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Internship Program

WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP?

An internship is an intensive, responsible work experience related to a student’s previous academic studies, professional and educational goals. Internships can be credit bearing or non-credit bearing. Non-credit bearing internships are not registered with the College but still must meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. All sites should review these, particularly if they would like to offer an unpaid internship, which is only permissible in certain circumstances.

Credit bearing internships need to meet the following criteria:

1) Be a unique experience to the student. This should not be a place where a student worked regularly in the past unless the student is able to demonstrate that the work will be significantly different or advancing on work from the past.

Examples:

  • Working in a different department or taking on responsibilities not typically covered in the job.
  • Completing an internship with the same department for 2 semesters, with the work of the second semester building on the first.

2) Be a primarily educational experience. While an internship can provide students with valuable practical experience to help with a future career, a credit-bearing internship should be primarily focused on the education of the intern. Work assignments should be primarily instructive and support the learning objectives set out at the start of the internship, as described by the student in the contract.

3) Meet the criteria of the chosen academic program. Credit bearing internships are sponsored by a faculty member. Faculty sponsor must approve the internship and determine whether it meets the criteria of lower level or advanced level work in their discipline.

  • All internships for credit must be a minimum of 3 weeks long.
  • Lower division credit internships: An internship will be considered lower division (270) if the intern is spending 50% or more of his/her time shadowing, observing or completing “routine” tasks (such as basic reception work, filing, copying) which provide an overview of what goes on in an industry, but does not provide the student significant experience applying knowledge. (Ex. At least half of the hours are spent observing in a classroom and spending time grading papers; following a doctor through his/her day, following a photographer and carrying equipment to photo shoots)
  • Upper division credit internships: An internship will be considered upper division (470) if the intern is spending at least 60% of his/her time working on an industry related project which requires development and application of knowledge within the field. (Ex. At least 60% of hours are spent teaching small groups, participating in research, setting up equipment and processing photos from shoots).
  • An accurate job description, ideally provided by the site, should be included on the contract to facilitate evaluation of credit. This should include specific duties to be completed, not just a general statement such as “help with clients”.

4) Be supervised by a knowledgeable professional in the field. Since this is an educational experience, it is important that your supervisor has knowledge and expertise in the field of work, has experience with supervision and is able to fairly evaluate student work in the field. All supervisors are subject to approval by the Director of Career Services and the Faculty Sponsor.

  • Immediate family members may not directly supervise student interns.
  • Other students may not directly supervise student interns, even if they act in a role a student supervisor at the site.

The Director of Career Services and the Faculty Sponsor both reserve the right to request additional information about the site, work to be completed and site supervisor in order to determine the eligibility of the internship for credit prior to approval.

Sites Seeking Interns

Sharing opportunities

Companies and non-profit organizations seeking interns may share opportunities with the Career Services Office. Opportunities will be posted on WHOLElink, where students and faculty may search for openings. Sites will need to provide a detailed job description which includes the specific tasks and responsibilities, as well as any specific qualifications required. This information is used in determining the level of credit that may be offered.

Qualifications

In regards to qualification, it is recommended that sites list specific skills or knowledge areas rather than limiting applicants by major, as there may be qualified applicants whose academic major is not “career tracked” or who have obtained these skills through previous experience or courses outside their majors.

Placement

We cannot guarantee that all sites who post an opportunity will secure an intern. Interns may choose where they apply and which positions they accept. Students apply to positions and a fit is determined between the site and student. Once a student has secured a site, he or she may apply to receive credit for the experience.

Supervision

Sites are required to provide regular supervision, including a minimum of a weekly feedback conversation, as well as any necessary training. There must a designated site supervisor who will approve the contract and ensure the completion of the midterm and final evaluations, all of which are done online.

Site supervisors need to meet the qualifications outline in the previous section.

Internship Eligibility (students)

  • Students are eligible for an internship when they have achieved sophomore standing or have completed two semesters at Wilmington College.
  • They must be in good academic standing at the time the internship is approved and during the semester in which it is completed. Students in good standing with an approved internship who fall from good standing for the term in which the internship is to be completed will be dropped from the internship.

