An internship is a supervised career-related work experience that allows you to apply classroom learning to real-world situations. Internships offer you an opportunity to set learning goals, obtain valuable professional-level experience, and reflect on what you have learned from the experience. Internships may be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, local, national, or international.
You will obtain relevant professional experience in your field, gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses, values, likes, and dislikes. You will develop communication skills, professional and technical skills, leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. You will gain more confidence in your abilities. Internships are a great way to gain valuable contacts for potential career opportunities. Some organizations will only consider candidates who have interned with them.
There are many great sources for internship opportunities: Handshake, the Career Center’s online job/internship database; your college’s listserv or newsletter; employer websites and web sources
(see the Other Resources page) and networking. Your personal network -- including family, friends, professors, classmates, and previous employers--can help provide internship leads. The Career Center provides many opportunities for networking with employers, including on-campus Career Fairs, help every fall and spring, as well as employer class presentations and information sessions. Student organizations may also host employer guest speakers. If you're interested in international internships, UK Education Abroad has resources to help jump-start your search.
An academic internship means that you will be seeking credit through a UK internship course - through the Stuckert Career Center or an academic department. You will complete a learning contract, obtain a faculty sponsor, receive department approval, enroll in a UK internship course and receive a grade. It may be paid or unpaid and it will appear on your transcript.
Your faculty sponsor should be within your major. A faculty sponsor may be full-time or part-time. Teaching assistants/ Graduate students may serve as faculty sponsors if the supervising faculty member approves. As your sponsor, the faculty member will assign your reflective learning assignments based on your specific learning objectives. The sponsor will meet with you during the semester to discuss your learning outcomes and monitor your progress. Your sponsor determines your final grade based on the completion of your academic assignments and required site hours.
Meet with your academic advisor to determine the best semester for you. Try to do more than one if possible. That requires you to start as early as possible to have time for additional opportunities. The more relevant experience you have, the more competitive you will be upon graduation for career positions and application to graduate and professional schools.
Start your research a full semester in advance. Organizations will determine application deadlines. Very competitive positions typically have earlier deadlines. Sometimes, however, there are positions available as late as the first week of the semester.
Each organization stipulates requirements for determining potential candidates. The Handshake postings will contain detailed directions and contact information. Some organizations require formal interviews and some do not. To prepare, have your resume critiqued and do a practice interview with a career advisor.