Internships: Earn While You Learn

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Here at Iowa State our classes prepare us for the real world, but the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences knows that experience outside the classroom can be just as beneficial. I can’t put Biology 101 under “Relevant Experience”, after all.

So, I’m going to say the word that many students dread: Internship

Internships. You might have never considered applying for one, but nothing can prepare you more for a career than actually working in the field. Many companies allow you to make your own schedule and despite what you might hear, many interns are paid. Some internships even lead to full time positions!

If you aren’t convinced yet, what if I said that you could work an internship while still earning credit towards graduation? Here’s how:

Find an internship – Easier said than done. First, log into CyHire. CyHire has a database of internship openings targeted at Iowa State University students. You can sort by industry, length and more. You can even apply directly through CyHire. Then, reach out to friends in your major, family members or companies you are interested in for more opportunities. Applying and interviewing is the hardest part, so start early!
 Have a conversation – Talk with your new employer and your academic adviser or department internship coordinator about the value of the experience, your goals for the position and position details. This might be intimidating so early in your time with a company, but it is important to let them know that you are receiving credit for the internship. Take notes during these conversations with your employer and adviser, you will need these goals later on in the process.
Make it official – Request an appointment to meet with an LAS Career Services adviser through CyHire. Have your supervisor email a position description with their contact information to before the appointment. Your internship experience will fall into one of a few different categories see those options here. During this appointment you will fill out a Learning Contract, so bring the notes from your conversations with your adviser and supervisor. The Learning Contract will outline your goals and expectations for the internship credit.
Write it down – Keep a log of your experiences throughout the internship. Record tough days, aha moments and milestones you reach during your time in the position. Ask your supervisor for feedback and record that too!
Write it out – At the end of your internship or the end of the semester, you will need to write an essay explaining what you learned from the internship. This paper will need to give a full picture of the internship like what you did everyday, how it related to your course work, how you grew from the experience and if this is an area you would like to pursue. This might not be required for all internships depending on your major, so make sure you ask your adviser.
Follow-up – Meet again with your academic adviser and LAS Career Services to share your experience and make sure you have completed all of the steps to receive credit. Be sure to fill out the Student Evaluation and have your supervisor complete the Supervisor Evaluation of Intern, turn these in to LAS Career Services in 131 Carver Hall. Finally, write a thank you note to your supervisor or employer to show them how much you appreciated the experience. Here are some tips on how to write a proper thank you note!

There you go! Use these steps to make sure you are maximizing your return on your internship experience. With the LAS College you can get the experience while earning credit for your hard work!

Posted by: Sarah Curran