Internship Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an internship?

An internship is a supervised work experience that enhances a student’s academic and/or career skills. It gives you a chance to test out skills, abilities and interest in the “real world” of work and at the same time develop new skills and competencies. Ideally, an internship gives you practical experience in a potential career field.

2. Why is an internship important?

Internships offer you on-the-job experience—the number one factor employers consider when hiring employees. But equally important are the networking skills you’ll develop. Internships allow you to make professional contacts with people who may help you find a career position.

3. When do internships take place?

Internships are typically part-time during the school year and last one or two semesters. They can be arranged around your academic schedule. They may be full-time in the summer. Scheduling arrangements should be made between you, the internship organization and your faculty advisor or internship coordinator.

4. Do I get paid for my internship?

It varies depending on the industry and company some internships are unpaid; however, many pay regular hourly wages or offer a stipend. Some organizations require that unpaid interns seek academic credit. Questions regarding academic credit should be addressed directly to your academic department.

5. Do you have to be a junior or a senior to have an internship?

While many internships are advertised for juniors and seniors, opportunities exist for any student who has the desire and determination to take advantage of them.

6. What are the guidelines for an internship for academic credit?

You need to arrange credit with your department or intern­ship coordinator, or contact University Career Center staff for assistance.

7. When should I begin planning for an internship?

Now! It’s best to start your planning at least one semester in advance to allow time for researching career fields and intern­ship sites, preparing a resume and cover letter, and arranging credit.

8. What important steps should I take before seeking an internship?

Before developing an internship, be sure you don’t overlook some important steps that will lay the foundation for a positive experience. Have you considered what skills and strengths you have to offer an organization and what type of career field or internship is of interest to you?

9. How do I develop an internship opportunity?

TSU students generally find internships through one of several ways:

  • University Career Center

Register for Tiger Track to have access to internship listings and to take advantage of career fairs throughout the spring and fall semesters.

  • Faculty/Departmental Referral

Find out what opportunities are known in your department.

  • Self-developed

You can develop your own leads on internship opportuni­ties via networking, personal contacts, or direct application to organizations of interest. Research these organizations first on the Web or in the Career Development Center Lab.

10. How do I apply for an internship?

For most internships you will need to submit a cover letter, resume, and complete an application form. Also, be prepared for an internship interview! Interviews may be required and can often be your best chance to distinguish yourself from the masses of other applicants. Research! You can make your best impression by being prepared—know your strengths and weaknesses, know as much as possible about your prospec­tive employer, and know what you want. For more tips on resumes, cover letters, and interviewing, look through our online resources; visit us for personal Career Assistance.


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Career Development Center