Hi Osiiris, congratulations on putting together your application and maximizing your 15 opportunities. As for when you might hear back
will depend widely. I am a very proactive person so if I have not heard anything in a week, I drop an email and check up on my status. That definitely payed off for me. The sure thing though is that you will only be notified if you get an offer.
From the perspective of a mentor, I might factor in an early submission time stamp
as a plus. This is because it shows the student was proactive and decisive. It could work as a deciding factor between two top students. However, what is more important are their skills and experiences. Usually there is a clear distinction, since no two students are alike.
It may be possible that a mentor has already set their eye on a candidate that has applied early and is already pulling strings to bring them on their team. However, if the mentor has not yet sent an offer letter to a student, then I expect any other incoming applications to be weighed equally competitive.
So, I wouldn’t worry about it. But whenever I have had the chance, I apply early.
Now let’s discuss what you can do after submitting the application to increase your chances.
Well NASA internships are a normal job. Just a short 2 to 4-month job. Like any other job, it is definitely a great idea to reach out to recruiters and if possible, even mentors directly.
At NASA the HR folks in charge are called internship program coordinators.
Each space center and facility have one. Their contact information is floating online.
For example, this site has information for the program coordinator of JPL. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/intern/apply/summer-internship-program/
Based on the job/project description you might be able to identify what lab is involved or better yet who the mentor is by searching online.
Ok so you found a POC for one of the projects you applied to. Now what do you write in the email?
The email you send can be like a job application, where the email body is a cover letter explaining how you found the job, your experiences, and why you are interested in that position. Let them know you would like to discuss opportunities to work on the project with the mentor. Then attach an epic resume and wait a week before following up.
Keep asking questions. Again, welcome to the community.