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Career Services: Student FAQ's
An internship at its core is a learning experience. An internship is meaningful when it works to connect your skills, abilities and academic knowledge to a career profession of interest. From working with many previous student interns, it is clear that internships with the following criteria have a tendency to make for a quality experience:
- Meaningful work related to student’s professional goals (not only copying and filing!)
- Clearly outlined internship job description and role in the organization
- Supervisor accessibility and open lines of communication
- Regular direction on tasks or projects assigned
- Individual agency to add creative input to tasks or projects
- Inclusion in regular functions of the workplace and exposure to several different aspects of the organization
- Opportunity for collaboration with professionals in order to network
- Consistent training and mentoring
- Regular evaluations or feedback on work performance
- An opportunity to be compensated and/or earn credit for the experience
There are multiple stakeholders within any one internship experience, including you (the student), the employer and possibly a faculty member (if completing the internship for credit). All of these stakeholders have their own definition of what makes an internship worthwhile, as illustrated below.
An internship will offer me:
An internship will provide:
An internship should include:
A clear job description
An opportunity to strengthen recruitment and hiring efforts
A means to earn academic credit
A chance to apply classroom knowledge and training
Defined learning objectives that are consistent with the student’s academic course of study
A well-crafted set of learning objectives connecting student learning with experience in the field
An opportunity to contribute ideas
A clearly defined role in the organization and workspace
Advising from a faculty member
An opportunity to challenge existing management by supervising an intern
The ability to assess the internship site as effective for experiential learning
Assigned work that is meaningful
An opportunity for consistent mentoring, training and feedback for the intern
The ability to assess the performance of the intern
An opportunity to earn credit and/or be paid
Exposure to as many parts of the organization as is possible
An opportunity to build relationships and network
An opportunity to see realistic professional tasks representative of the industry
The ability to reflect on my course learning in the context of the experience
Internships are work-related learning experiences that provide current students, new graduates, and career changers with an opportunity to gain important knowledge and skills in a career related field. Internships are a chance to gain exposure to career fields of interest without making a permanent commitment.
Ultimately internships should include learning objectives, orientation and training, routine evaluation along with direct supervision of the work involved. The purpose of an internship is to introduce and train for a particular job or gain experience in a particular career field. Previous experience within the field is not a pre-requisite.
Part-time jobs are entered into mainly for compensation and are usually at an entry-level position for current students or recent graduates.
In a typical entry-level job, an employee receives training to perform the tasks necessary for the position, and then the employee is expected to carry out the duties as assigned, preferably with little to no supervision.
A comprehensive internship search involves organization research, discussing your interests with your friends, family, and professors, meeting with companies of interest and applying for open positions. Career Services can help you craft a tailored strategy for your internship search! Call 503 943-7201 or go online to schedule an appointment.
Internship & Job Fairs:
Two annual UP Internship Fairs are held on campus in each semester. The fall internship and volunteer fair is held in late September and the spring internship forum is held in late January. These are usually located in Franz Hall.
The Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair for engineering and science majors occurs annually in February in Shiley School of Engineering.
The First Avenue Career & Graduate School Fair for primarily business and arts and sciences majors occurs annually in April at the Chiles Center.
The NW MBA Consortium Career Day is held annually for MBA students in February.
UP’s College Central Network has internship listings that are updated by employers daily who are actively recruiting UP students.
There is always an element of nervousness when experiencing something for the first time, like a new professional endeavor. However, with careful research, thoughtful preparation and consistent communication, you can reduce any anxiety and increase the likelihood of a successful, meaningful internship experience.
If you aren’t sure if an internship is right for you, please attend an Intro to Internships, First Thursday in Career Services to learn more!
Be well prepared: Craft thoughtful learning objectives or goals for your internship and do some research about the organization.
Have clear and reasonable expectations: You are there to learn and “test out” this career field. It may be that you end up not liking the industry, organization or field and that’s ok because it’s a learning experience.
Be Professional: Remember that you are building a professional reputation by interning in an organization. Even if you encounter work you may not be enthused to do, it is important to hold to the standards agreed upon by both you and the employer.
Communicate: The more exchange that you have with your supervisor and faculty members (if completing an internship for credit) will allow you to have an exceptional learning experience. Ask questions and solicit advice as needed.
Record and Reflect: Even if not completing an internship for credit where you are required to complete reflection, it is important to take time to think about the experiences you are having in a structured way. As you record and reflect, you are building a narrative of your accomplishments during the internship and a history for you to draw upon in your career path.
