Q. What should I tell students who love their internships and don’t want to see them end? What are their options?

June 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Happy interns are win-win situations for students, companies, and for you. It’s a promising start for a potentially long-term professional relationship for your student. Your role is to research the situation and come up with the best game plan for everyone involved. Here are a few tips not only to assess the current relationship but to also open doors for the future:

  • Find out if your intern has any specific ideas or plans on how to continue the internship. For example, would he/she be interested in working long-distance, utilizing technology and email, to extend the internship? Is there a particular assignment that the intern would like to perform for the company? Or is it even geographically possible to continue the internship or turn it into a part-time job?
  • After you understand your intern’s position and goals, explore the company’s situation with the intern supervisor. First, you’ll want to find out if there’s another intern scheduled to fill your student’s position. Then, you’ll need to discuss the company’s plans for your student intern. Would the supervisor like to retain the intern? If so, in what capacity? Onsite? Online? Paid or unpaid? Part-time employee? Different assignment?
  • If you discover that your intern and the intern supervisor are not on the same page, and your intern needs to refocus his/her sights, you might research other internships that would be similar and appeal to your student. You could point out to your intern that he/she might actually expand his/her career future by moving on and taking another internship with a different company. New contacts will increase networking opportunities for your student.
  • Another consideration is whether or not the student will receive credit for extending the same internship. How you counsel your intern may also depend on departmental policies. For example, does the department or your school honor cooperative education credits? Does your student intern’s academic advisor think it’s wise to extend an internship or continue it as a co-op? Or would the advisor recommend that the student choose a different internship in order to gain new experience? After you thoroughly research all the above questions, you’ll be ready to help your student intern make the right decision for a successful future.

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