Collective Rising Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: This timeline reflects recent updates to our 2021 program with consideration of COVID-19. 

2021 Collective Rising Timeline: 

  • Week of December 14, 2020: Application opens 

  • February 14, 2021: Application closes at 11:59pm PST 

  • March 5: Candidates selected to interview will be notified 

  • March 10-30: Candidate Interviews 

  • April 5: All candidates (accepted, waitlisted, and denied) will be notified 

  • April 9 by Noon: Acceptance deadline 

  • April 16: Waitlisted acceptance deadline [if applicable] 

  • May 2021: All interns attend mandatory intern training  

  • June 1 2021: Earliest date interns begin 10-week internships 

  • August 27 2021: All internships have been completed and all required materials have been submitted 

General questions 

Do I have to know a lot about reproductive rights before I apply? 

No, we welcome students with varying degrees of knowledge and experience with reproductive rights and social justice. 

Do I need to have a certain major in school? 

No, we have a mix of majors each year. 

I'm graduating in Spring or Summer with my BA/BS, can I still apply? 

No, you must not be graduating with a four-year degree in Spring or Summer. In other words, you must be a returning student in the semester following your Collective Rising internship. 

I'm in graduate school, can I apply? 

No, graduate students are not eligible for a Collective Rising internship. 

Is the virtual Collective Rising training a requirement for the program? 

Yes, all interns are required to attend the training in the spring. 

I attend a two-year college, can I still apply? 

Yes, we opened our program to students at community colleges in 2007. 

I'm a non-traditional student, can I still apply? 

Yes, we welcome all undergraduate students. 

Do I have to be of a certain gender identity? 

No! Each year we receive applications from folks of various gender identities and expressions. We encourage people of all genders to apply, especially trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks. 

How much is the stipend? 

The stipend is $4500. The stipend will be paid out in 2 disbursements at specific points throughout the summer.  

Is housing included in the internship? 

No, housing is not provided by CLPP or your host organization.  Your host organization can give you some helpful tips, but will not find housing for you.  

What is CLPP all about? 

CLPP stands for the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program.  You'll find us on the campus of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.  

We inspire, educate, train and support new activists and leadership to secure reproductive freedom, justice and sexual rights for everyone. We do this through our leadership projects that include our classesannual conferencepaid summer internshipsemerging leaders networkstudent activist group and newsletter

When did CLPP start the Collective Rising Internship program? 

CLPP started its paid summer internship program in 1999.  There are over 450 Collective Rising alums who have interned at over 100 organizations around the world. 

Why are most of your past interns from colleges in Western Massachusetts? 

Until recently our program was only open to students attending the Five Colleges--Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts and a few other local colleges.  In Summer 2014 we began accepting students from other colleges. 


How long are the internships? 

All internships are 10 weeks long and full-time (30 hours a week), between June 1st and August 21st 

Can I complete an internship for less than 10 weeks or less than full-time? 

No, all interns must commit to a full-time 10-week internship. 

Will I just be copying all day and getting someone coffee? 

No, while all internships include some administrative work, Collective Rising internships are substantive in nature. At least 70% of your internship will be devoted to substantive work. This may include research, writing, health advocacy, legal advocacy, or grassroots organizing. 

Are all the organizations located in NYC? Washington DC? San Francisco? 

No, organizations are located all over the country. 

What are the start and end dates for the internships? 

You coordinate the start and end dates of your internship with your organization, most are flexible with start and end dates.  

I can only complete an internship in a certain city, is this okay? 

Yes, please indicate this on your application under "geographical preferences." 

Can I read about what past interns have done? 

Yes, please read intern final reports here


Are the organizations big or small? 

There is a mix of both large and small organizations

Will I be the only intern at an organization? 

It depends on the organization; some will have other summer interns. 

Will I have a supervisor/mentor at my internship organization? 

Yes, all interns will have a supervisor/mentor that will work with them. 

Can CLPP or my internship organization help me find housing for the summer? 

