Q. How can I assess a student’s performance in order to offer tips on improvement?

June 15, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in Assessing student performance | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. You have several options. If you’re already receiving a daily or weekly journal report from the intern, you can assess your student’s performance by reviewing that document. However, if your center, like many others, only requires an end-of-internship report, then you might want to initiate an email tracking system to ensure that you are able to assess a student’s performance and offer tips on improvement in a timely manner. Here are a few other ways in which career centers assess performance: 

  • Compare the student’s reports, whether online or in a journal, with the written description of the internship provided by the company. The two should be fairly close matches. If you note discrepancies, you might have to sort out the problems or find out if the company expectations have changed.
  • Set up a phone appointment with the internship manager at your student’s intern site and ask him/her to rate your student’s performance. Inquire as to how your student could add more value to the company. Then, communicate your findings to your student.
  • Plan an on-site visit if geographically possible. Your visit demonstrates your sincere interest in your student’s success and in the company’s satisfaction with the intern. Arrange a meeting with the student and manager, so you can evaluate their interactions. If you find dissatisfaction on either side, you may be able to decide if it is based on personal conflict rather than professional issues.
  • Develop a brief survey based on performance questions and send appropriate versions to both the student and the intern supervisor. Review the answers to discover any performance issues and follow up with helpful tips to the respondents. A survey can be a comfortable, non-threatening way to reveal problems, avoiding face-to-face confrontation.

Q. What should I do about a student who says he/she is bored and wants to change internships?

June 9, 2010 at 10:15 am | Posted in Intern Support | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. First, you need to find out why your student is “bored.” It may be as simple as “having a bad day.” Then explore the following options to resolve the problem:

  • Contact the student’s intern supervisor to find out how the student is doing at the internship. If he/she is failing to perform the assignments, “bored” may mean the student finds the assignments too difficult and is using boredom as an excuse for feeling inadequate. You may be able to arrange additional help for your intern.
  • If the student is breezing through with high praise at the internship, “bored” may mean that the internship is too easy. You could suggest that the intern ask for more challenging assignments to eliminate the boredom.
  • Explore the possibility with your “bored” student that he/she may enjoy the internship duties but may not like the co-workers or the department. If that’s the case, you may have to counsel your intern on how to adjust to working with different kinds of people and resolve his/her negative feelings. If that doesn’t work, you could intercede and ask the intern supervisor if your intern could be transferred to a different department.
  • If you discover that your intern actually is “bored” because he/she strongly dislikes the company itself, which could be due to policies, products, or philosophies, then you might have to help your student find another internship.
  • It would be wise not to share with the company that your intern was “bored” or in reality disliked the company. Instead, you may be able to diplomatically say it wasn’t a good fit. You’ll probably find the company will be relieved since it probably sensed the intern was unhappy.

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