An Internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in a classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting.
Some internships pay; some ask that interns receive academic credit; some do both or neither. An internship gives you the opportunity to perform career-related work duties that enable you to beat the "no experience" rap when you go to apply for your first career position after graduation. Surveys show that more than 75% of employers prefer candidates with internships (National Association of Colleges & Employers, 2010), and students who have internships while in college are more likely to develop career-relevant work skills and find employment immediately after college graduation (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
What is an Internship?
An internship is a substantive learning experience where you are supervised by a mentor at the organization and you contribute meaningfully to the work of the organization. Internships give you opportunities to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in your professional field.
How do I find an Internship?
You can pursue internships on your own by consulting published guides (e.g., Peterson's Internships; Vault Guide to Top Internships) or you can search for internships on the Web as well (e.g., www.internships.com or www.vault.com). The UCCS Career Center also posts internship opportunities. If your department does not offer internship courses and you want credit, go to LAS Extended Studies and enroll in ID 3660.
What are some Dos and Don'ts for my placement?
- DO supply the agency with required background information, resume/CV, and background check if required.
- Familiarize yourself with the agency's policies regarding conduct, dress code (including body piercings, tattoos), safety rules, etc.
- Be on time, show a good work ethic. If you must be absent or late, let your supervisor know with as much advance notice as possible.
- Act professionally and show respect for the community partner. Keep in mind, you are representing the university!
- Follow all policies of the site, including health and safety precautions and confidentiality policies.
- Contact your university coordinator if you feel your position involves anything dangerous or illegal.
- Never report to service site under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Do not give or loan clients money or other personal belongings, or engage in any type of business exchange with clients during the term of your service.
- Never transport a client in a personal vehicle. DO NOT work in a room alone with a child or transport a minor by yourself.
- Do not tolerate verbal exchange or engage in behavior that might be perceived as sexual with a client or organization representative, or that might be perceived as discriminating against an individual on the basis of their race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, or age.
What Rights do I have?
- You have the right to know what is expected of you by the agency (i.e., job description, hours and schedule, responsibilities, etc.)
- You should have an assigned supervisor to whom you report, who signs your timesheet, completes your evaluation, and is available for training and questions.
- You should receive on-site training which may include: a) information on the agency's purpose, mission, population, methods, etc.; b) learning any specific skills instrumental in carrying out your duties; c) a tour of the site, emergency exits, introduction to other staff; d) a review of site safety rules, emergency and accident procedures.
- Work tasks should not include manual labor or rote office work. The work that you do should help you meet your learning objectives, and you should not perform work that other employees perform (by law, you cannot replace a regular employee). If you are asked to do such work, discuss the situation with your instructor or contact SLICE. Never do anything that threatens your safety.
- You have the right to request an alternative service site if you are uncomfortable or dissatisfied with your current placement. Discuss any problems with your instructor and placement coordinator before changing placements.