Establishing a Successful Internship Program
Conduct an internal audit
- Can you provide meaningful work assignments?
- Is there a peak workload or heavy vacation period when the organization will benefit from extra help?
- Are you prepared to invest time in interns?
- Who on my staff will enjoy and benefit from working with an intern?
- Although optional, can you provide financial support (e.g., salary, gas money, supplies)?
- Do you have office space?
Select the intern supervisor.
- Is this person committed to and capable of developing people?
- Does this person have the time to supervise interns?
Develop a position description
- Provide overview of job, work assignments, time frame, and application procedure.
- Clearly outline expected outcomes.
- Speak with the college internship contact person to share information about the assignments.
- Send job description to college.
Review applications and interview prospective interns
- Do not automatically accept intern candidates without interviews.
- Review resumes, applications, and meet with applicants.
- Discuss start and end dates.
- Provide interns with information regarding work attire, and agree on days and times they will be on site.
- Select interns and notify the college internship contact person.
- Notify employees that interns will be starting and provide them with background information about the projects interns will be doing.
- Set up work space for interns.
- Review with intern their learning objectives.
- On the first day, introduce interns to all staff with whom they will be working.
- Orient students to resources available and provide any necessary training (e.g., computer, equipment, etc.).
- Meet with the intern on a regular basis to provide feedback and ensure projects are on track.
- Discuss your career field, its current issues, and career opportunities within it.
Seek and provide feedback
- In an exit interview, ask interns to give you feedback regarding their experience with your organization.
- Have the intern supervisor fill out an evaluation on the intern and write recommendations if appropriate.
Stanton, Timothy K. and Kamil Ali, The Experienced Hand: A Student Manual for Making the Most of an Internship. Raleigh, NC:National Society for Experiential Education.
Kendall, Jane C., John S. Duley, Thomas C. Little, Jane S. Permaul, and Sharon Rubin. Strengthening Experiential Education within Your Institution. Raleigh, NC:National Society for Experiential Education.
Adapted from: Liberal Arts Special Interest Network, College Placement Council, Inc.