I’m thinking about applying for an internship at either a congressional district office or political party’s state office. Which one do you think looks better? I worry that working directly for a specific political party may come off as too partisan/ideological to colleges; also, does one just look more prestigious than the other?
Don’t worry how it looks.
Doing something you are interested in is never bad, and “prestige” is in the eye of the beholder.
Applicants (and their parents) need to eliminate the words “impressive,” “like,” “best,” or similar words from their vocabulary until after decisions are made. It is the rare application/course schedule/EC that will “impress” admissions. Perhaps the AO that read Malala’s application was “impressed” by her ECs, but she set the bar high. Students should do things that are right for them.
Without knowing why you want to do a politically related internship, it is difficult to make a recommendation.
For example: If you have a desire to run for political office, then it may be wiser to work at the party HQ rather than for a specific politician–unless that politician is very powerful & influential.
Specifics matter. Does the US Representative face primary opposition ? If so, then this may not be a wise choice for one intending to run for office in the future.
Also, interning for a US Senator can be quite different than interning for a US Representative. Broadly speaking, interning for a US Senator is more prestigious, but not in all cases.
My personal opinion is that it isn’t where you intern but what you do in the internship. What will your roll/responsibilities be in one vs the other?