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RealArts@Penn provides internship opportunities to students in any college. Because of the program's small size, it won't be expected to compete with On Campus Recruiting. 

Credit: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

For students in the midst of the summer internship search process, OCR can seem like the only option.

However, since 2007, RealArts@Penn through the Kelly Writer's House creates a means through which a student of any college can be connected with internships in the entertainment, journalism and publishing fields. Students, primarily in the College, apply to up to two companies that the program has relationships with. The program is connected to between 20 and 25 companies each year, mostly in the entertainment industry.

As a part of the application, students submit a resume, cover letter and sometimes a writing sample. RealArts@Penn has a committee that reviews all of the internships, and the applicants that demonstrate the most promise are selected as finalists to be recommended to the company.

Out of about 500 applications they receive, the committee selects about 25. The process is highly selective, and the applicants with the highest probability of being selected are those that show a particular interest in the company they are applying for.

It ultimately comes down to whether the student’s application exudes the right combination of knowledge and passion.

“A good applicant illustrates their strengths in a way that they understand the company they are applying for. … We try to keep the spirit of tailor-made,” said R.J. Bernocco, Associate Director of Administration for RealArts@Penn.

Companies include the Philadelphia Inquirer, Viacom, Disney and other publishing houses and media companies.

The program was established in 2007 with only five or six internships. However, it has slowly grown over the years to encompass roughly 20-25 companies.

Although mostly geared toward the College, RealArts receives applications from all of the schools, including Nursing, Wharton and Engineering. There are no course requirements for the internships and the application process is non-exclusionary by school.

In years past, Engineering students have primarily applied to the animation internship at Disney.

For the students at other schools, RealArts@Penn may serve as the only opportunity students have to experiment with a different industry that is unrelated to their course of study.

“[RealArts] can be the only method to test the waters in a different realm,” Bernocco said.

Considering that RealArts@Penn is a highly selective program that can only offer internships to a small number of students, it does not exist to compete with On Campus Recruiting. Instead, it serves as a means through which humanities majors can find a path that may not be so clearly defined.

For humanities majors, Bernocco claims, internships can be a shoe-in into the industry of their choice. Although it is not the only way to get your foot in the door, they can be highly advantageous.

The program also fosters a mentorship program where students can learn from alumni who have taken similar paths. A lot of the connections to the various companies were established through alumni relations.

RealArts and the new Creative Career services seeks to help students combat humanities majors “feeling lost,” as Bernocco describes. The RealArts@Penn program seeks to enable students who may not have a defined career path to bring their skill sets and passions to fruition.

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