Credits and work hours

  • Between one and six credits can be earned through an internship. Students may include up to 12 internship credits in their Wilmington degree program.
  • Internships are registered by semester, following the same add/drop schedule.
  • At least 75% of the work must be completed during the semester in which the credit is given.
  • For each academic credit earned students must work 42 contact hours. For example the contact hours required are as follows:
    • 1 credit = 42 contact hours
    • 2 credits = 84 contact hours
    • 3 credits = 126 contact hours
    • 4 credits = 168 contact hours
    • 5 credits = 210 contact hours
    • 6 credits = 252 contact hours
  • Contact hours consist of time actually worked at the site. Contact hours are not commuting time, lunch, breaks, background checks required prior to the internship, etc. They may, however, include assignments completed for the internship off site. A good rule of thumb to determine if time can be counted is that if the internship is, or was to be paid, contact hours would be the time for which the intern would be compensated.

Completing hours before the end of term

Students and site supervisors may work together to arrange a mutually agreed upon schedule. It is acceptable for students to work for only part of the term providing that the registered hours are completed. The agreed upon dates of the internship should be indicated in the contract.

  • Students who choose to complete their internship in less than a semester will need to meet with Director of Career Services to arrange for an alternate paper and evaluation schedule.
  • Students will need to complete a minimum of 3 papers for any internship regardless of the number of weeks worked.
  • All students must work a minimum of 3 weeks, even if they exceed the hours required of the internship.
  • Students must complete their hours at the internship site which is indicated on the contract.
  • It is not acceptable for students to end their internship early without prior approval, even if they complete their hours ahead of schedule.
    • Approval is not given for reasons such as not wanting to write more papers, not liking the work or one’s co-workers, etc.
    • Leaving a site before the end of the specified term will be considered when determining the grade.

What Does an Internship Cost?

Internships completed as part of a full-time course load (up to 18 credits) during the fall and spring semesters are included in the regular tuition. Summer internships are charged at the reduced price per credit hour of $125/credit. This is equivalent to ¼ of the normal summer school per credit rate, essentially allowing you to earn 4 credits for the cost of 1summer school credit.

Students who wish to apply financial aid towards a summer internship need to meet with Financial Aid to discuss their options and how this could impact their overall financial aid disbursement. Internship cost is for credit only and does not cover any travel, lodging, food or other expenses which may be incurred as a result of completing an internship.

Adding or Dropping an Internship

  • The add/drop dates for credit bearing internships are the same as for other credit bearing courses at Wilmington.
  • Anyone wishing to add after the final add day, you must complete an appeal request. This is subject to approval of the appeal committee and is not guaranteed. (More about appeals below)

Since the internship is an agreement between the College, student and cooperating site, it is important that the contract is approved by all parties before the student begins. As such, if a student begins work at an internship after the start of term but prior to final approval, no more than 10% of the student’s hours completed prior to approval will be counted towards the internship requirement.

Timeline and Appeals:

Internships take time to plan and prepare, so students should begin planning at least 1 semester in advance.

Timeline:

Beginning of semester before internship (fall for spring or summer internship, spring for the following fall): Attend an internship orientation

Next steps (to be done by midterm)

  1. Talk to a faculty member about being a Sponsor.
  2. Being talking with Faculty Sponsor and/or Career Services about goals for the internship.
  3. Identify 2-5 sites to apply to.
  4. Revise resume and have approved by Career Services.
  5. Start applying to sites.

To be done by ¾ through semester (early Nov. for spring internship, early April for summer or fall internship).

  1. Apply to internship sites
  2. Follow up if necessary.
  3. Interview with sites.
  4. Make a decision based on offers.
  5. Decline offers from other sites once an offer has been accepted.

By end of semester

  1. Complete and submit contract on WHOLElink.
  2. Have Faculty Sponsor and Faculty Advisor approve contract.
  3. Career Services will send contract to site for approval.
  4. Receive authorization email from Career Services (this means you must check your Wilmington College email).
  5. Register on Portal.

