Frequently Asked Questions About Internships

There are many questions you may have about internships and what they involve. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to email us.

What is an internship?
An internship is a carefully monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and actively reflects on what she or he is learning. Internships are designed to provide students with pre-professional experience before they graduate, in order to test various career options while developing communication, teamwork, leadership, and other industry specific skills.
What kinds of internships are available?
Accounting firms, banks, educational institutions, social service agencies, software design, manufacturing companies, and many other types of organizations offer internships.
Some departments grant academic credit, however, there may be specific requirements for the type of internship you can do. Your department is the only place that can grant credit for your internship. Contact your faculty advisor to ask about internships appropriate to your major.
Students may also take the initiative in identifying an organization from whom they would like intern with. Be prepared with a résumé and cover letter before making contact, and make sure you have your faculty advisor’s approval before proceeding. Career Services can help assist organizations in creating an internship for you.
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What qualifies as an internship?
An internship gives students who have little or no work experience in their field of study a chance to get valuable work experience in a real organizational environment while they are still in college. In general, an internship is a position that requires you to have taken classes related to the position requirements.
Internships are professional track positions which would not be available to someone who was not pursuing a college degree. The job description includes specific learning goals and must be more than routine office tasks, such as filing, answering the phone, and photocopying.
You may be able to convert your current position into an internship depending on the range of your job responsibilities. To find out if your job qualifies as an internship, talk to your faculty sponsor.
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Who is my faculty sponsor?
Your Faculty Sponsor is a professor in your major who is willing to approve your internship, decide the criteria for your evaluation (example: research or reflection paper) and give you a grade upon completion of the internship. Many departments have one professor who supervises all interns from their area of study. Consult with your advisor.
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When is the best time to do an internship?
It varies by major and by the type of internship you plan to secure. Some professional internships require greater academic knowledge and are better suited in your junior or senior year. Other fields can accommodate students in late first-year or sophomore years.
Students may register for internship credit after completing 60 hours of college credit. (Lower-level students should register for 209, Field Experience.)
Start early and consider doing multiple internships. Students with two or three internships during college are often the most successful in securing full time employment quickly upon graduation.
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How long does an internship last?
Internships typically last three months or one summer in duration. At Goshen College, they follow the semester calendar, which is twelve weeks long.
For a student to receive credit, GC requires a minimum of 40 hours of on-location experience in a professional setting for every hour of academic credit earned for the internship. So, a three credit internship during the school year is generally around ten hours a week for 12 weeks, totaling 120 hours.
During the school year, an intern generally works 10-20 hours per week. Summer internships are usually full-time (40 hours per week).
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What kind of academic assignments will I have?
It depends. Most faculty sponsors require individual or class meetings, assigned readings, and writing papers or journals. The academic expectation varies depending on the internship and the number of credits taken. Confirm you academic requirements with your sponsor or advisor before you begin your internship.
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Can I do an internship during the summer?
Sure! During most summer internships, students work full-time (40 hours per week). If you are looking for a summer internship, start looking as early as January.
If you already have a job lined up for summer that is related to your academic major, talk to your faculty sponsor or the director of Career Services to explore the possibility of earning internship credit.
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Will I get paid during my internship?
Some internships are paid, while others are not. Internships with larger for-profit organizations are often paid, while those with small non-profits are less likely to have compensation. In some cases you will receive a one time or monthly stipend for your work.
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Do I have to pay for the credit hours I earn?
Yes, if you complete an internship for academic credit, you will need to pay for the credit hours. Internship credits cost the same as other course credits. Most students complete their internship as part of their full-time load.
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What is a virtual internship?
A virtual internship is completed via the Internet. Virtual interns often never visit the organization they are working for and never meet their supervisor face-to-face. Communication between the intern and supervisor is handled via email, the Web, and phone calls. The positions are usually in the fields of marketing, sales, graphic/web design, and computer science.
Virtual internships allow students to work for organizations outside of the local area without moving, but they sometimes do not provide the same in-depth mentoring process as in-person internships.
If you are considering a virtual internship, we encourage you to read these articles:

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