Internships

Be an Intern

Internships are career-related work experiences that involve students working in professional settings under the supervision of professionals. Students participating in internships gain valuable workplace skills, improve their marketability, and better prepare themselves for their full-time job searches. Employers offering internships have access to energetic students' fresh perspectives, fulfill additional staffing needs for seasonal positions, and heighten their visibility on campus.

What is an Internship?

Internships:

  • Are typically one-time, structured work experiences related to a student's career goal.
  • Involve a student working in a professional setting under the supervision of a professional in the chosen field.
  • May last anywhere from one month to a couple of years, but typically last for an academic semester (approximately 15 weeks for fall or spring) or for a summer (approximately 12 weeks).
  • May be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid.
  • Might be required as part of the curriculum in an academic program or offered as an elective, allowing a student to earn academic credit.
  • Are typically completed later in a student's college career after the student has attained appropriate preparation (skills and knowledge).
  • Whether for credit or not, should be structured around a student's intentional learning goals which have been collaboratively developed by the student, his/her internship site supervisor, and his/her faculty advisor (if applicable).
  • Promote and enhance a student's academic, career, and personal development.

Career Development Internships

A Career Development Internship is any internship that allows a student to gain work experience related to his/her career goal. As such, ALL internship experiences could be considered Career Development Internships. Most majors do not prepare students for specific jobs, and the skills developed through a major prepare students for a wide variety of jobs. Additionally, students develop skills and knowledge through involvement activities, such as student organization involvement and community service. One of the most important factors in a student obtaining a job after graduation becomes the experience gained through internships, which allows students to integrate the skills learned in their majors and through their involvement activities with career-specific experience.

Academic Internships

An Academic Internship is an internship experience for which a student earns academic credit. The work performed in an Academic Internship must be directly related to the student's major. In order to earn academic credit, a student must complete additional educational assignments, such as research papers and work journals. The student will also receive some level of supervision from the faculty internship coordinator in his/her major department.

Importance of Internships

Students benefit from an internship experience in the following ways:

  • Gain valuable career-related experience. This relevant work experience can give you a competitive edge when the time comes to find a full-time job after graduation.
  • Develop career-related skills and abilities.
  • Have the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and skills from involvement activities in the professional environment. In turn, this may help you better understand academic concepts.
  • Learn more about the career field and gain a better understanding of what the professional environment is really like.
  • Begin to develop your network of professional contacts. You could develop a mentoring relationship with a professional.
  • Earn money and/or academic credit.
  • Get a permanent job. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2008 Experiential Education Survey, employer respondents indicated that, on average, 70% of interns receive full-time job offers as a result of their internships.
  • On a personal level, an internship can boost your self-confidence, confirm your career goals, give you a chance to experience life in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world, and prepare you for life after college.

Employers benefit from offering internships in the following ways:

  • Recruit, work with, and screen potential employees.
  • Hire former interns who are trained and loyal to the organization, resulting in reduced training time and reduced employee turnover.
  • Fulfill additional staffing needs for temporary or seasonal positions or projects.
  • Provide an opportunity for junior-level managers in the organization to gain supervisory experience.
  • Find highly motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic staff members who can bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to old problems.
  • Heighten the organization's visibility on campus and enhance the organization's image in the community.