Note for summer: Please remind your Faculty Advisor to clear you to register for summer classes if you are doing a summer internship.

Appeals

In the case of extenuating circumstances, students may appeal to add an internship after the add date. In order to apply for an appeal, students need to

  • have secured an internship,
  • completed a contract which has been approved by the faculty sponsor, faculty advisor and site supervisor,
  • complete and submit an appeal form (obtained from the Academic Affairs office) which is to be submitted to Academic Affairs.

Appeal requests are not guaranteed and will only be considered if the student can demonstrate that the late add is due to a circumstance beyond the student’s control. The last day to submit an appeal to add an internship is 2 weeks after the add date for the term.

Examples of situations which may be considered as extenuating circumstances:

  • Student has secured an internship on time, but is waiting on a required background check before it can be finalized.
  • Late change in a student’s academic requirements (such as a new major/minor) which now requires the student complete an internship which was otherwise not expected.
  • A unique internship opportunity becomes available after the deadline and the student is able to complete the internship hours before the end of the semester.

Examples of situations which are within the student’s control and are not extenuating circumstances:

  • Student is unaware of academic requirements of program or what is necessary to register an internship.
  • Student begins the process of trying to secure an internship late and is unable to make arrangements prior to the deadline.
  • Student fails to complete contract or other required documentation in a timely manner.

Dropping and changing sites

Unlike dropping a class, when a student drops an internship this can impact the site negatively. Sites have often dedicated staff to working with interns and have created a work-flow based on your participation in a project. Before dropping a site, interns should try to solve any issues around why you might be dropping first, particularly if it is related to performance or work expectations.

To drop a site, interns must

  1. Speak with the site supervisor to give notice and discuss their need to drop,
  2. Contact the Career Services Office.
  3. Pick up a drop-form.
  4. Once the drop-form is received, the site supervisor will be contacted by the Career Services Office to provide feedback on the intern’s performance prior to departure, including how the departure was handled.

For more guidance on terminating your internship, see the Career Services Office.

Changing a site without dropping the internship

It is expected that students will complete their internship at the site which has been approved on your contract. If, due to extenuating circumstances, a student needs to change sites he/she must contact the Director of Career Services prior to leaving the original site and starting at a new site. Changes in sites are not automatically approved. Only extreme situations, such as a personal/family emergency or closing of the site for example, will be considered for a change of site request.

If the Director of Career Services approves the request to change site, the faculty sponsor and former site supervisor will be notified. The student will need to complete a new contract which must be approved by the faculty sponsor and faculty advisor, as well as the new site supervisor. An evaluation of performance at the previous site for the time worked will be required and will be considered as part of the overall grade. As with all internships, no more than 10% of the hours worked prior to receiving final approval on your contract will be counted towards your requirement.

How to Arrange an Internship (students)

Arranging an internship is as valuable a learning experience as completing the work on site. Here are the necessary steps:

1) Goal clarification. Meet with your faculty advisor or the Director of Career Services to discuss your goals for the internship. (If you want to receive credit, you will need to have a conversation with your faculty advisor). During this conversation, you should clarify:

  • What competencies do you hope to gain through this experience? Consider both technical skills as well as transferrable skills such as competencies in writing, speaking, analyzing information and problem solving.
  • What do you hope to learn about yourself through this experience?
  • What questions about the profession do you hope to explore through this experience?

2) Prepare to apply. Start researching organizations you would like to work for. Visit the Career Services Office for help identifying internship opportunities and to learn how to research places and approach them about the possibility of working with them.   Prepare a resume and a cover letter for each position; come to a workshop or set up an appointment in Career Services if you need help getting started. Have your resume and cover letter reviewed in the Career Services Office.

WANT CREDIT? All students wishing to receive credit for an internship must attend an Internship Orientation prior to receiving the contract.

3) Apply. Send your resume and cover letter to sites regarding open positions. If you do not hear back within a week, make a phone call to follow up ensuring that your materials were received and to inquire about their timeline.

