08/10/2012 08:47 am ET Updated Oct 10, 2012

How to Manage Your Fall Internship

While many college students pursue internships during summer vacation, fall is just as good a time for those interested in interning. Many internships are available during the fall as many companies offer them in coordination with the academic calendars of local colleges and universities. Fall internships also tend to be easier to get since fewer students apply for them.

Of course, interning during the fall presents its own challenges, namely that you are likely taking classes and maybe even working a part-time job in addition to your internship. Though this dynamic might be difficult to balance, it is not impossible, and you may, in fact, thrive under such a demanding schedule. Here are a few tips on effectively managing your fall internship:

Practice time management

Time management is essential to any internship, but especially fall internships when you're likely to have a number of different responsibilities and obligations to maintain. You have to ensure you make time for everything without sacrificing your physical and mental health, so be certain to plan your schedule ahead of time. This might include scheduling down time in addition to your internship and classes, so you will definitely have time to relax around your busy schedule.

Balance your internship with your studies

What you take in school is important -- not just for satisfying course requirements, but for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Since internships can run the gamut from relaxing to demanding, pair the classes you take with the rigors of your work. If you're internship involves a lot of busy work, you're probably better off taking less intense classes on the days you'll be interning.

Supplement your internship with classes

Most students apply for internships without having much knowledge of the field they're trying to gain experience in; in fact, that's often why some students apply for internships in the first place. Just because you're going into something unfamiliar doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do your homework -- literally: Consider taking classes that will increase your knowledge of the field you're interning in. For example, if you're interning at a law office, a political science or even a philosophy course might give you some valuable insight into the field.

Be flexible

Internships can be unpredictable; you might sign on with certain expectations or duties, only to find that those have changed by the time you begin. In other cases, you might advance in your internship to acquire greater responsibility. It's important you be mindful about how this will affect school, your schedule and all of your other obligations. You have to be flexible. Though most fall internships require less time than their summer counterparts, they might still make demands of you that your schedule might not accommodate. Be sure to negotiate time for your work before entering into any agreement.

By Harrison Kratz, University of North Carolina