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Employers and graduate schools value hands-on experience. Your specific major may even require a particular internship course, practicum, clinical, student teaching or field experience for graduation. If you are considering an internship, seek one that will help expand your skills and competencies.

Consult with your academic advisor to see how an internship can fit into your course of study. Per university policy, a student must have and maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA to have an internship. Then, investigate an ideal time to do your internship. You should take into consideration your projected graduation date, when required courses for your major are offered, and when you can be absent from campus if your internship is located in a different city.

Student at Internship Expo

Find an internship

There are many methods to search for an internship. Use Handshake to gain access to thousands of jobs and internships. Tap into your campus community and on-campus resources, such as academic advisors, internship coordinators, career coaches and local businesses. Attend one of our career fairs, such as the Internship Expo or the Internship and Job Fair, to speak with employers interested in hiring student interns. Some students find their best internship options through an international internship or within a structured program, such as:

After you’ve found an internship that interests you, you want to have your resume and cover letter ready and be prepared for an interview. Many internship sites will interview candidates before making a final decision. Prepare for the interview ahead of time and come with questions to set yourself up for success. During the interview, share why you’re interested in the internship, the skills and experiences you possess, and how their internship relates to your overall career plan. Afterwards, remember to send a thank you note. If you need to polish your application materials or interviewing skills, make an appointment with your career coach.

Earn academic credit

Some internships can count for academic credit. This means you would enroll in an internship and pay tuition and fees as with any other course. Work with your academic advisor/departmental internship coordinator early in the process to select an internship and determine if it is substantial enough to earn credit. You will then receive instructions from your department on how to start the approval process. Prior approval must be received from your department. Internship credit cannot be granted retroactively.

Benefits to doing your internship for academic credit:

  • Internship hosts frequently require that you be enrolled in an internship to be eligible for an internship at their site.
  • When enrolled in an internship, you will have professional and general liability insurance coverage while you are on site.
  • A faculty supervisor in your major will be assigned to assist you in completing your agreed upon learning goals and outcomes for your internship. An internship works best when it is structured to ensure you meet your career and skill development goals.
  • An on-site supervisor with experience in your field of study will be assigned to you to assist in your training and to ensure you have assigned tasks and experiences to meet your learning goals and outcomes.
  • If you are experiencing any barriers to your learning or in meeting your goals, you have your site supervisor and your faculty supervisor to support you.

Finance your internship

Internship sites vary in their ability to pay or to offer a stipend to interns, and it is likely most interns will secure an unpaid internship. Before you accept an offer, make sure you’ve considered the costs associated with the internship. Think about tuition costs and fees, the costs and time of commuting to your internship, the costs of any necessary housing arrangements, and whether you can maintain all or part of your on/off campus job while you intern. If you are receiving financial aid, seek the advice from the Office of Student Financial Aid when addressing your financial aid package.

Student intern working

Accept an internship

When it comes time to accept an internship, there are a few things you need to complete before you begin working.

  1. Confirm these details from your internship host:
    • What projects can I contribute to significantly?
    • How will I assist with the day-to-day operation of the organization?
    • What kind of training will I receive?
    • What kind of supervision will I have?
    • How many hours may I work each week? (Make sure you know how many hours and for how many weeks you need to be on your internship site to work in order to complete your internship requirements.)
  2. Secure permission from your academic department and make sure your internship can count for academic credit.
  3. Complete the Internship Contract which your department will provide. The Internship Contract needs to be signed by the internship host, your academic department and by you.
  4. Know that you have insurance coverage once you are enrolled for an internship. You are automatically added to the list of students covered for that semester or summer session(s) in the App State’s professional liability insurance plan. The fee for this coverage is $12 and is billed through your student account.

Achieve internship success

Achieving success in your internship starts with prioritizing your academic goals, adhering to assignments, deadlines, and focusing on the intended learning outcomes. Your faculty supervisor will determine whether or not your work warrants a successful completion of your internship. Take initiative by introducing yourself to the staff, familiarizing yourself with office procedures, and eagerly offering assistance to integrate quickly into the team atmosphere. As a student, soak up everything you can and leverage your position by attending relevant meetings, dressing professionally, and seeking mentorship to expand your knowledge and network.

Remember you are representing App State, so be recognized as a person with integrity and a strong work ethic. Communicate respectfully and maintain a positive attitude while avoiding office gossip and politics. Immerse yourself in the mission of your internship site, understanding their culture and goals. Observe and learn how ideas are shared, decisions are made, and success is evaluated. Lastly, monitor your progress, staying realistic about what you can accomplish and proactively seeking additional involvement if you are falling behind. If you encounter difficulties at your site, immediately seek the counsel of your faculty internship supervisor.