During the Internship

Keys to Internship Success During the internship Program 

a. Help students set personal goals – Setting internship goals should be a collaborative process resulting in outcomes that meet the needs of the intern and the employer. It is important to assist the student in clarifying what they will be expected to learn during the internship as well as skills they will be attaining. Take time to establish learning objectives that will describe day-to-day activities and that will assist in meeting specific learning goals while supporting the needs of the organization. Remember, the internship experience should be an extension of what they are learning in the classroom.

i. Describe challenging, but realistic tasks or projects students can accomplish within a three-month period.

ii. Work with your intern to establish specific learning objectives, as well as identify outcomes or expected products.

iii. Show how this work relates to the overall efforts of the department or organization

b. Orientation Process - Becoming oriented with a new setting is often difficult and stressful when starting any new job. Therefore, the intern needs to become acclimated to the office environment in various ways.

i. Give the intern a tour of the office.

ii. Introduce the intern to the other staff members.

iii. Collaborate with the intern to develop a schedule, as the intern may have to work around class schedules or another job. The supervisor will discuss the schedule, meeting times for the intern and supervisor, as well as potential projects the intern may be working on.

iv. The site-supervisor should tell the intern how and when feedback will be provided throughout the internship.

v. The intern should be provided with all material concerning pay schedules (if applicable), procedures for calling in sick, and overall expectations for attire and behavior.

vi. Teach the intern how to use the technology in the office. (Do not assume that he/she knows how to use the copier, fax machine, email system, etc.)

vii. The intern should be given a stable workspace and not be constantly moved around the office. Desk sharing between individuals on alternate days is often an acceptable practice for internships.

c. Supervise the Intern - One person should be assigned to supervise the intern. This person will act as a mentor to the student and not only have the time to dedicate to the intern’s development, but also the willingness and enthusiasm. The supervisor should:

i. Provide effective leadership

ii. Motivate

iii. Delegate tasks

iv. Communicate

v. Develop and train

vi. Evaluate

d. Regular Meetings with Intern – The site-supervisor should set regular meetings with the intern to go over the learning objectives, progress, and to address any issues or concerns. These regularly scheduled meetings should be in addition to any informal feedback throughout the internship. Students expect clear direction regarding expectations and frequent feedback concerning their work. In their academic environment, clear direction and periodic feedback is the way of life.

e. Provide opportunities to network and build relationships – It is important for the site-supervisor to provide opportunities for the intern to meet other staff members and key constituents of the organization. Assist the intern in scheduling 15-20 minutes with these individuals to conduct informational interviews where the intern can learn about others’ roles and responsibilities in the office. In addition, the intern should be included in meetings, luncheons, or other special events.