An internship can be a stressful yet rewarding role. Interns typically have to follow the requirements set aside by the university's internship program, as well as meet the expectations of the university supervisor.
- Beginning the Internship -- Before a college student can receive a degree, he or she will have to fulfill the tasks, responsibilities, and requirements of an internship. The internship is typically served during the last semester or the last year before graduation. Most internships are assigned by a faculty member of the particular department in which the student is obtaining a degree.
- Reviewing the Syllabus -- Interns are usually given a detailed syllabus at the beginning of the semester. This syllabus will typically list the requirements that must be met during the internship. Requirements generally cover a specific amount of service hours, daily assignments, specific projects, and a portfolio. The intern should read the syllabus carefully as soon as he or she receives it and note all of the important dates. In many cases, work will not be accepted after the due dates, so it is essential to continuously refer back to the syllabus.
- Portfolio -- While a large part of an internship involves first observing and then practicing in the area of the degree the student is pursuing, a portfolio will enable the university supervisor to keep track of a student's progress. In most cases, there will be specific assignments and projects that must be included in the portfolio. The intern will also be expected to include sample pieces of work from her internship, and she may also have to include a self-assessment form, in which she evaluates her own strengths and weaknesses. This self-assessment form is usually filled out at the beginning and again at the end of the internship. The portfolio may include the observations of the supervising employer as well.
- Supervising Employer -- The beginning of an internship is mostly observation. The supervising employer will model the position and responsibilities of the job for an extended period of time. After a couple of weeks of this basic observation, the intern will begin performing at least some of the duties, although he will only do so for a limited time at first. As time goes on, his responsibilities will grow, and by the end of the internship, he should be working most if not all of the day. The supervising employer will continue to observe the intern, giving advice and support during this time.
- University Supervisor -- While the supervising employer will have the most opportunity to observe the capabilities and behavior of the intern, the university supervisor will play an important role as well. In the beginning, the supervisor may make scheduled visits to observe the intern as she performs the daily duties of her internship. Eventually, however, the visits will more than likely be unannounced, although the supervisor may have communicated with the supervising employer in advance of these visits. The role of the university supervisor is to observe and instruct. The supervisor will remain on the job for a set period of time. Then, the supervisor will meet with the intern to discuss any observations and concerns that he or she has noticed.
- Graduation -- Towards the end of the internship, the supervising employer will be asked by the university to submit a recommendation as to the success and aptitude of the intern. The university supervisor will be the ultimate person responsible for submitting a final grade for the intern, however.
- Problems -- Interns should keep in mind that they must log a certain amount of hours during their internship. If circumstances such as illness or injury should keep them from completing these hours, they may have to extend their internship beyond the original completion date and postpone their graduation until the next semester.