CLPP staff don't help interns find housing.  Once placed at an organization, an intern can ask the organization for suggestions, but the organizations will not find housing for the intern. 

I need help paying for my air fare to or from my internship organization, can CLPP help with this? 

This year CLPP will not be covering airfare. All internships will be remote this year, with exceptions made for folks who already live locally to their org 

I'm applying for an internship with an organization I have already volunteered with or worked for, is this okay? 

Yes, please let us know this in your application. 

The organization I want to intern focuses on a particular issue that I don't have any experience in, is this okay? 

Yes, please explain in your application why you want to work in this field and what you hope to learn from it. 


Will I receive an email confirmation when I submit my application? 

Yes, you will receive an email confirmation.  If you don't receive an email confirmation, we have not received your application! 

I want to apply to less than 5 organizations, is this okay? 

Yes, we ask you to select your top five organizations, but if you only want to apply for 1-4 organizations that is fine as well. 

Do you accept paper applications? 

No, the Collective Rising application is only available online.  If you need special accommodations please let us know

Do you have rolling admissions, is it better if I apply early? 

No, we don't start evaluating applicants until after the application closes.  It doesn't matter when you apply during the application period.  However, we highly recommend you apply as early as you can in case of technical issues.  We will not accept late applications. 

I need help with my application, who can I contact? 

Please send an email to and someone will get back to you. 

I've changed my phone number or email address since I submitted my application, how do I update it? 

You can update your contact information in the application portal.

What documents do I need to upload to the application? 

A personal statement and a resume. 

Do I have to send in transcripts? 

No, we do not ask for transcripts. 

Is there a minimum GPA needed? 

No, we do not ask for your GPA. 

I haven't declared a major yet, will this hurt my chances? 

No, not at all. 

How do I select the internship organizations I want to intern with? 

No two Collective Rising internships are exactly alike which means you have to carefully read through the organization's internship description.  

Make sure you have the needed skills or background to complete an internship with a particular organization.  

Peruse the organization's website and social media accounts to get a better feel for the organization, its mission and its constituents.  

Finally, read past interns final reports which are located at the bottom of an organization's internship description, if available. 


Do I need a recommendation? 

Yes.  Your recommendation must come from either a faculty member or from a work/volunteer supervisor before the application closes. Please be sure to ask for a recommendation from someone who knows you well and can give us a great understanding of who you are. 

Will you consider my application without a recommendation? 

No.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.  

I decided to get a recommendation from someone other than the person I listed on my application, is this okay? 

Yes, this is fine. 

How do you want me to send my recommendation? 

Your recommender will receive an email directly from us when you input their contact information in your online application. You can send them reminders about it as well. This email will contain a link to a form for your recommender to fill out.  Your recommender will receive a confirmation that their recommendation has been received and you will receive a confirmation as well. If you need other accommodations, please let us know

Can I submit my application before my recommendation is in? 

No, you will only be allowed to submit your application once your recommendation has been received. 

I have a general letter that I'd like to use as a recommendation, is this okay? 

No, all recommenders must fill out the Collective Rising recommendation form. 

Personal Statement

What are you looking for in the Personal Statement? 

We want to get a better picture of who you are. 

What do I have to include in my Personal Statement? 

This statement needs to be two to three pages in length, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12. 

Please write a statement to tell us about yourself and why you are interested in the Collective Rising program. Your personal statement can be in essay or short answer format and should answer the following questions: 

  • What social justice issues are you most passionate about and how do they connect to Reproductive Justice for you? 

  • Describe a time when you identified a social problem and took action to change it. What did you do and what did you learn from the experience? 

Please provide enough detail so that the review committee will have a good understanding of who you are and why you are applying to the Collective Rising internship program. 



What do I have to include in my resume? 

In one page, list and briefly describe: 

  • Past work, internship, or volunteer experiences. Indicate the organizations where you worked and the dates of employment. Also include a short description of your work. 

  • Any other training, academic, or study abroad experiences that may be relevant to your application. 