Evidence that your internship is progressing well:
- You are finding an opportunity to apply your own knowledge while learning new things.
- You have open, encouraging and frequent communication with your internship supervisor or mentor.
- You are developing a growing insight about how this organization and industry works as well as how good of a fit it is for you.
- You are experiencing a range of problem solving, decision making and creativity in your internship tasks.
- You are meeting new people and making connections in the professional world.
If you feel that you are experiencing few to none of the points above, please seek out assistance from Career Services at 503 943-7201.
No. An internship can be completed as a sophomore or freshman to gain experience in career-related fields. Depending on the requirements of your major or academic department, you may not be able to complete an internship for credit prior to your junior year. Consult with your faculty advisor or Career Services if you have questions about qualifications to complete an internship.
Specialized industry employers (such as engineering and nursing) benefit from hiring students with specific majors while others often find that all liberal arts interns are flexible, have a breadth of knowledge, and are willing to take risks and learn new skills needed during an internship. Students attending a liberal arts school (like UP) possess skills sets that are valued by employers in a wide variety of industries, including exceptional writing, communication, critical thinking, research and analytic skills. It is important to pay attention to the qualifications listed in the internship job description, but more importantly, it is crucial to be able to relate transferable or soft skills that you possess in relation to the position.
Generally internships are optional and not required to complete for credit. However some colleges or academic departments require one internship for students in that major (e.g., Pamplin School of Business and CAS Social Work Practicum). Some internships are offered for credit within a course, others as independent or directed studies. Most internships across campus are sought for the training and experience, and consequently not a requirement. Check the
current UP Bulletin for any college-specific requirementsor with your department or academic advisor for the requirements in your major.
Generally on campus internships should qualify for academic credit, with faculty advisor approval. The main criterion for an internship for credit is that the work at the internship site should relate to your academic studies in order to qualify for receiving credit. In addition, certain hour requirements for working at the internship apply depending on your major or academic department. If you have any questions about qualifications for an internship for credit, it’s best to consult your faculty advisor, Career Services or your Academic Department.
Very broadly speaking, graduate schools most heavily weigh your letters of recommendation and your statement of purpose outlining your interest in the field and graduate program. In addition, admissions committees are aware of the value of experiential learning, particularly in relation to experience in the field that you intend to pursue in graduate school. Taking part in experiences such as undergraduate research, published writing or conferences, internships in your industry of interest, or developing mentors in your field can help make your application to graduate school stand out and be more competitive.
Internships vary in their ability to offer compensation and wages generally vary based on a number of factors:
- Students’ Experience / Academic level
- Location and size of firm or organization
- Industry or profession
- For profit v. not-for-profit organizations
- Technical nature of the work
internhips will generally offer between $10 and $15 per hour. There are some that exceed this amount, while in other cases a stipend (one-time payment at the end of the internship) is offered.
or . internships are found in all disciplines, but more often in majors within The College of Arts and Sciences. When there is no compensation, employers are required by law to strictly follow the guidelines established by the
These guidelines protect an intern from too many working hours, unfair promises, and other factors of the work environment. A student is free to request an internship that earns credit, and so derives some value by making progress towards a degree. At University of Portland, this is approved by the academic department (see the Academic Credit Internship section for assistance). In other cases a student prefers not to pay the associated tuition, and simply views the internship as valuable and relevant work experience.
There are many inherent benefits to experiential learning whether it is paid or unpaid. For further help in understanding internships contact or visit Career Services.
No. Summer is a great time to complete an internship and you have the option to complete an internship in your home town or another town or city outside of Portland. In fact, many students choose to take internships in their home town over the summer to gain experience and save on the cost of living. It may be more difficult to receive academic credit for an internship that is out of the local area, but with advanced planning and locating a faculty member willing to work with you remotely over the summer, it can be accomplished. Contact Career Services to discuss all of your options for completing an internship in any location.
Yes. Employers are increasingly interested in international experience and cultural competency, and completing an internship abroad helps to better develop these skills and abilities. The key to completing an internship abroad is to start planning early! Having a clear idea of your international internship interest and beginning your planning at least nine months to one year in advance is recommended. The Study Abroad office (BC 161) partners with IES Abroad in offering internships for credit during a student’s study abroad experience. In addition, there are many options for completing an internship abroad. Career Services can assist you in planning your international internship experience; stop by to schedule an appointment.