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I'm a undergrad, and I had an interview with an institute within my university. I received this email from my interviewer about a week after the interview itself:

"Hi [name],

I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview with me on Monday. Due to our space constraints, we were only able to accept one intern for the spring semester, and that position has been filled. However, because we feel that you are a very qualified candidate, we would like to know if you have any interest in or availability for the summer 2016, fall 2016, or spring 2017 terms. If you do, please let me know, and we will hold a space for you for one of those semesters.

You don't have to let me know right now. I will keep your materials on file; just contact me when you know what your availability might be for the other semesters.

Thank you again for coming in for an interview, and I wish you the best of luck in your continued studies.

Regards,

[Interviewer]"

What I'm wondering is exactly how I should respond over email. I'd be interested in the position for either the summer and/or fall terms, but I'm not sure how concrete this offer is, and how exactly I should contact them once those terms roll around (i.e. should I email them my class schedule or ask them to what hours they'd like me to work and schedule my classes around them). Any tips on how to format my response? Should I approach the issue as though the internship is guaranteed for whatever semester I choose, or would that be too presumptuous?

  • "we will hold a space" is a future intention. Strictly speaking it's a promise, but people don't act that way. Until you have a "we have reserved your space" in writing you have no guarantee at all. – user8036 Nov 27 '15 at 8:14
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As you say you are interested in their offer, you can simply write a mail which can go something like this:

Dear XXX,

Thank you for the writing back. I would be interested in pursuing an internship with the team/company during the spring of 2016.

Can you please send me over the details and the particulars of the internship. This would be my availability for the spring session of 2016: (Start date : End date)

regards,

XYZ

But, as this looks like a tentative offer, I would advise you not to put all your hopes on this prospect.

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You must have made a great impression if they're throwing this offer your way.

If you really like this position, and think that it will still be a great placement this time next year,then say you accept. As the term approaches (a month of two in advance), get in touch with them and ask for confirmation.

Keep in mind that if you go down this path you will be taking advantage of some pretty major favoritism - the likes of which has been pretty widely criticized in academia (profs hiring the students they wanted to all along, even though officially they interview X candidates). Even though the prof in question has every intention of giving you the job, he may not be able to make it official until after he's interviewed other candidates in order to make your hiring seem legitimate.

But even so, don't count on them!

Notice that they don't know if they will be able to offer you this position in the summer, fall, or even spring of 2017! You probably can't put your life on hold just for their sake.

In order to be absolutely safe you may want to apply to some other positions as well. If the summer of 2016 rolls around and they are not ready to offer you a position, by all means find something else.

If in the autumn they do contact you, then you have the choice of continuing where you are, or quitting to join their team.

Always keep your options open! Good luck

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They are offering you a job. They are going so far to let you pick when you want it.

I personally would call the interviewer and talk to them. Let them know that you would like one of the options but you would like something holding that spot for you to be firm or you will have to of course look for other internships.

Chances are they give you something in writing for the internship offer or they promise to get it to you before X date. You just need to make sure that you are happy with X date in that you would still have a chance to interview for other internships if something happened with this one. But chances are you have a future internship with them, just get it signed and sealed.

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