Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, December 18, 2015
Congratulations on your internship next summer as yes, most freshman are not top candidates for internships, although this is changing rapidly. For the next couple of years it will definately put you ahead of other freshmen, but as I mentioned more and more companies are targeting students early in their academic career. Therefore, very quickly, the playing field will level. That being said, getting any experience through an internship will be a big plus when you are being considered for other internships in the future, but there are no guarantees as the competition will continue to get tougher. You will have to remain diligent in keeping your GPA up and it will also be important to continue to seek out leadership opportunities. It is this leadership ability that will set you apart when you are eventually looking for a full time position. I would also recommend getting your internship experience at different companies. In other words, while it may be easier to have an internship at the same company for three years, your experience will not be as diverse and you will not have had the opportunity to experience different company cultures, etc.
Bottom line is that you are at an advantage for now, but you cannot become complacent. More and more freshman are being offered internships and the competition will be tougher in the years ahead. Stay diligent and continue to look for that edge.