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How to Apply

Applications for summer 2021 will open on Monday, February 15 and close on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 11:59PM CST.

*COVID UPDATE* Please read the below in full before applying.
SIGP will support both virtual and in-person summer experiences (in their home countries where students hold citizenship) for this year. Please note: If a SIGP recipient’s employer is requiring in-person work, recipients will have to agree and abide by federal, state, county, and city COVID-19 guidelines for their summer experience.

Per University COVID-19 guidelines, SIGP cannot be used for an *in-person* international summer experience unless the recipient holds citizenship in that country. Recipients can use SIGP if they wish to work *remotely* for an organization in a country abroad. Only recipients who are staying or returning to their home countries of citizenship will be permitted to have an in-person summer experience outside of the United States.

Step 1: Qualifications

Current Northwestern undergraduate students who meet all of the following criteria:

  • A current undergraduate student who will be enrolled for at least fall quarter of the following academic year and is a full-time degree seeking student in one of the following schools/colleges: Bienen, McCormick, Medill, NU-Q, School of Communication, SESP or Weinberg.
  • Demonstrate financial need. If you do not receive financial aid from Northwestern, you will have to explain your financial need for the summer in Essay 3 of the application.
  • Pursing an unpaid summer experience.
  • Receiving 0.25 or less credit. Please note: SIGP CANNOT be combined with programs within Northwestern that offer credit such as GESI, Chicago Field Studies, Engage Chicago, as they offer their own funding streams.
  • Not receiving any money from the employer or other non-academic summer grants/awards from Northwestern.
  • Summer experience meets the required 250 hours of work between June-September and has a designated supervisor.
  • Has a summer experience secured by June 1. *Please note: At time of application, students are not required to have the summer experience secured. If selected for award, recipients who do not have an internship at time of selection must meet with NCA career adviser to develop search strategy. Awardees without secured internship by June 1 forfeit their grant.
  • Although you can apply to SIGP and other grants on campus, if awarded SIGP CANNOT be combined with any other grants on campus. Students would have to choose SIGP OR any of the other grants. 

Please note: previous SIGP recipients CAN reapply.

Step 2: Attend Information Session and Review Resources

Information sessions will be at the below times. Registration for sessions will be posted in Handshake.

  • Virtual session available for viewing anytime
  • Tuesday, February 23 from 12:30-1:00pm | Scheduled Zoom session
  • Thursday, March 4 from 4:30pm-5:00pm | Scheduled Zoom session
  • Wednesday, March 17 from 5:00-5:30pm | Scheduled Zoom session

Make a virtual appointment through Handshake (Career Center  > Appointments > Schedule A New Appointment > Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) > SIGP Appointment Types)

  • SIGP Program Information - Any questions on qualifying experiences or the program itself
  • SIGP Application Review - Essay review and summer experience search questions

Step 3: Write 2 Essays with Optional 3rd Essay

Part of the application for SIGP is to make your case for selection through well-written essay responses. Students should write these essays in a word processing program and copy and paste them into the text box in the application portal. The total length of the 2 essays should not exceed 900 words.  The optional 3rd essay will be pasted into a separate text box and not counted in this word count.

  • Essay 1: Describe the organization and summer internship/experience that you have secured or hope to secure this summer. What are you hoping to learn or gain from this experience? (Think about specific skills, networking opportunities, industry experience, etc. Be as specific as possible – this should relate directly to the summer experience. Additionally, if you have applied to multiple opportunities, choose one to focus on for the main part of the essay.) Furthermore, how do you anticipate this experience impacting you or the NU community when you return to campus?
  • Essay 2: How have your academic studies and extra-curricular activities influenced your interest in pursuing this type of internship? How will this specific summer experience opportunity help you develop your overall academic and career goals/aspirations?
  • Optional Essay 3: If you have any additional or new financial information that is not reflected on your General Application or in your financial aid package from Northwestern that relates to your summer funding needs, please provide those details as “Essay 3”

Step 4: Resume and Budget

  • Update your one-page Professional Resume
  • In the application, you will be asked your budget over the course of your summer experience. Please be sure to consider all your living costs and enter each expense as the questions are asked. You will also be asked to total all of your expenses. *Please note: The purpose of the budget is to show the selection committee that you’ve thought through what living and travel expenses you might incur during the summer.

Step 5: Submit Your Application

  • The application is a two-step process: 
    • Step 1. You must first complete the General Application on the SES One Form. **If you have never logged into the SES One Form before, the system will automatically start you here upon log in.**
    • Step 2. After completing the General Application, you MUST complete the “Northwestern Career Advancement - Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP)” Application. **Please note: the SIGP questions are different from the General Application Questions**
    • If you have technical issues with your application, please email

Don’t forget this year’s application for SIGP is due on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 11:59PM CST.