  • List your relevant skills and interests. This may include: language proficiency, computer skills, research skills, writing abilities, film/video proficiency, political involvement, etc. 

Please make sure to address the skills required for the internships you have chosen. 

I don't have a resume, can I skip this section? 

No.  Your resume helps us understand your past experience and skills.  Most educational institutions have a career services office which can help you with this or you can refer to this Resume Guide from Smith College's Lazarus Center for Career Development

Can I make my resume more than one page? 

No, resumes must not be more than one page long. Remember its about highlighting your relevant experience.  

I have an interactive resume or video resume, can I send this? 

While we love creativity here at CLPP, we request a written resume. 

Can I only list paid work experience? 

No, your experience can also be volunteer work and student group involvement. 

Selection and Placement

Who reads my application after I submit it? 

The reading team consists of CLPP staff and former Collective Rising interns. The CLPP staff members are the Deputy Director of Programs, Collective Rising Program Fellow and the Program Coordinator. The former interns vary from year to year and receive training on how to read. Team members read through the completed applications to identify the students that best match our mission to have an intern cohort with various skills, experiences, and backgrounds. From this group, the Deputy director of Programs and the Program Fellow select the students invited for an interview. 

Who conducts the interviews and when will students know if they have been selected for an interview? 

The interview committee are CLPP staff members the Deputy Director of Programs and Collective Rising Program Fellow. 

When will the interviews take place? 

Interviews will take place February. 

Are all interviews in person? 

No, all interviews are over Zoom, an online meeting platform. 

What are interviews like? 

You will meet with two CLPP staff members who will learn more about you, your experiences, your skills, and your reasons for wanting to complete a Collective Rising internship. 

How many interns will be selected? 

We will select 25-35 students for the Collective Rising cohort. 

Do you have a waitlist? 

Yes. Some of our great success stories were waitlisted.  

Is the selection process competitive? 

Yes, we always receive more applications than available internship spots, but our placement process is holistic and we strive for a cohort made up of students with various skills, experiences, and backgrounds. 

If I'm not selected this year, can I re-apply next year? 

Yes!  We always have strong applicants who are not awarded internships.  We encourage you to re-apply the following year and can provide feedback for the following year's application. 

If I'm selected to interview for the program, when will I know if I've been awarded an internship? 

Students will know they have been awarded an internship or waitlisted by mid-March. 

How many interns are placed in one of their top five internship preferences? 

Most are, although sometimes through the internship process we discover that a particular student's strengths and skills would be best suited for an organization not on their top five list. 

If I am offered an internship at a certain organization and I don't want it, can I ask for another one? 

No, we match your skills and experience to the needs of a specific organization.  If you are offered a placement and choose not to accept it, we will offer the placement to someone from the waiting list. 

I can only intern in a particular city, is this okay? 

Yes, please note this in your application. 

When will I have to accept my placement? 

You will have 3-5 days from the time you receive your offer to accept your placement. 

Internship Training at the CLPP Conference

When does the internship training take place? 

The internship training will take place in May 2021. 

What is the internship training like? 

The Collective Rising Cohort will have skills training on communication, leadership, organizing, reproductive justice, social justice, non-profit organizations, budgeting, and resilience practices.  


Will there be more support and training provided during the summer? 

Yes, we are working on adjusting the support team structure we set up last summer to adapt to changes brought by COVID-19. There will be opportunities for Collective Rising Interns to connect with each other and get more training throughout the summer. 

I need to take some time off during my internship for previous plans or to take a graduate entrance exam, is this okay? 

Yes, this just needs to be coordinated with your host organization prior to the start of the internship. 

Besides my internship, do I have to complete other requirements? 

Yes, all interns will write two short reflection reports and one final longer reflection at the end of the internship. In addition, all interns will also complete an exit interview with the CLPP Program Fellow.  

What happens if I don't complete my internship or the requirements of my internship? 

You must return your entire internship stipend to CLPP. 

Have any other questions? Please send an email to