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How to Apply

Where and When to Apply

How to Apply

Applying for More than One Internship Project

Questions


Where and When to Apply

To apply for an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, you will need to register for an account with the Smithsonian online academic appointments system (SOLAA) and apply through the National Museum of American History (NMAH) Internship Program, choosing your specific internship as your project choice. (More instructions below!)

Each internship cycle (spring, summer, and fall) has its own application deadline, date and time. Please note that all required components of an application, including recommendation letters, must be submitted on time for your application to be considered "complete." We do not allow for extensions, so be sure to accommodate enough time to double check your application to ensure that it is correct and complete.

**Please note: We will be posting Spring 2021 internship opportunities in mid-September. Thank you for your patience! Depending on the status of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Spring 2021 internship may be virtual, in-person, or hybrid (part in-person, part virtual); details are included in the individual postings for each internship opportunity. Any in-person or hybrid experience may be converted to virtual or postponed to ensure the safety and health of our staff and interns. The internship application deadline for Spring 2021 will be Monday, October 26th at 2 PM EST.**

 

 


How to Apply

Required Documents for Your Application

In your application, you will be required to provide specific materials in order to be considered for an internship. 

  • A learning goals essay. This essay should be between 500-to-1,250 words with a specific paragraph that explains what you hope to learn through the internship. Overall, the essay needs to addressing the following questions:
    1. What do you hope to learn through this internship, and how would the internship would relate to your academic and career goals?
      • When applying to an Upcoming Internship Opportunity, be sure to include learning goals for the specific internship experience that you've selected as your Project Choice.
      • When applying to a General Application Pool, please specify which specific division(s) within the larger Offices that you would like to intern with. For example, if you're applying to the General Application Pool: Office of Curatorial Affairs, you could specify that you'd like to intern with the Division of Work & Industry or the Preservation Services team.
    2. What about this internship project in particular interests you and made you want to apply for this internship?
    3. How have your past academic history, your present academic endeavors, and/or other relevant experiences outside of academia prepared you for this internship?
    4. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please also specify in your learning goals essay if you would like to be considered for a virtual, in-person, and/or hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) internship experience!
  • A current CV or resume
  • An unofficial transcript or class list of some kind--from all academic institutions you have listed on your application. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations. We will be flexible about the format of these materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Information for 2 references--be sure to click the envelope icon to trigger SOLAA to email your references to upload their recommendation letter.

When uploading these materials, please keep in mind that SOLAA supported file extensions include: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .xls, .xlsx, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .tif & .tiff
Also, please note that your application may be considered deficient if you do not include all of the documents requested. (If necessary, you may make other arrangements with the program coordinator to submit specific materials outside the system.)

Additionally, to keep unneeded personally identifiable information (PII) out of the application we request that you remove any unrequested PII, such as your social security number, from any of your application materials. We do not require official academic transcripts and if your transcript includes your social security number and/or date of birth we request that you redact this information before uploading it to the SOLAA system.

Registering for a SOLAA Account & Setting Up Your Application

First, register for an account in SOLAA.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

Then, after logging in to your new account in SOLAA, you will need to Start Your Application.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

Once you Start Your Application, the screen below will appear. Click the Program Type dropdown menu and select Internship.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

After you’re selected Internship as your Program Type, you will go to the Office/Museum/Research Center dropdown menu and select National Museum of American History.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

After selecting National Museum of American History, you will see the following screen. Please find the internship that says National Museum of American History (NMAH) Internship Program and click the green button that says Apply Now.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

Once you click Apply Now, the following screen will pop up, and you select Continue Application.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

 

Application First Steps: Personal Info, Current Affiliation, & Academic History

After selecting Continue Application, be sure to check your Applicant & Program Information to make sure your profile is accurate. Then, please read the Special Instructions to ensure that you are on track to a successful application submission before beginning to fill out the requested information, including Personal Info, Current Affiliation, and Academic History. You can keep track of your progress and save your application as you go by using the progress bar at the top of the screen.

an image of the SOLAA application progress bar

 

Selecting Your Internship: Program Choices

Once you get to Program Choices, select the internship project for which you are applying. Remember that you can submit multiple applications, each with a different project choice.

an image showing the dropdown menu for the application's project choices

 

Uploading Application Materials: Resume, Essay, Transcripts, Etc.

