The best internships are mutually beneficial for both the employer and the intern. Interns infuse new talent and creative energy into the workplace and provide employers an opportunity to preview future candidates. For students, an internship is an opportunity to test out a potential career field and gain career-related experience in an area of interest.
Internships are most appealing to students when they are:
The word “internship” does not designate any specific structure. Internships can be paid or unpaid, for credit or not for credit, or some combination of the above. An internship typically refers to a one-time, short-term experience related to a student’s major or career interest. Internships typically involve a student working in a professional setting under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. (Adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers)
A Puget Sound intern will bring value to the internship organization and we expect that the organizations are invested in the career exploration and professional development of the student. As such, a mutually beneficial, career-related experience will involve:
1. The student’s education is at the center of the internship
2. Students contribute to the organization in a value-added, meaningful way
3. The intern receives regular and on-going supervision, feedback, coaching, and mentoring
Myth: If internships are paid, students can’t receive academic credit
Ideally, all internships are paid. Paid internships provide employers with a broader, more diverse candidate pool because many students can’t afford to complete unpaid internships. At the University of Puget Sound, students may elect to pursue their internship (paid or unpaid) for academic credit. Pre-requisites apply and are available on the Career and Employment Services internship web page.
Myth: If we can’t pay our interns, requiring academic credit at least allows the student to get something out of the experience
While it may benefit the student to pursue an internship for credit, it is preferable to allow the student to determine whether or not they pursue the internship for credit. In order to receive academic credit for an internship, students must pay tuition. This can be a significant financial responsibility, particularly if the internship is unpaid.
Myth: Using interns is a cheap way to extend my workforce
An internship is rooted in the educational experience for students, not the employment needs of the internship employer.
Important points of consideration
o Financial resources to pay the intern
o Human resources for adequate supervision
o Sufficient work for the intern to make a meaningful contribution to your organization
o Space resources – somewhere for the student to work
The intern is here…now what?
Career and Employment Services has developed a resource to assist supervisors of student staff members. We invite you to review the Supervisor Responsibilities & Resources. If offering unpaid internships, please visit the Department of Labor page describing Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.
Develop an internship description
Internships provide you with the opportunity to preview potential future hires. It is important to put the same type of energy into developing an internship as you would any other job description.
Components of a job description that are helpful to students:
Advertise the internship to Puget Sound students
We hope you find the information on this page useful. CES is also available to consult with you as you develop your internship program, so please contact us if you have any questions.