What is an Internship?
- Are typically one-time, structured work experiences related to a student's career coals
- Involves a student working in a professional setting under the supervision of a professional in the chosen field
- Typically last 10-14 weeks during the summer
- Typically are full-time, but may be part-time
- Promote and enhance a student's career, academic, and personal development
Importance of Internships
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
- Fulfill additional staffing needs for temporary positions or projects
- 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
Characteristics of Successful Internship Programs
- There is "buy-in" and support at all levels of the organization.
- The program or position is solidly built, with clear goals and well-designed processes for recruitment, orientation, supervision, evaluation, and improvement.
- Interns are given meaningful work experiences and are treated and trained as "real" employees.
- Mentoring is provided to guide students' development.
- Compensation and/or benefits are offered.
- The organization regularly offers internship opportunities and maintains a solid reputation with the university.
- The organization is always looking for ways to improve its internship offerings.
- Opportunities are provided for a variety of majors, putting the focus on a student's career goal rather than major.
Questions to ask when deciding to develop an internship:
- Is there sufficient staff time to supervise and mentor a student intern?
- Are there staff members who want to supervise an intern?
- Do potential intern supervisors have the necessary and appropriate professional expertise to "teach" an intern?
- Are there sufficient resources to have an inter, such as office space and equipment?
- What work and/or projects does the organization need to have done? What can a student learn from the work?
- Would the work yo uneed done be appropriate for a student to do?
- How long of a commitment is appropriate? Is one summer enough?
- What qualifications, such as relevant skills, would be appropriate for the work?
- What time of year is best for listing internship opportunities, selecting an intern, and bringing an intern into your organization (taking into account students' and the university's schedules)?