs.

top 

Does it help to get a letter of recommendation from my Senator or Representative?

If you are personally acquainted with a legislator, they are welcome to write one of your letters of recommendation. Recommendations from a legislator do not carry more weight than those from other sources in our application review process.

top 

How many interns do you take from each school?

It varies year to year. We select the most qualified candidates who represent a range of skills, backgrounds, interests, and areas in Washington.

top 

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to do the internship?

No. You must be eligible to work in the United States.

top 

Do I have to be a Washington resident to do the internship?

If you attend college in Washington State, you do not need to be a Washington resident. (Washington residents who are attending college out of state are also eligible if they are still registered to vote in Washington.)

top 

Who is my required faculty sponsor?

Contact the individuals listed on the School Policies page to discuss faculty sponsorship with your school. If your school is not listed, contact your career or internship office and your academic advisor to identify a faculty sponsor and make arrangements to receive credit before you apply.

top 

 

Schedule and Credit

When are internships available?

Internships take place while the Legislature is in regular session, beginning in early January and ending in mid-March (even-numbered years) or late April (odd-numbered years).

top 

How long is the internship?

In even-numbered years, the internship is 60 days (January through mid-March). In odd-numbered years, the internship is 105 days (January through April).

top 

Can I do it in the summer?

No. Undergraduate internships are available only while the Legislature is in regular session (January-March in even-numbered years, January-April in odd).

top

How many quarters is the internship?

In even-numbered years, the internship is one quarter (the 60-day session runs January through mid-March). In 105-day sessions (odd years), interns attending quarter schools may end their internships at the end of their winter quarter. Some students stay beyond winter quarter for the full 105 days. Contact your school for more information on your school's requirements.

top 

How many semesters is the internship?

For semester system students, the internship concludes at the end of the legislative session, whether 60 days or 105 days. Contact your school for details.

top 

How much credit do I get for the internship?

The amount and type of credit are up to each school. Check with the coordinators listed on our School Policies page to discuss your credit arrangements.

 top

Do I have to do the internship for school credit?

Yes.

top

Can I start after orientation since I already have January plans?

No. In order to do the internship you must be available for all of orientation.

top 

 

Internship Logistics

How much will I be paid?

In the past, interns have been paid between $0 and $1300 per month. In 2014, interns were paid $1300 per month and we anticipate paying the same amount in 2015. However, the amount of compensation is subject to the availability of state funds and could change should the economic situation dictate.

top

Who will I work for?

In the Senate, most interns work with one Senator’s office (some work for caucus staff). In the House, interns typically work with the offices of two to four Representatives. Interns are directly supervised by the House or Senate intern coordinator, and receive assignments from the legislative assistants of the offices they are placed with.

top 

How do I know which party I will be placed with?

Interns are placed with offices based on a variety of factors, including interests, personality, and party affiliation. To the best of our ability, we make placements where both the intern and the office will be comfortable. When we interview you, please be honest, so that we can make appropriate placements.

top

Can I choose whether I want to be in the House or Senate?

All applications are received and considered jointly by the House and Senate programs. We make hiring decisions for each body based on the needs of the offices and cannot guarantee you will be placed in one or the other. All interns participate in the same program activities.

top 

What will I do as an intern?

Specific projects and duties vary from office to office. As legislative staff members, interns are expected to perform the duties required to help their offices function smoothly. This includes some administrative tasks, like filing, data entry, and covering the front desk, as well as projects like conducting research, attending meetings, responding to constituents, and tracking legislation. We work closely with each office to ensure that interns are given substantive work and learning opportunities as part of their experience here. Not everything you are asked to do will be exciting or glamorous, but everything is important. See the Internship Syllabus for more details about typical work assignments and the internship’s academic components.

top 

Will I be involved in political campaigning as an intern?

No. Washington State has some of the country’s strictest ethics laws prohibiting campaign activities in state facilities or on state time. During the hours you are at work at the Legislature, you may not participate in any political campaigning, lobbying, or other inappropriate use of state time and resources. Some interns go on to work on campaigns based on connections they made during the internship, but all campaign-related conversations and activities must take place after hours and away from the Capitol Campus.

top 

Will I be able to advocate for a cause I am passionate about during the internship?

No. Washington State’s ethics laws prohibit legislative employees, including interns, from lobbying elected officials in any capacity (testifying before a committee, attending a rally, wearing or distributing material supporting or opposing a legislative proposal, asking or attempting to persuade a legislator to vote for or against something, among other activities). Because of the daily contact staff members have with legislators, they are not allowed to use their positions to influence legislation. However, the internship is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the policies and positions behind an issue, make connections with people who work in your area of interest, and gain an understanding of the legislative process, which can help you be a better advocate after the internship is over.

top 

What are the academic components of the internship?

Interns are required to participate in the program’s legislative trainings, presentations, and educational activities, which take place throughout session. Most schools require additional academic work, such as a research paper, book reviews, and/or participation in regular seminars with a faculty member during the internship. Contact your campus internship coordinator for your school’s requirements.

top 

How should I dress for the internship?

Interns, like other staff, are expected to dress professionally. For men, a suit jacket and tie are required to have access to the House and Senate floor. Women should dress with equal professionalism. Jeans, tennis shoes, and revealing clothes are definitely out. This does not mean, however, that interns are expected to buy an entire new wardrobe. Many interns get by with just one jacket or a few outfits.

top

Where will I live during the internship?

Interns are responsible for their own housing. Olympia has plenty of housing options available during session. The Legislature provides a list of available housing, and many interns choose to be on our roommate list and arrange to live with fellow interns. While finding reasonable accommodations is not usually a problem, you should seek housing as soon as possible after you are hired.

top 

I don’t have a car. Will this be a problem?

You don’t need a vehicle to participate in the internship. Thurston County has a public transit system and some interns arrange carpools.

top 

Image button to the Civic Education home page