Securing an internship can take several months so you should begin this process at least four months before you wish to intern. Some internships are very competitive so multiple sites should be targeted to ensure securing one.   You are not required to accept any offer you receive, just as they are not required to hire everyone who applies, so don’t worry about applying to many sites.

4) Interview. The employer will usually have an interviewing process which you must undergo. It is important to prepare for the interview. Research the organization’s website, talk to others who may have worked there before, come to an interviewing workshop or make an appointment for a mock interview to help you prepare.

5) Accepting/Declining. If you are offered a position, you can either accept or decline. Before you accept, be sure to clarify the details of the internship first. Let the site know whether or not you are applying for credit, clarify the dates, hours and duties. Clear communication in the beginning is key to avoiding problems before they occur. If you decide not to accept the position, follow up with the site and politely let them know that you have decided to go with another option this term. Once you accept an internship, you should contact the other sites you applied to and let them know that you will be withdrawing your application.

Credit-bearing internships.

Internship Orientation: You will need to attend an internship orientation prior to obtaining access to any of the forms you’ll need to register. This orientation will go over the expectations of internships and the processes involved.

Internship contract: Once you have completed an internship orientation, you will be given access to the Internships and Service section of WHOLElink. This is where you will find a blank contract to submit. You are responsible for completing all parts of the contract on this form. In order to do this, you will need to have a conversation with your faculty sponsor, site supervisor and faculty advisor prior to completing the contract. All contracts must be submitted online. Please review the requirements of an acceptable site supervisor listed in these guidelines above.

Secure a faculty sponsor.   Your faculty sponsor must be a full time faculty member in the department in which you are obtaining the credit.

Signature page. Once you have completed the entire contract, submit it electronically and print a copy and have it signed by your faculty sponsor and faculty advisor (as well as yourself). Please drop off, fax or scan and email a copy of this signed contract to the Career Services Office. Site supervisors will be able to approve through an online process once faculty approval is received.

Clearance and registration. You will receive an email from the Director of Career Services indicating that you are cleared to register your internship for the term selected. Once you are cleared, you must register for the M0 section of the appropriate internship and the correct number of internship credits via the online registration.

Non-credit internships

While a contract is not required by the College, it is a good idea to follow up with an email clarifying what you discussed about the internship including the start date and time, duties, any compensation, dress code, location and contact information. Don’t forget to obtain a phone number, especially if you have primarily been emailing, since that will be the best way to reach your supervisor if there is a problem early on.

Credit Bearing Internship Evaluation

Reflection Papers:

Throughout the internship students are required to complete regular reflection papers. These papers will be evaluated by the Faculty Sponsor bi-weekly. The purpose of the papers is to promote reflection throughout your experience. Much of what is learned through an internship experience happens in reflecting on what happened, not necessarily during the work itself. The papers are less about keeping track of what you did, and more about ensuring that you take time during your busy week to reflect on your experience.

A series of prompts are provided to facilitate your reflection. Choose a prompt that best applies to your work during the time you are reflecting upon. Remember, reflection is different from reporting; it includes your thoughts, analysis and feelings about your experiences rather than the specifics of what you actually did.

Reflection papers are to be 1000 words (about 2 pages single spaced) and are due every other week.

Reflection papers should be written at a college level using standard written English, like any other class. They are not shared with your site supervisor. They are to be submitted electronically on Blackboard.

Final Poster Presentation:

Upon the completion of the internship, students will need to participate in a 1 hour poster session, during which time the Faculty Sponsors and other members of the Wilmington College community will come through to talk with interns about their experiences. These sessions are a required part of the internship and both the interns and faculty sponsors need to attend. Dates will be shared no later than the beginning of the semester to allow for advanced planning.

Evaluations

Site supervisors submit midterm and final evaluation forms, indicating the quality of their intern’s work. These forms are emailed to the site supervisor through WHOLElink a week prior to the deadline. Supervisors need to click on the link in the email to complete the evaluation.

Grading

Internships do not receive letter grades, but are graded on a Pass/No Pass scale. If all assessment materials (papers, hours, poster session and site evaluations) are approved as meeting expectations, students will receive a Pass.