Internships Quick Guide

Internships are a production. They require planning, clear goals, parameters, evaluation, staff allocation, and regular attention. Produced effectively, they will attract top students.

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Internship Components

Learning Objective and Outcomes:

Students view internships as an extension of their studies. To sell your opportunity, it is essential to use language that relates the tasks and duties you’ll assign to learning objectives and outcomes.

Limited, defined term:

Because internships are viewed as an extension of study, they typically are expected to coincide educational terms (semesters).This means internships typically last 10-14 weeks; they can be full-time or part-time (10-20 hours/week). When crafting an opportunity, think about a deliverable, and a scope of work; put it on paper and rename it an ‘internship’.


Students come to internships expecting to learn particular skills or methods from an experienced worker, or mentor. You’ll find that your intern will also perform better with an assigned mentor and regular feedback.

Learning & Development:

Students view internships as an extension of their studies; they expect and are accustomed to training and professional development opportunities that connects their studies to the real world, transferrable skills throughout an internship experience. Connecting the dots for students doesn’t have to be complex: schedule weekly one-on-ones, or brown bag lunches to talk about different aspects of the company, or even your job.

Expectations & Orientation:

Managing expectations up front makes all the difference. It’s useful to establish an agreement that lays out the objective, outcomes, duties & tasks, wages, and other expectations between the intern and the employer (like confidentiality, ownership of work product, etc). Educators might refer to this as a “Learning Contract.”


In virtually all cases, any internship a company comes up with requires wages, as the intern will be considered an employee. There are some looser guidelines for non-profits – in which case it’s advisable to use a contract that outlines a volunteer relationship with the intern. Competitive wages will attract top students, but at minimum, consider minimum wage. NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) average hourly rate for Bachelor level intern (2013): $16.26


Recruitment for summer internships takes place during the prior fall, with offers made before the New Year. Many campuses also hold winter career fairs and recruiting events, although many top students will have already accepted an internship by this time. Recruiters can also take advantage of interview days either after or during career fairs, information sessions with groups of students, or other flexibly scheduled on-campus interviews.


Internships can occur year round by planning ahead and piecing together terms or deliverables. Some students will agree to work more than one term.

Internships aren’t for everyone, but part-time work is also valuable for college students. If your organization’s not ready to allocate resources toward the production of an internship, be honest and up-front about it to avoid leaving a bad taste in their mouth about your organization. We’ll help you roll out an ‘internship lite’ or market part time work.