An internship is a supervised, workplace-based, pre-professional learning experience. Unlike working at just any full- or part-time job, an internship is part of your career-related learning development. Internships have long been a part of a Simmons student's education, connecting theory with practice as part of your preparation for life's work.
An internship includes a mentoring relationship with a supervising professional at the internship site. It can be paid or unpaid and you may or may not earn academic credit for it. However, unpaid internships usually earn academic credit. If you have additional questions about this, look over the information under the Fair Labor Standards Act on Internship Programs
For the purposes of this section we use the term "internship" broadly to include any workplace-based experiential education program, including clinical placements, practicums (education), and field placements (social work).
Benefits of Internships
An internship is a great way to explore careers and learn more about a potential field. It gives you the chance to put academic theory into practice and experience what a work environment is really like. A good internship provides the opportunity to develop your current skills and learn new ones. Internships also help you clarify your career goals as you discover what types of work you like - and don't like - to do, and therefore help you decide the kinds of careers you might decide to pursue. In addition to your personal growth, you will meet new people and begin to build your network at an internship. Yet another advantage is that doing an internship has a favorable impact on hiring. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), students who complete internships often find a job more quickly after school than students who have not done one.
Typical Internship Requirements
While there is some variation across academic departments and majors, the typical internship experience has requirements both for the student and the host organization, especially if it is to qualify for academic credit. After all, while you will be working in a real world setting, if you are earning credit the experience is part of your overall academic program and therefore must be of demonstrable educational value.
While exact department requirements vary, here are typical guidelines for both students and employers participating in an internship:
- Maintain professional workplace appearance and behavior
- Perform assigned tasks and responsibilities to acceptable standards
- Maintain reflections journal during internship
- Prepare and present final report at end of internship experience
Host Organization (Employer)
- Provide substantive work experience for student
- Clearly and explicitly delineate student work role
- Designate an on-site supervisor
- Provide mid-point and final performance evaluations
- Be accessible for faculty and/or career advisor site visit
- Provide a stipend/compensation, academic credit, or both
Where Simmons Students Do Internships
The range of different majors and academic programs at Simmons means that Simmons students undertake internships in a wide variety of workplace settings. You are virtually unlimited in your choice of internship site, as long as the host organization meets the internship guidelines and any other specific requirements your school may have.
Here is a sampling of recent internship sites for Simmons students, including, as mentioned above, clinical placement sites and other experiential learning settings. International internships can be undertaken during the summer months or in some cases as part of your study abroad:
- Arnold Worldwide
- Blink Music
- Boston Aquarium
- The Boston Globe
- Boston Public Schools
- Cambridge Public Schools
- Children's Hospital Boston
- Clean Air Task Force
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Family Equality Council
- Historic New England
- The Home for Little Wanderers
- Institute of Public Administration (Dublin, Ireland)
- Joslin Diabetes Center
- Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
- Lockheed Martin
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Museum of Fine Arts
- National Environmental Law Center
- One Laptop Per Child
- Perkins School for the Blind
- Perseus Book Group
- Pure Home Water (Savelugu, Ghana)
- Smith Barney
- State Street Bank
- WCVB-TV, Boston's ABC affiliate
What Simmons Students Say About their Internship Experiences
Here is what two students say, in their own words, about their internship experiences during their time at Simmons:
"My internship at Girl Scouts has been a very enjoyable experience. I have done a variety of tasks and developed skills that are transferrable to many fields, including higher education. The best part about my internship - aside from it being at an organization dedicated to "building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place" - is that I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of departments to get the most "bang for my buck" out of my experience, and have been exposed to many areas of nonprofit organizational management."
--WGST Major, 2011
"My internship has proved to be extremely rewarding. Not only have I gained a lot of career experience, but it has also been great to observe what it is like to be an archivist behind the scenes. I really value what [Simmons archivists] do every day. Their work is very important and I am really grateful to be a part of it. I cannot wait to show off my exhibit to all my friends!"
-- History Major, 2011
How to Find an Internship
Finding the right internship can be time consuming and many internship opportunities have early application deadlines, so get started early. To begin, download Six Steps to Finding an Internship. You can also view what former interns and hiring managers have to say about the internship experience - check out the Career Spots video on Finding a Co-op or Internship.
When it comes time to research internship listings you have a wealth of resources at your disposal. Primary among these is CareerLink, the Simmons online job board, listing internship and job postings that are updated daily. These opportunities are specifically posted by recruiters seeking Simmons interns and full-time employees. The CEC typically adds 50-60 new job and internship listings every week and carries over 1,000 active openings at any given time! Many listings are local as employers know that Simmons students seek internships at Greater Boston organizations during the semester. CareerLink also includes access to other databases of listings, including Internships.com, a large databank of both local and national internship openings.
The CEC also maintains a calendar of employer events throughout the academic year, including both on- and off-campus career fairs and other types of recruiting events, such as employer Information Tables, Information Sessions, career panels, and other events. Each one of these events represents an opportunity to connect with employers from an organization about potential internships. Many of them come to campus specifically seeking to hire Simmons students for internships and full-time jobs. Check out the career events calendar here and keep your eye on it as new events are added.
And don't forget about your network! While numerous internship postings are available online, one of your best sources for internships is your own network of contacts. Review the Career Toolkit's Optimize Your Networking page for information on how to leverage your network for internship opportunities.
Meet with a Career Coach about Internships
If you have any questions about internships you should discuss them with your faculty advisor, your school internship coordinator, or a CEC career coach. Any of them can help you determine what type of internship you would like to pursue and how to go about obtaining it. If, after reviewing the above, you feel you could benefit from the expertise of a CEC coach in considering an internship, contact the CEC to set up an appointment with a coach.
For More Information
The following are selected additional resources for exploring, locating, and landing an internship:
- Internship Career Guide
- OneSource: Use OneSource to find both top-line information and in-depth intelligence on industries, companies (both public and private), executives and corporate family structures. OneSource contains information from more than 2,500 data sources, including market research, analyst reports, regulatory filings, news releases and much more.
Additional Online Resources
- Indeed.com - a jobs aggregator for jobs and internships from job boards, company websites, and elsewhere on the web to provide a large number of listings in one place. It typically carries close to 1 million national and local openings. Includes powerful location, keyword, and other search variables. Sort search results by Relevance or Date.
- SimplyHired.com - another jobs aggregator with voluminous listings. Narrow your internship search through keywords, location, and other pertinent criteria.
Pursue an Internship Toolbox
- Six Steps to Finding an Internship
- FLSA in Internship Programs
- CareerSpots Video - Finding a Co-op or Internship
- CareerSpots QuickTips - Finding a Co-op/Internship
Read tips and and find helpful links that will make your internship a success.
Career Toolkit for Graduate Students
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