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I will be going to a career fair tomorrow where no company with my undergraduate engineering specialty (it is a rather distinctive field) will be there. Therefore, it would be very hard to obtain a summer internship from one of these companies. However, I will attending graduate school in a more broad specialty of engineering (ME) and would like to list my new school which I would start in the fall on my resume even though I won't be graduating my undergrad until late April. Normally I would imagine that companies wouldn't even give me a look since I haven't even taken many basic ME courses except fluids, thermo, materials, etc, but I will be attending a very prestigious graduate school where I am pretty confident I will get looks even though I don't have an undergrad in the field.

First off, will listing a school I haven't started yet but will almost certainly be attending cause problems?

Second, I have been accepted to this school BUT have not accepted the offer yet. I am worried that if a company does a background check and they call up my future graduate school, that the school won't have me registered because I haven't accepted the offer yet and might not check a list of accepted students.

Please keep in mind I am just looking for a summer internship. Thanks

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    Why haven't you accepted the offer yet, if you know you are going there? Why don't you first accept the offer and then you will be able to tell anyone safely that you are joining that graduate program?
    – Anna SdTC
    Mar 15, 2017 at 1:36
  • @AnnaSdTC Just because I only got accepted like a week ago and want to talk to some people about it and have a few questions even though I'm almost 100% certain I will be going. Also, I want to visit some other graduate schools I was accepted ton more as a rite of passage than in consideration of going to them. I know it sounds weird, but that is no fun once you have already accepted somewhere!
    – masque
    Mar 15, 2017 at 1:50
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    If you are "almost" certain that you are going there, then I recommend you don't tell until you are "indeed" certain.
    – Anna SdTC
    Mar 15, 2017 at 2:03
  • If you have a firm offer of admission, you could indicate it as such, but suggesting you have accepted such an offer when you have not is bad form.
    – user67075
    Mar 15, 2017 at 4:26

2 Answers 2

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The wonderful thing about resumes is that they are freeform documents. You can clearly say something like "Accepted as a grad student, March 2017. Anticipated start date: September 2017." In this way, there is no issue about dishonesty at all (certain online applications may not allow this kind of nuance). So, the answer to both questions is: so long as you are crystal clear in the document, you shouldn't have any issues in terms of honesty.

The question you didn't ask, however, is "is this a good idea?". Opinions will vary.

  • On one hand, many resumes are only glanced at, and so putting your prestigious grad school's name right on the top of the resume might be a good idea. Sadly, putting this information in your cover letter (which is a much more appropriate place) means that few people will read it.

  • On the other hand, it is certainly unusual to list your graduate school on your resume before you start -- especially in your case, when it sounds like you would complete the internship before even starting grad school (and especially when you haven't even formally accepted the offer yet!). This might rub people the wrong way (though I highly doubt it would have serious or long-term consequences).

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[...] will listing a school I haven't started yet but will almost certainly be attending cause problems?

If you are listing a school which you are not going to accept their offer to attend, this may be considered some sort of dis-honesty; it may have consequences in the companies you are going to be hired in.

How companies may care about such dis-honesty for an intern student, may vary from one to another. Some may find it too irritating and may file it as a bad background for the student in their internal documents. Others may neglect it, but another ones may report it to the education department to which the student is affiliated to. You may not be so sure about such consequences.

By the way, as long as you have doubts about the future of your education; why do you want to list it in your education 'background'? Instead, talk about it in your cover letter or in the summary of the CV you are preparing for the companies you think about joining.

It will have much more positive effects on the employer when they see how you are thinking about learning the courses which are close to the work they are focused on; and how you are preparing yourself to develop your professional skills and knowledge.

Moreover, do not under-estimate the role of negotiation and your interview sessions. You can talk about all your plans for your future in those events, and these are important for the companies.

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