An internship is a wonderful and effective way to connect your academic experience with the professional work arena. It allows you to gain valuable exposure to the workplace, provides the opportunity for skill development, and gives you a competitive edge in the job search. All departments encourage it and some require it. Students are able to apply for an internship their sophomore year upon completing an application and résumé and receiving approval from their academic department and the Career Development Center.
Internships are your chance to earn college credit while gaining valuable, hands-on work experience. Anywhere from 1 to 9 credits of internship can be earned during a semester. Internships can be done in almost any academic department and can be used as elective and/or upper-division credits. Internship credits cost the same amount as any other course credits and will be displayed on your college transcript.
Why should you consider doing an internship?
By getting hands-on experience, you are better informed about careers, which can assist you in choosing an academic/degree program
Having real work experience can help you in your job search
Interns develop employment contacts and references and have an advantage as job seekers upon graduation
Goals of an internship:
Reality testing: Learn if this field is right for you
Gain hands-on experience beyond the classroom
Show future employers your commitment to and knowledge of the field
Gain contacts through networking and access contacts in your field that will serve as mentors and references
Get the inside edge on competition for full-time jobs
Build confidence and success through internship experiences
Build your résumé
An internship is not:
A part-time or full-time job that does not specify career-related learning strategies and objectives
Unsupervised volunteer experience
Routine, repetitive clerical tasks
Paid or Unpaid?
Sites decide this depending on their own policies and on the amount of work. Some sites pay hourly, while others for travel expenses or a stipend at the end of the internship. Some do not pay since it is for course credit. Every prospective intern is reminded that the "pay-off" is not reflected in the compensation but in the valuable experience gained by working in a professional environment.
Sophomores-seniors are eligible for non-credit and academic credit internships with approval from their academic department. Internship application materials can be obtained from the Career Development Office located on the 1st Floor of Smith Hall.
Caitlin Sutton, M.Ed.
Internship Coordinator and Career Advisor