Loyola University Chicago

Career Development Center

Student Academic Services

Internships at Loyola

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), internships can be defined as a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Interns should be given significant work to do for the organization, with minimal hours of tasks such as filing and copying. This expectation differs from a part-time hire who is paid for performing whatever tasks the employer assigns, menial or not.

Before hiring an intern, it is important to identify what specific type of work needs to be completed. This will help you better identify the type of position for which you should be hiring. All internships, including virtual internships, must clearly meet the criteria set forth by the National Association for Colleges and Employers (July 2011):

  • The internship experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience applying the knowledge gained in the classroom.
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework.
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background.
  • There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

Some experiences do NOT qualify as an internship:

  • Positions that displace a regular employee.
  • Position that are 100 percent commission-based.
  • Positions that require door-to-door canvassing, cold-calling, telemarketing, or petition gathering as the primary activity.
  •  “Independent contractor” relationships that require the intern to set up his/her own business to sell products, services and/or recruiting other individuals to set up their own business.
  • Positions in which the student is required to pay the employer for any part of the experience (e.g., fees for training).

NOTE: The list above is not exhaustive and Loyola University Chicago reserves the right to deny any internship that raises a concern with faculty or staff members.

One of the first questions that a potential employer may ask when considering whether to hire Loyola students as interns is, “What are the benefits?” Internships are a great way to bring in talented students to contribute to the organization. Interns provide additional support and increase an organization’s workforce, helping to accomplish the goals and mission of the organization. At the same time, they allow experienced professionals to share their skills and cultivate the next generation of leaders in their field.

Employers benefit from internships because they provide:

  • Enthusiastic, innovative, and dedicated workers who bring with them a fresh perspective and new ideas
  • Access to students with skills and/or knowledge
  • An opportunity for current employees to develop their supervisory skills
  • The personal satisfaction of helping students progress in their personal and career development

 Students benefit from internships because they provide opportunities to:

  • Apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real work experience
  • Find out how to prepare for a career in a certain field
  • Determine an appropriate career path
  • Build a strong resume
  • Develop a network of professional contacts for future opportunities and references
  • Learn which workplace skills they need to develop
  • Find out what to expect when making the transition to a full-time job

Ideally, the internship search begins two to three months before the interns are needed. The best starting point is to evaluate your need for an intern and to select the specific projects or tasks that need to be done. Decide who will be the supervisor of the intern and work with him/her to identify the skills and abilities that the intern will need to be a success.

An internship description is then created with all or most of these areas covered:

  • Description of your organization
  • Description of the project or tasks to be assigned to the intern
  • Preferred skills
  • Required skills
  • Learning goals/objectives
  • Work days and hours
  • Pay or stipend
  • Transportation options to work site
  • What documents are needed to apply (i.e. cover letter, resume, writing sample, unofficial transcript, media portfolio)
  • How to apply
  • Start and end date of the internship
  • Housing availability or assistance with finding lodging

It is always better to prepare a thorough internship description rather than a brief one. As submitted resumes are received, interviews can begin. Interviews can be conducted on campus, over the telephone, or at the organization's site. Please keep the applicants informed as to your time frame in making the decision to hire.

To attract the best Loyola talent, please make sure to post the position on RamblerLink.

At Loyola University Chicago, an academic internship connects the internship experience to an academic course in the student’s major or an area of interest. Students must register for an academic internship course in order to receive academic credit for an internship at Loyola.  Since enrolling in a course has implications for the student’s course load, and sometime, tuition costs, the academic internship process is driven by the student’s interest.  A student may or may not elect to receive academic credit for the internship.  If a student wants academic credit for the internship, it is up to the student to establish this through his/her academic department or the Center for Experiential Learning. There should be little difference in the experience between students who receive credit and students who do not. In most cases, an agreement form and evaluation is required for the credit-seeking student. In fact, we recommend the completion of both whether the student receives credit or not.

It is at the discretion of the student’s faculty internship coordinator to determine if an internship is credit-bearing. The faculty coordinator also will give the student his/her final grade. Students can be paid while still receiving credit. (see more details concerning compensation in the next question)

Private sector employers need to be familiar with the United States Department of Labor guidelines for legally offering unpaid internships, as most opportunities are actually employment that requires payment. A fact sheet produced by the United States Department of Labor provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Loyola University Chicago supports the National Society for Experiential Education’s position regarding paid and unpaid internships:

... to favor paid work positions for students whenever pay can be arranged in work environments that have the potential for meeting the student's goals …Credit is for what students learn; pay is for what they provide to the field sponsor. The two are neither mutually exclusive nor conflicting … (National Society for Experiential Education, 2011)

If you are open to a student receiving academic credit for your internship position and if the student chooses to pursue academic credit the opportunity, the timing of your position recruitment vis-à-vis Loyola University Chicago’s academic calendar becomes important. In order to be successful securing a student that is looking to complete an internship for academic credit, it is important to post your position with RamblerLink at an appropriate time. Many students will begin their academic internship search around class registration time, which can be three to five months before the start of the semester. You can find the exact registration dates (along with breaks and exams) on the Academic Calendars and Schedules website.

A job description helps students to learn about your organization and the available opportunity. There are several sections to a job description. Here are sample sections and tips for completing the sections.

Job Title
Examples: Marketing Intern, Research Intern, or Museum Acquisitions Intern

Position Type
You will likely want to select Internship – Paid or Internship - Unpaid

Internship Learning Goals
Describe the skills or knowledge learned that will be transferrable to other employment settings.  How will the internship experience relate to the professional goals of the intern?

Job Description
Describe your organization’s mission and what your organization does (sometimes you can copy from your website).  You might mention who will supervise the intern. This is your chance to get the student excited about working with your organization.  Describe projects or other tasks which the intern will do.

Examples:

  • Research trends in healthcare
  • Assist other staff with presentations for clients
  • Participate in team meetings and brainstorming sessions

Job Function
What area(s) should the student be studying and/or have knowledge in to perform the internship?

Number of Openings
Please indicate how many positions you have available for this specific job

Qualifications
Specific knowledge, skills, and qualities expected/desired

Examples:

  • Excellent oral, written, and communication/presentation skills
  • An interest in ________ (fill in any job-related interests)
  • Preferred GPA, academic major, degree
  • Language skills

Hours per week/Days/Times
(morning, afternoon, evening)

Internship Duration
(Loyola’s academic semester is 15-weeks)

Compensation Details
Examples: Paid (hourly rate), unpaid, stipend, other

Resume Receipt
How would you like applications to get to you?
Email: Sends you an email when a student applies with application materials
Accumulate online: Applications will be stored online and you can download them from Ramblerlink.
Other (enter below): Indicate how you would like students to submit applications.

For frequently asked questions regarding academic internships, visit the Center for Experiential Learning