Student Perceptions

During the planning process it is important to consider the internship experience from the student experience. Below are some of the factors that students consider when seeking an internship:

Experiential Learning/Professional Goals
Interns will apply to your internship opportunity for a variety of reasons. Some common goals include:

• Testing a potential career field to see if it is a good “fit”
• Examining how their academic coursework related to various professions
• Developing or enhancing their skill set or knowledge base

Consider how you can contribute to the learning experiences of your interns and develop opportunities to help them reach their individual goals.

Expected Contributions:
Utilize your interns in ways that allows them to set goals, work hard, and produce excellent results. They are joining your organization with the expectation that they will be put to good use, so provide meaningful work that will allow them to contribute to the success of your organization.

Make sure the interns have mentors or supervisors to provide guidance. These staff members should set aside time in their schedules to meet with their interns, and it is their responsibility to make sure that the interns are:

• included in important meetings
• provided with feedback on their performance
• introduced to their co-workers
• educated on the company culture and appropriate attire in the workplace
• have the tools and space (ex: desk, chair, computer, phone) needed to work effectively

Regular Evaluation and Feedback:
Remember that interns are students and that this may be their first experience in a professional setting. Both praise and constructive criticism are important parts of the learning process, and your feedback will help your interns adapt and succeed!

While unpaid internships are common in some industries, please make a strong effort to compensate your interns so they can cover their housing, transportation, and daily living expenses. If significant funding is not available you could find creative ways to alleviate their expenses, such as paying for parking or providing a daily lunch allowance.

Work Hours:
Some interns work 40+ hours for their organizations while others work half-time. The number of hours to be worked in a week as well as the start and end dates for your internship should be set before your interns begin their first day at your organization. Please remember that if your internship is unpaid your interns may need to take a paying second job to cover their living expenses.