- Sign the academic internship contract (The student is responsible for completing the contract through our office).
- The contract also requires that a list of duties be submitted. The student is responsible for attaching this information to the contract before it is submitted. The student can use the job description for this, or you can aid them by giving them an idea of the types of things they will be doing.
- Create a general outline of expectations, duties, hours, etc. with the student.
- For every 42 hours the student spends at the internship site,he or she is eligible for one academic credit. (Most students pursue three credits, which requires them to spend 126 hours on the internship throughout the semester). Often, students complete more hours than required for academic credit. Internship hours that are to be counted toward academic credit must be completed by the end of the current academic term unless there is a prior arrangement made for the student to continue working on their credits past the end date.
- A student may continue interning at your site past the end of the academic term, but those hours will not count towards the total needed for academic credit.
- Once you have completed and signed your portion of the contract, the student will take it to his or her faculty supervisor, department chair, and finally, submit to the Registrar’s Office.
Decide on the best way to track internship hours. Will it be the supervisor’s responsibility or the student’s? Will you keep a physical log of hours worked? Since many students work more than the required number of hours, this is not typically an issue.
Some ideas for projects for your intern include:
- Research the viability of a new program, campaign, or initiative; compile and present statistics.
- Complete a backburner project that has been bogging down permanent staff.
- Create a proposal on a potential social media strategy, evaluate various social media platforms, or come up with suggestions for how your current social media strategy might be improved.
- Critique your company’s website…from a user perspective; brainstorm ideas for boosting usability.
- Propose solutions for a mid-level problem that no one has had time to address.
- Research and identify the most influential blogs in your industry. Follow them and provide weekly reports.
- Scan industry media for news items; provide regularly scheduled updates.
- Accompany employees to client, sales, or other outside meetings; have them take an observer role, but ask for their input and ideas and answer any questions they have after you’ve left.
- Evaluate some area of IT functionality for tech-savvy interns; ask if they see a way to improve efficiency, streamline programs, or cut costs.
- Take responsibility for some regular task. Even if it’s as simple as taking, and placing, the weekly supply order, it will demonstrate follow-through and an ability to take ownership.
- Prepare a budget.
- Create support materials, such as charts, graphs, or other visuals.
- Plan and coordinate an event or meeting.
- Generate a marketing plan, financial forecast, or other report.
- Produce a video or slide presentation.
- Perform a study or survey; analyze and present results.
- Write internal communications.
- Compile employee manuals or develop process directions for tasks with high employee turnover.
- Source goods or search for lower-cost sources for high-volume materials.
- Clean up a database.
- Serve as a liaison between the company and clients or vendors while freeing up staff members for more crucial issues.
- Aid in the modification or enhancement of your internship program.
- Help screen and train replacement interns prior to their departure.
(Adapted from St. John’s College Career Center)
Following are more tips for developing and implementing an internship program schedule:
- Develop an orientation—This could include a welcome from your CEO, a team-building activity for interns, time with managers to review specific objectives and see the work area, sessions such as an assessment focused on communication styles and time management, and more.
- Plan a community project for interns—If you do a group project, be sure to include on the schedule the weekly meetings and the final presentation to senior management. Send invitations to all attendees as early as possible to ensure strong attendance.
- Look to have an event at least once a week—Be sensitive to any days the interns may be tied up with normal work events, e.g., interns may have work assignments every Wednesday and Thursday, so schedule intern events for Mondays, Tuesdays, or Fridays.
- Plan events during which interns will be all together so they can bond—Be sure to plan at least one big social event. Invite the interns’ assigned mentors or buddies when appropriate.
- Understand what the interns need to be successful—Don’t just develop the skills they need for their internships, but for the long-term as well. Provide interns with skills they can use in the real world or if they join the organization full time. For example, offer weekly leadership skills training, which could include sessions on personal accountability, communication skills, and presentation skills.
- Ask your training and development team what training it has that would be beneficial for the interns—If they don’t have anything that fits, see if they can build it. This is one of the reasons why you should start early. Doing so gives your training and development team the time to develop training if needed.
- See what training, presentations, or other events the organization as a whole is offering during the intern program—Incorporate into your internship program schedule organization-wide events, such as company picnics and “lunch-and-learns.”
- Get management involved—Invite your president, CEO, and senior management team to participate in intern orientation and events. They may be available to host an executive reception during the first week. Book these dates as early as possible to ensure a good turnout.
- Set dates for interns’ mid-term and final evaluations—Set goals and expectations, and provide interns with honest assessments of their performance. Send reminders the week before meetings so the evaluations are completed.
- Include a “shadowing day”—Giving your interns an opportunity to shadow an employee gives interns exposure to another potential career path within your organization.
- Conduct an evaluation with your intern and follow up on any goals set at the start of the internship.
- A student may return to your site to complete an additional internship experience. However, the student must resubmit paperwork and be completing a set of duties different than the first time they interned.
It is critical that your organization maintain the relationships it has developed with interns when they return to campus. Here are several tips for doing so:
- During their internships, students are often paired with a buddy or mentor, or other staff member. Have these employees periodically reach out to the interns they mentored by phone, text, or e-mail to see how the interns are doing and update them about any key developments at the organization.
- Ask former interns to serve as campus ambassadors for your organization, and have them participate in your career fair booths and during your information sessions.
- When your recruiters visit campus, have them take your interns out to lunch or dinner.
- Send care packages to your interns during finals.
- Have a newsletter, blog, and/or website for interns where they can receive updates about the organization and interact with employees and with one another to keep them engaged.
- Hold a pre-onboarding event for interns returning to the organization to go over pertinent information about the program, and provide any program or organizational updates.
We are happy to help with every step along the way. Feel free to contact Internship Coordinator Bianca Hightower at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns.