The University of Rochester defines an internship as:
An internship is a form of experiential 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. (National Association of Colleges and Employers)
Internships can be paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not, and take place during the school year or over the summer. While most internships are undertaken between a student/candidate and the employer, we are also happy to discuss more formal internship relationships or agreements with employers.
Internship Definition Checklist
An internship must:
- Be supervised by a professional within the organization
- Serve primarily as a learning experience for the student
- Have clearly defined duties and activities agreed upon by student and employer
- Include an analytical or reflective component
- Assist the student in progressing toward a professional or exploratory career goal
- Comply with all relevant employment laws and statues; students do not give up their rights as employees due to their academic status
An internship should:
- Take place in a professional setting (allowing that professional development and learning can take place during remote arrangements as well as when adequately structured)
- Have clear expectations and evaluation processes provided by the employer
- Assist the student in delineating a career path from the internship forward
- Encourage the student to develop career readiness competencies including:
- Critical thinking/problem solving
- Oral/written communications
- Digital technology
- Professionalism/work ethic
- Global/intercultural fluency
- Career management
Internship sites offering unpaid internships should review national standards to ensure compliance.
For questions on internships, please contact Tyson Tate, Program Director, Employer Connections.