College internships are a great way to get ahead of the game. Students with an internship or two under their belt have a leg up when it comes to applying for their first post-college job because employers increasingly want to see experience in the new college grads they hire. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 95% of employers saying candidate experience is a hiring factor with college grads.
That said, it’s important to have a game plan when preparing for your internship. If you’re looking to gain college credit from your internship, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure your credits are accepted.
1. Visit your institution’s career services office
If your goal is to get college credit for your internship, your internship must abide by your institution’s guidelines. Visit the Career Services office at your institution to get the process rolling. Your institution may also have relationships with businesses in your area of interest and be able to provide you with internship leads.
2. Find out how many work hours are required per credit
Students typically earn between 3-12 credits per internship depending on the institution’s guidelines and how many hours the student works. Find out how many hours your school requires per credit and the maximum number of credits they accept.
3. Complete all paperwork before starting your internship
Many institutions require students to fill out an application for college credit and have it signed by both the internship and institution. Ask your institution for all necessary forms, and obtain all signatures prior to starting.
4. Keep a journal
Many schools require students to keep a journal about their internship experience or write an essay at the end recapping their experience. Keeping a journal will make it easier to complete your essay at the end of your internship.
5. Don’t forget about tuition
Some institutions require students to pay per credit hour for a summer internship, while others roll the cost into the regular fall college tuition. Internships that qualify for college credit are often unpaid, so make sure you find out if your tuition covers the credits or if it’s your financial responsibility.
Ready to get started? After talking with your school, check out these helpful internship search sites to get the ball rolling: