What Is An Internship?
An internship is an educational experience related to a student’s degree program and career plan which allows the student to apply what he/she has learned to real work situations. An Internship involves a student, an employer supervisor and a sponsor of the university.
An internship is a closely monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he is learning throughout the experience. An internship:
- Is a time-limited experience of approximately 14 weeks and occurs during the fall, spring or summer semester
- Is generally a one-time experience
- May be part-time or full-time; paid or non-paid
- May be part of an educational program and carefully monitored and evaluated for academic credit
- May be part of a learning plan developed individually
- Is different from a short-term job or volunteer work as it includes an intentional “learning agenda” in a structured work environment.
- Includes learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment
- Has an existing employee working in the department/position to mentor and supervise the intern
- Seeks to establish a reasonable balance between the learning goals of the intern and the specific work tasks of an organization
- Promotes academic, career and/or personal development
How Do Internships Benefit Employers?
- A year round source of highly motivated pre-professionals
- The opportunity to have new perspectives on various processes, procedures and programs
- Quality candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and projects
- The increased visibility of your organization on college campuses
- The freedom for professional staff to pursue other important projects and tasks
- A flexible, cost-effective work force that does not require a long-term employment commitment
- Prepared and trained new employees hired from your intern pool
- A proven, cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees
Adapted from materials published by the National Society for Experiential Education