These programs are designed to strengthen your academic program through experiential learning and the practical application of acquired knowledge. Co-ops and internships are experiential learning programs which provide opportunities to gain work experience prior to graduation. Set up a meeting with your academic advisor/internship coordinator to see if you could earn college credit for your co-op/internship experience.
Benefits of an Internship
- Personally: Boost your maturity and self-confidence; improve your communication and interaction skills; prepare for life after graduation; gain a greater clarity about your career.
- Academically: Integrate classroom theory with real-life experiences; understand the relevance of your course work; increase your motivation to learn; use resources that are not available on campus.
- Professionally: Explore a potential career field; develop career-related skills and abilities, including effective job search, resume writing and interviewing techniques; establish a work history; observe professional people and behavior; build a network of professional contacts; gain a competitive edge for employment or graduate school admission.
- Financially: (most co-op & internship placements are paid): Subsidize tuition costs.
A co-op is a structured educational strategy integrating classroom studies with learning through productive work experiences in a field related to a student's academic or career goals. It provides progressive experiences in integrating theory and practice. A co-op is a paid work experience in a professional setting. Students who do co-ops may work during the fall, spring, or summer terms.
Co-op Eligibility Requirements
- Student must be in good university standing
- Student must have completed sophomore-level courses
- Student must have a 2.5 minimum cumulative GPA and full-time student status
- Students must check directly with their departments for specific minimum work periods
An internship is any career-related work experience of limited duration that provides students an opportunity to gain experience before they graduate while earning credit hours. The student works in a professional setting under the supervision of at least one practicing professional. Positions may or may not be paid. Students who do internships may work during the fall, spring or summer terms.
Internship Eligibility Requirements
- Student must be in good university standing
- Student must have completed freshman-level courses
- Student must have at least a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA and full-time student status
- Student must check directly with their departments for specific minimum work periods
- Register with the office of Career Services
It is never too early to start planning for your internship. The total process, from identifying internships of interest to accepting a position will likely take several months and will require several steps. The Office of Career Services is available to assist you with any step in the process, including resume and cover letter preparation, researching internship opportunities, and practicing interviewing skills. Here is an ideal timeline to assist you with the planning process.
Three semesters before you want to begin your internship
- Define your career interests
- Brainstorm what special skills and experiences you might want to acquire through an internship
- Decide when and in what geographic location you want to work
- Prepare your resume and draft a cover letter, and edit them with a Career Services' staff member
- Make an internship appointment at the Office of Career Services
- If necessary contact an internship faculty advisor to explore your responsibilities in regard to obtaining academic credit and begin the process of registering for an academic internship
Two semesters before your internship
- Select those organizations with posted opportunities for which you might like to apply
- Consult with a Career Services' staff member and learn how to develop your own internship with a professional in your field.
- Send out cover letters and resumes
- Practice your interviewing skills - schedule a Mock Interview with Career Services
One semester before your internship
- Make sure your application is complete for each organization where you would like to intern
- Make follow-up telephone calls, faxes and/or emails
- Interview with employers and send thank you letters to those who granted you an interview
- Decide on an internship that is best for you and accept an internship offer
- Complete the online form to register your internship with the Office of Career Services
- Meet with the internship coordinator
- Resume designed, completed and approved by Internship Coordinator
- Identify possible internship sites
- Apply for and secure an internship position
- Employer and job description discussed with Internship Coordinator
- Identify a faculty advisor and with his/her assistance identify and solidify the academic component of your co-op/internship**
- Complete the Student Learning Contract
- Register for course**
- Attend the required pre-internship meeting
- Complete and submit mid-term reports and evaluations
- Complete and submit final reports and evaluations
- Complete the Internship Testimonial
- Be a good employee - whether or not you are getting paid. Do what is expected of you such as arriving on time, following through with instructions, paying attention to details, dressing neatly, etc. Remember that a successful performance may result in an excellent recommendation after graduation.
- Attend regularly - do not call in sick unless you are really sick. Do not ask for time off to complete other school assignments. In other words, organize your time wisely.
- Volunteer - for assignments or for extra work to increase your experience. Ask to sit in on meetings whenever possible.
- Ask questions - and learn as much as you can. Listen, be observant, and pay attention to the suggestions of your supervisor - even when you disagree.
- Set goals - at the beginning of the semester for your work experience with your internship supervisor. Make sure that your supervisor helps you achieve your goals throughout the internship.
- Remember - that your employer will evaluate your work and, therefore participate in assigning your final grade. Do what is expected of you and be a good intern. You are representing both the current and future students of Winston-Salem State University.