Internship Best Practices

·         Quality internship programs follow best practices

·         Best practices are responsibility of internship provider (company or agency)

o   New internship providers may need information on best practices

o   Best practices are in the best interest of the intern — help assure learning takes place

·         Know what to look for when evaluating an internship

o   Excellent learning experiences facilitated by supervisors/mentors that plan the internship and support it with resources

o   Best practices need to be in place from the start of the internship and sustained until the end of the internship

o   Main priority — provide the student with a professional learning experience

o   Formal training and on-the-job learning experiences


When evaluating a possible internship opportunity, look for best practices elements:


¨  Training combined with the assignment and execution of on-the-job tasks.

§  Purposeful project assignments

§  List of potential projects that will help the student learn and help the company achieve important goals

§   Interns need focused, purposeful roles to keep them motivated, learning, and helping to meet organizational objectives

§  Company tours, job shadowing, field trips, and attendance at company training seminars

¨  Work is "onsite" in a professional setting with frequent interaction with supervisor/mentor

·         Many opportunities for instant communication and feedback from an experienced professional

·          Other students should not supervise interns

·         Mentor/supervisor serves as an information source, assures that interns are keeping pace and accomplishing goals

·         Many opportunities to build personal relationships and networks during the course of the internship

·          Opportunity to experience working in a professional environment

·         Supervisor/mentor serves as a positive role model while putting a heavy emphasis on teaching and supporting the intern

¨  Company "invests" in the intern

·         The investment can take a variety of forms (including money , tangible resources and time)

o   Paid internship (wage or stipend) creates ownership in the program by both the business/agency and the intern

o    A good space to work is critical

o   Well-thought-out orientation programs help the intern:

§  Meet people

§  Learn more about the company/agency

§  Become comfortable with the environment

§  Understand management expectations

§  Understand business etiquette and policies and procedures