Internship & Externship Information
Virginia Wesleyan offers both externship and internship experiences to provide students opportunities to obtain practical knowledge in the world beyond the campus. These experiences may help students translate classroom theory into practice, refine their knowledge and skills, contribute to an organization on a professional level, test career possibilities, and enhance their marketability for future employment and/or graduate studies.
Career Services provides individual assistance to students seeking internships. Contact the office for an appointment to discuss your interests with a staff member. The Career Resource Room is available to you anytime during office hours to review internship listings, conduct research and prepare application materials. Be sure to check the current Internship Listings on our website.
Types of Internships
Credit-bearing internships offer structured positions while also providing credit through the academic major. The objectives of the internship are carefully delineated in a learning objective to provide a meaningful experience that also meets academic standards set by the major. The required number of site hours is determined by the academic department and the internship site. Usually there is a related project or paper assignment. Credit-bearing internships are often restricted to junior or senior level status. Academic departments vary in their requirements for approving credit for internships; therefore, consulting your faculty advisor before setting up internship plans is crucial.
Independent internships offer relevant and often structured experience to students not seeking academic credit. Many experiences offered for academic credit are also available to students seeking an independent internship. It is important to seek an internship with duties and responsibilities carefully outlined to provide a well-rounded experience. Depending on employers' needs at a given time, internships may be available each semester and during the summer. Internships may be paid or non-paid.
Searching for an internship requires advance and realistic planning. In highly selective or prestigious organizations, recruitment and selection of interns may occur as early as three to nine months before the actual experience. The Career Services staff will guide you through the process of finding an internship, but ultimately it is your responsibility to conduct research, contact the employe, and prepare application materials.
- Determine what you want to achieve in an internship
- Focus on your strengths (skills, courses completed, past experiences)
- Know your shortcomings
- Identify possible contributions you can make
- Read annual reports, journals and newspapers; talk with professionals in the field; ask former interns; seek advice from faculty and Career Services staff
- Investigate on the Internet - Investigate the mission, goals and objectives of potential internship sites
- Learn about the nature of the work to be performed and the required time commitment
- Gain information on who will provide supervision and how you will be evaluated
- Investigate the potential for wages or a stipend, if required for considering an internship
Contact With The Employer
- Develop an outline and practice what you want to say to the employer, for a professional presentation in the initial call or an interview
- Wear neat, professional attire to the interview as you would to a job interview for a career position
- Extend common courtesies such as a handshake, eye contact and "thank you"
- Have a list of prepared questions to ask the employer
- Demonstrate optimism and a willingness to learn
- Be sincere and honest
- Send a personalized thank you letter within 48 hours of each interview
Prepare Application Materials
- Resumes and cover letters are usually required
- Transcripts, recommendations, writing samples and/or a statement of purpose may be requested
- Ensure that all paperwork is complete and professional: neat, error-free, honest, follows provided instructions
- Be patient, but persistent
- Don’t settle for the first offer if it doesn’t meet your needs
- Consider the opportunity for networking to make contacts to help in your career plans
- Select an internship where you will learn new skills, refine developed skills and be challenged and energized.
Resources available in the Career Services Center, Batten Center, Suite 220I
Click on Internship Listings for a list of current internship opportunities.
What is an externship?
An externship is a short-term opportunity for college students to gain exposure to and limited experience in a career field of interest.
How does it work?
Students are placed with a professional working in a career related to their interests for approximately 30 hours over a one- to two-week period. An externship can be completed as a Winter Session course (thirty-hour minimum and journal-writing requirement for students receiving credit), during Spring Break or mid-May.
What does an extern do?
The externship activities are flexible and are mutually agreed upon by the student and the employer sponsor. The student may rotate among departments to gain a broad view of the organization or spend time with just one person to gain a more in-depth perspective. Activities may include, but are not limited to, touring the organization, informational interviewing of employees from various departments, attending meetings and other functions, assisting in implementing projects (conducting research, editing documents, preparing reports or spreadsheets) and performing general office duties.
What types of experiences are available?
Students and employer sponsors in any career field may participate. Popular career fields of interest among students include accounting, advertising, banking, broadcasting, computer technology, education, export/import, health care, journalism, laboratory research, law enforcement, law, marketing, museums, probation/parole, public relations, recreation/leisure and social services.
What are the benefits to the students?
Students gain a realistic perspective of a career field, put their classroom knowledge and skills to work in a professional setting and network with professionals.
What are the benefits to the employers?
Employer sponsors have the chance to help students with career choices, serve as mentors and possibly pre-screen future employees and/or interns.