Engaged Learning is inextricably linked to Edgewood’s COR curriculum and realizing our mission by engaging students in a life of personal fulfillment, professional achievement, and public service. When students have opportunities that combine their knowledge with experience, we foster an educational community that seeks truth, compassion, justice and partnership. It is our vision that students include the undertakings of study, reflect and act to articulate and demonstrate how their engaged learning experiences have shaped their identity and how they interact with the world. Engaged Learning can be met through civic engagement, global learning, internships, multicultural learning, or student research.
An internship is a form of engaged learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
Internships focus on the COR questions:
Who am I and who could I become? Internships help students explore environments that parallel their personal identity, values and beliefs.
What are the needs and opportunities of the world? Internships allow students the opportunity to apply their skills to real-world experiences.
What is my role in building a just and compassionate world? Students will explore career options that fit who they are and match their skills to the needs of the world - either clarifying or opening their minds to options to pursue after graduation.
Learning is optimized when these experiences are intentionally designed to include reflection and assessment. It is suggested that students enter internships with learning objectives in mind and share these objectives with a mentor or supervisor at the internship site. All internships create a bridge from campus to career, from coursework to professional practice. We partner with students and employers to develop mutually beneficial experiences.
CRITERIA FOR AN EXPERIENCE TO BE DEFINED AS AN INTERNSHIP
To ensure that an experience is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) definition, all the following criteria must be met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship.
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act: This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns and students working for "for-profit" employers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Internship Prep Guide
- Learn about the industry you want to intern in. Read trade publications, take note of topics and trends.
- Google yourself - some studies say up to 75% or even more of employers do it. Make sure privacy settings on your accounts are secure and overall results show up favorably. In addition, develop an online persona by being present in those searches. Be comfortable with social media and how they are relevant to your industry.
- Write or organize a cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile. Start by making a list of all the wonderful things you will bring to your internship - strengths, skills, interests and experiences. You can see if the internships you find match your list! If you haven't done so already, consider taking an assessment like Type Focus to learn more about yourself. If help is needed, contact the Career Development Office to set up an appointment!
- Search and obtain an internship: this takes time and requires some planning. Many organizations begin recruitment for internships almost a year in advance of the start date. If you are looking for an internship over the summer, for example, plan on starting your search the previous fall. Attend the Career Mixer in September, where we have employers on campus actively recruiting students for internship and job opportunities. Look for specific dates/times on the College Calendar, or contact your Academic and Career Counselor. Come to drop-in hours or set up an appointment with the Academic Success and Career Development Center to help you with your search by calling 608-663-2281. Internship and Job Online Resources:
- Notify your advisor when you have an internship! There may be an Internship Agreement Form to help you identify learning objectives for your experience. If it is mandatory for your major, make sure you are registered for the correct coursework and credits.
- Familiarize yourself with the company. Understanding their mission and organizational structure will show that you understand the fundamental values of the company and your dedication to becoming a cohesive part of the team. If you haven't done so already, peruse the company website. You can even stay current on the latest happenings by signing up for a Google Alert to receive notification of current news releases.
- Practice your commute! It may sound silly, but the last thing you want to do is show up late on the first day. Take a test drive your double check the public transportation schedule.
- Know the office culture. Once you've accepted a position, it's perfectly fine to do a follow up with your supervisor to ask about the dress code, what the environment you will be working is like (is it a cubicle or an office?), verifying working hours - including lunch breaks and other expectations, even understanding if they have food service, or a refrigerator to hold the lunch you brought from home.
- Get excited! This is a great accomplishment, and the organization you are interning with believes in you - congratulations!
During your Internship:
- On your first day, come prepared and bring a professional notebook to keep everything you learn in one accessible place. Also bring your identification for paperwork.
- Adhere to the organization's work hours, policies, procedures, and ethical standards.
- Approach established organization policies with an open mind and an honest desire for improvement.
- Apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to real-world situations.
- Talk to people! Don't be intimidated because you are a student.
- Develop a self-awareness of attitudes, values and behavior patterns that influence your internship environment.
- Prepare for and utilize learning opportunities such as trainings, meetings or conferences.
- Complete assignments in a thorough, consistent and punctual manner.
- Provide your Edgewood College internship coordinator with periodic progress reports. Use the Internship Agreement Form and Internship Assessment Form when applicable.
- Demonstrate a positive attitude! Keep track of the learning objectives you identified at the beginning of the internship, and include examples of day-to-day activities, short-term and long-term projects that helped you achieve those objectives.
- Use the internship experience to clarify and/or explore work environments that fit your values and beliefs.
After your Internship:
- Don't forget to say thank you. Written thank you notes are still very much appreciated and will give recognition to those you worked with during that period. For each person you write, provide specifics about what you appreciated.
- Evaluate what you've learned. As stated, internships are a type of engaged learning that allow you to study, reflect and act on your experience. After your internship, you should be able to demonstrate and articulate how the experience has better prepared you for that next step in your career development. Also, ask your supervisor if there was anything they felt you could have improved upon during your internship. Use the Internship Assessment Form to help instigate that conversation.
- List your accomplishments and update your resume. Record all of your hard work while it's still relevant to your life and fresh in your mind. Show your accomplishments, not just listing things, but showing how you positively affected that organization.
- Ask your supervisor if you can include examples of your work for future job hunts. An effective example can include anything from creative projects and published articles to statistical reports and analytical presentations, depending on your field. Some projects can be identified on your LinkedIn profile to show your substantial experience.
- Don't lose touch! An internship is an integral part of building your professional network. Stay in touch with fellow interns, coworkers and managers via LinkedIn.
- Be sure to ask for recommendation letters or verbal agreements to give their names and contact information for future references.
- Is there a possibility of staying on as a full-time employee after your internship? Studies show that up to 60% of internships turn into job offers. If this interests you, build a personal presentation by compiling all the outstanding work you've done for the organization during your internships. Schedule a time to speak with your manager about the possibility of a job. Even if they may not have a fit for you, they may know of another employer seeking an intern or employee.
- Think of the students looking for internships on campus. Could you make a connection with a current student and your supervisor to transition a new intern?
Frequently Asked Questions about Internships: