What is an internship?

The Career Center defines an internship as a carefully monitored work experience in which students have intentional personal and career-related learning goals. The student reflects on learning throughout the internship experience. Characteristics include:

  1. A defined duration ranging from several weeks to 3 years or more, during which the intern is closely mentored and supervised. It is recommended that student and supervisor set new goals quarterly or on another regular schedule.
  2. May be part-time, full-time, paid or unpaid. It is recommended that unpaid interns do not work more than 10-15 hours per week and these internships must meet the Department of Labor criteria.
  3. The internship should have 3-4 learning objectives.
  4. Internships may be part of an educational program, during which the work is carefully monitored and evaluated for academic credit awarded by DePaul University. Academic internships must be approved in advance. Review the academic internship standards.
  5. The employer provides resources to support the intern’s learning objectives.
Crafting an Internship Description: Students are excited to work hard and create results, but also want an internship that will aid their long-term professional development. Describe your organization and internship position with as much detail as possible. View a sample internship posting.

University Internship Program

DePaul invites you to hire some of its best and brightest students. Internships enable you to share in the educational process of students, who will work from 10 weeks to three years at your organization. The length of work is determined by your needs.

Paid vs Unpaid?

What is the value of paying your interns?

  1. Employ interns who are more focused: Paying your interns enables them to more fully focus on the job at hand without the worry of meeting financial obligations like bills.
  2. Attract more competitive and diverse candidates: Our experience shows that paid internships result in a larger, more diverse applicant pool.
  3. Receive a measurable return on investment: By estimating and sharing the dollar value an intern contributes to your organization, you can make a case for support with departmental managers.

Intern or temp?

  1. Cost savings: Paying your interns a reasonable hourly wage can be less costly than paying a contractor or temporary help.
  2. Strategic investment: The time spent training your intern represents an investment in a long-term employee versus paying a contractor who may leave the company upon the completion of an assignment.

Tips for Creating a Successful Internship Experience

As an employer, your role as a mentor is an important part of offering experiential education to DePaul University students. The following tips can help your company build or enhance a successful internship program.

  1. Introduce Your Intern:
    Provide a good introduction to the organization, quirks of the culture, and important people or resources to be aware of. You may also consider arranging an informational interview for your intern with fellow colleagues to help him or her prepare for a future career within the industry.
  2. Communicate:
    Communicate often with your intern, whether it’s to provide feedback, offer training, or to check in on the intern’s progress. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can get a sense of how quickly interns complete projects, and help the intern receive feedback for the quality of her work.
  3. Integrate Your Intern:
    Allowing your intern to gain a greater understanding of your organization can help your intern generate new ideas and have a more rewarding internship. Consider bringing your intern to meetings, conferences, trainings and networking events with you.
  4. Delegate Projects for Downtime:
    When delegating projects to your intern, consider mixing short-term and long-term projects. If interns finish tasks early, they will have a long-term project on which they can take the initiative to continue.