For Application Materials, you are require to upload:

  • A learning goals essay, between 500-to-1,250 words, addressing the following three questions:
    1. What do you hope to learn through this internship, and how would the internship would relate to your academic and career goals?
      • When applying to an Upcoming Internship Opportunity, be sure to include learning goals for the specific internship experience that you've selected as your Project Choice.
      • When applying to a General Application Pool, please specify which specific division(s) within the larger Offices that you would like to intern with. For example, if you're applying to the General Application Pool: Office of Curatorial Affairs, you could specify that you'd like to intern with the Division of Work & Industry or the Preservation Services team.
    2. What about this internship project in particular interests you and made you want to apply for this internship?
    3. How have your past academic history, your present academic endeavors, and/or other relevant experiences outside of academia prepared you for this internship?
  • A current CV or resume
  • An unofficial transcript or class list of some kind--from all academic institutions you have listed on your application. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations. We will be flexible about the format of these materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic; it can also include a screenshot of your class lists from your academic institutions. An unofficial or official transcript can be uploaded by first scanning the document and saving it as a .pdf or .jpeg. Please do not mail the transcript separately.

When uploading these materials, please keep in mind that SOLAA supported file extensions include: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .xls, .xlsx, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .tif & .tiff


Also, please note that your application may be considered deficient if you do not include all of the documents requested. (If necessary, you may make other arrangements with the program coordinator to submit specific materials outside the system.) Again, we will be flexible about the format of these materials due to COVID-19.

Additionally, to keep unneeded personally identifiable information (PII) out of the application we request that you remove any unrequested PII, such as your social security number, from any of your application materials. We do not require official academic transcripts and if your transcript includes your social security number and/or date of birth we request that you redact this information before uploading it to the SOLAA system.

 

Submitting Your References: Recommendation Letters & SOLAA Emails

When you get to the References section, you will be required to submit the reference details for two references, including their last name, first name, and email address. Once this information is submitted, please click the envelope icon for each reference in order to trigger SOLAA to send an email to your reference. You may submit your application before your references have been received by SOLAA. You can also keep track of whether your reference has been submitted yet by checking the "Completed" section of the reference form. 

an image showing the envelope icon to send a reference

Please note that all components of your application--including recommendation letters--must be submitted on time for your application to be considered "complete." This means that you must make sure that you accommodate enough time for your references to submit their recommendation letters before the application deadline. Also, again, be sure to click the “send email” envelope icon as this triggers the system to email your references with instructions for uploading their reference letter. Please let your reference to look out for this email from SOLAA!

 

Submitting Your Application: Final Questions

Next, you’ll be asked to answer Additional Questions before finally Submitting Your Application--but wait! Before you submit, be sure to go back through your application and double check that all of your information is correct, including: 

  • cycle and year of application (i.e., Fall 2020)
  • internship project choice (i.e., Exhibition Design Internship)
  • essay, transcripts, resume/CV
  • references' email addresses

You'll also need to double check that you've clicked the envelope button to trigger the email from SOLAA for your references to upload their letters. Please note: your reference doesn't need to be completed before you submit your application, but you will need to have the SOLAA email triggered ("Email Sent Date") before you submit your application.

Screenshot of SOLAA screen, confirming email sent to reference

Once you've double checked that every component of your application is correct, you can submit your application. Once submitted, you cannot upload or change anything within the application; if you need any help, please email the NMAH Interns & Fellows Program Manager. If you are asking for assistance within one week of the application deadline, please note that there may be a delay in response because of an influx of applicant inquiries, so plan ahead!

 

After Submitting Your Application

After submitting your application, it's good to keep track of whether your recommendation letters have been submitted to SOLAA. To do this, log in to SOLAA, and from your applicant dashboard, click to "View" your application., and scroll down to the References section. There, you can see if your reference has been completed.

A screenshot from a submitted SOLAA application to show that the reference status is completed

Please let your reference know that sometimes the SOLAA email gets sent to spam or junk folders, so it's good to let them know the date that you triggered the email to be sent. Recommendation letters must be submitted by the application submission deadline to be included in your application for review.

Mentors do not review applications until after the application submission deadline in order to ensure a fair review of all applicants, and decisions are expected to be made within four-six weeks of the application deadline. For this reason, it's good to make sure you're checking your email frequently after the application submission deadline just in case a potential mentor reaches out to you to schedule a phone interview. 


Applying for More than One Internship Project

If you are interested in more than one internship choice, that's great! You are encouraged to apply for any project choice that interests you, and SOLAA makes that process easy. In order to apply to multiple internship projects, you can “copy” your initial application in SOLAA and change the relevant information, including your project choice and your learning goals essay, before submitting again.

Screenshot of the SOLAA portal.

Each application should be focused on one internship project choice!

Also, each application will require you to submit contact information for two references. You may list different references for each internship if you'd like, or you may list the same references for each internship.

If you list the same references on multiple internship applications, please note that the email triggered in each application lists the application, National Museum of American History (NMAH) Internship, but not the indivudal project choice. Your reference can also submit the same letter of recommendation to all of your internship applications, or if your references would like assistance with submitting specific letters of recommendation for individual internships, please have them contact the NMAH Interns & Fellows Program Manager using this link 


Questions

If you have any questions about the application process, please email us via our contact form. If you have questions concerning the SOLAA application, please revisit the How to Apply section of our NMAH internship website or go to the Help section on the SOLAA website.