What You Need to Know
What is an internship?An internship is a credit-bearing, supervised learning experience in the workplace that allows students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom and/or college labor positions in practical, career-related settings.
What's in it for me—why should I do an internship?
- To help define your career path
- To gain valuable career-related experience for your resume
- To learn new skills
- To develop networking contacts and possible job connections or offers.
How important is it?Ask other students who have done internships; ask employers; read statistics. All indicate that internships are crucial. National student surveys show that new graduates who took part in an internship were more likely to have received a job offer than their peers who did not.
- 42.3% of seniors who did internships and applied for jobs received at least one job offer, as opposed to 30.7% for those without internship experience.
- The median accepted salary offer for seniors with an internship was $45,301, as opposed to a median salary offer of $34,601 to those without internships.
From the NACE 2010 Student Survey of more than 31,470 students representing more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide.
Who is eligible to participate?
Full-time students in good standing (not on probation) who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to participate in internships.
Are internships paid?
About two-thirds of all internships are unpaid. Some organizations are able to offer hourly wages or a stipend.
I can’t afford to do an unpaid internship. Is there any financial assistance available from the College?
Berea recognizes the costs associated with doing an internship and wants to make sure that you have the opportunity to participate in an internship when you receive an offer. There is limited funding available, and the amount an individual receives depends on the specifics of the internship. The Internship Funding Request form should be attached to the Internship Proposal if you are requesting financial support.
Will I be “placed” in an internship?No. The Office of Internships does not find an internship for you or “place” you in a position. You must apply for internships with potential internship sites as if you were applying for a job.
Can I receive academic course credit?
Yes. You will receive 1 course credit for your internship. You will be required to work a minimum of 135 work hours at the internship site to earn 1 credit, however, most students work 30-40 hours per week for 8-10 weeks during the summer term in order to be eligible for financial assistance from the College.
Do I have to register for course credit?
If your internship is unpaid, most organizations will require that you be registered for credit, in order to comply with Labor Laws. If the internship is paid by the organization, you may choose to do it strictly for the experience gained, but you must make sure the organization understands that you are not registered for credit. In this case, there is no funding or involvement from the College, and it is not considered an academic experience.
Can I do an internship during the fall or spring semesters?Internships require at least 9-10 hours per week during Fall and Spring terms, usually divided into minimum 3-hour blocks of time. With classes and labor commitments, most students find it more desirable to arrange internships during the summer, although you may do internships during any term.
When should I begin looking for a summer internship?Deadlines vary. Some are as early as September or October (common for large accounting firms and the FBI, for example), but most deadlines are sometime in the early spring (February or March).
Explore and identify internships
Sources for finding/creating internships that are a good fit for your learning objectives and career interests include:
- Career Bridge – Berea’s online system where employers and organizations can post internships and full-time jobs.
- Internet search
- Printed resources such as the Internship Bible
- Your own contacts, family, and fellow students
Create a resume and cover letterIt is recommended that you have your resume reviewed to ensure that it represents you in the best possible way. Attend a resume workshop and/or email CareerDevelopment@berea.edu for a resume review.
Apply for the positions
Do this by submitting materials requested by the organization. Be sure to do this by each organization's deadline.
Prepare for and participate in interviews.
Interview coaching is available through the Center for Transformative Learning. Attend an interviewing workshop and/or email CareerDevelopment@berea.edu for interview coaching.
Consider the offer and make a formal acceptance.Consider the offer and make a formal acceptance, realizing that when you accept, you are making a commitment. If you have more than one offer, accept the one that best fits your needs, and respectfully decline the others.
- Pick up your free copy of Career Choices magazine from the Office of Internships to see samples of acceptance letters and other job search correspondence.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance/guidance, if needed, from Office of Internships or faculty.
Complete a draft of the Internship Proposal Form.
Complete a draft of the Internship Proposal form, which will serve as the syllabus for your internship course. As specified in the Proposal, all interns are required to keep a reflective journal, write a final paper, and make an oral presentation. Some may have additional assignments depending on the nature of your internship or faculty preferences.
Ask two faculty members to work as your sponsors.
Ask two faculty members to work with you as sponsors for the experience. One will serve as the primary faculty sponsor; the other will be the secondary sponsor. At least one of your sponsors should be in your major or interest area. The primary faculty sponsor will determine your assignments (although you have input) and grade.
- Meet with your primary sponsor to review and discuss the draft of your Proposal.
- Make any necessary revisions, print the finalized proposal, and obtain the approval signatures.
Make an appointment to submit your proposal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with two options for your preferred times between 1:30 and 6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, March 10th through April 11th (with no appointments during Convocation or Labor Meeting times on Thursday). Be sure to include your cell phone number for follow-up, if needed. The earlier you can schedule, the better, since the last few weeks prior to the deadline will be booked solid. At least 46 appointment slots are available each week during the specified time frame, but if you wait until the last week, you run the risk of not being able to get in before the deadline.
Sign an Internship Agreement
You and your internship site supervisor will be asked to sign an Internship Agreement at the beginning of your internship. It is a common-sense legal document that specifies responsibilities and protects all parties.
Expect assessments of your performance / progress.
- At the end of your internship, your site supervisor will be asked to complete a Final Evaluation of your performance and you will be asked to complete and evaluation of your internship experience. These are conducted through email and online.
Summer Internship Grades
- Students receive an “I” grade (incomplete) for summer internships to allow time to return to campus, submit assignments, and do presentations. Your faculty sponsor will change your grade before the end of the fall semester.
- Deadlines for spring and fall: Proposals for fall and spring semester internships should be submitted prior to the beginning of the term. Assignments and presentations for spring and fall semester internships should be submitted/completed by the last day of classes for the respective term, and grades will be submitted by the end of the term.
- Deadlines for summer: Proposals for summer internships should be submitted by April 11. Assignments for summer internships should be submitted by August 31. Presentations may be completed during the fall semester, and grades will be submitted by the end of the term.
Withdrawing from an Internship
- You may not withdraw from an internship course unless there are truly extenuating circumstances that have been discussed with your Faculty Sponsors and the Internship Director.