Internship Guidelines

WHAT is an internship?

National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) recommends the following definition:

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.

The National Society for Experiential Education defines an internship as..."a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience." The key phrases in this definition are "carefully monitored," "intentional learning goals," and "reflects actively."

WHY should I do an Internship?

  • Employers like to hire recruits with experience.
  • Internships provide "real world" experience.
  • Gain skills and information.
  • Increase your marketability to future employers.
  • Confirm that you have chosen the correct employment field or discover you haven't chosen the right field of work for you.
  • It is a chance to observe company or organization culture, management style and expectations.
  • Explore different career options.
  • Assess your skills, abilities and gifts compared to others in your field of choice.
  • Make connections and contacts to utilize in your job search.
  • Develop relationships with reference writers.

WHAT makes an internship legitimate?

NACE suggests the following criteria be met in order for an experience to qualify as an internship:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

WHEN should I do an internship?

The earlier you get started with field experience the better. Some companies or organizations do require you are a certain age or class status. A student may earn up to 12 credit hours between the 275 level (exploratory) and 475 level (preparatory) options. Typically a freshman or sophomore would participate in the 275 level and juniors and seniors the 475 level.

CAN I earn credit for an internship or field experience?

YES!  Some majors require field experience to graduate.  Other majors offer field experience as elective credits.  Consult the University catalog and meet with your advisor before you apply for or begin an internship.  Your advisor may also have recommendations for internship sites.  He/she will provide input and direction for your learning objectives outlined on the Field Experience Application form.  (Go to the Registrar webpage, and click on "I need to arrange an internship" to download the Field Experience Application form.

You MUST register for credit and complete the Field Experience Application form BEFORE the field experience begins or you will not earn credit.  Your application form must approved by the department chair and your advisor, and submitted to the registrar for enrollment.  Field experience credit cannot be granted for past experiences.  You must complete the field experience during the semester in which you are registered.  Each academic department handles the supervision of the field experience.

HOW do I locate an internship or field experience opportunity?

  1. Prepare an updated resume and cover letter to show how you are qualified for an internship and how you will contibute as an intern.  Assistance is available from the Career Services Office.
  2. If your advisor is unable to locate an internship site for you, you may need to conduct your own search. Career Services has the following resources to help you in this process:
  • Search openings in BruinCareers (via mygfu) - New internships are added daily.  Create a "job agent" in BruinCareers in order to be alerted when new positions that meet you criteria get entered.
  • Enroll in GEED 216 Become Workplace Familiar: Getting Internship - Take this 1-credit online course the semester BEFORE which you'd like to complete an internship.  This course is designed to help you create 5-10 internship leads in 15 weeks.  Plus, you develop your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills!
  • Internship Fair (held annually each Fall) - This fair draws 15-20 active employers to campus and includes internships for a broad range of majors (not just business!)
  • First Avenue Career & Graduate School Expo (April 5, 2013) - George Fox Unviersity partners with 8 other top liberal arts colleges in Oregon to coordinate this fair.  Over 100 employers & graduate schools are represented across multiple majors and industries.
  • Schedule a "Career Conversation" to discuss internships - We can introduce you to several key resources, facilitate connections with alumni, and guide you in presenting yourself as a qualified candidate. Contact us.
  • Access additional search engines - We've compiled a list of internship links.

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