Internships – the Basics

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.

Plan to complete your first internship after your sophomore year and consider completing multiple internships. Students with two or three internships during college are often the most successful in securing full time employment quickly upon graduation. Your internships may pave the path to your future career — many interns are hired with the company for which they interned.

A typical internship will:

  • Last three to six months
  • Often be taken for academic credit
  • Be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid
  • Include an intentional “learning agenda” structured into the experience, such as learning objectives, observation, reflection, and assessment
  • Balance the intern’s learning goals and the specific work an organization needs completed
  • Promote academic, career, and/or personal development

Reasons why every student should complete an internship:

Test your career choices

“Try on” a career before making a long term commitment. Discover if the career you’re considering is right (or wrong) for you.

Increase your marketability

Employers consistently rate internship experience as one of the top criteria used when selecting candidates.

Develop skills and apply knowledge

Apply theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to actual on-the-job experiences. Develop skills specific to your chosen industry and confidence with the skills you already possess.

Acquire job seeking skills

Create a professional résumé, sharpen your interviewing skills, and practice interacting professionally.

Build networking contacts

Develop relationships with professionals in your chosen career field.

Resources to learn more:

Internship Advice from

More than a dozen informative articles to help you focus your internship goals and get the most out of the internship of your choice.

Read the Top 10 Tips for Interns.

Good Library

Contains several books on internships. Type “internship” in the quick catalog search engine.