Organizing a Fall Internship and Fellowship Open House

September 12, 2011 at 11:34 am | Posted in Advising interns | Leave a comment
Tags: ,
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Students are coming to your office in droves by now since many schools have already started fall classes.  You only have so many hours a day to answer a wide range of questions about internships, so it might be time to plan a Fall Internship and Fellowship Open House, which allows you to handle questions, allay concerns, and dispel rumors all at one time. Here are some tips to help you organize a successful event:

  • Attendance:  Invite students ranging from freshmen to graduate students and consider holding both a day session and an evening session to accommodate varying student schedules. Contact speakers and advertise the Open House on campus, using online services, faculty and student endorsements, student newspaper and fliers. Request students to sign up in advance, so you’ll know how to plan for space and light refreshments. Give students the opportunity to submit resumes in advance with the understanding that their resumes will be critiqued and then returned at the Open House.
  • Content:  Design your program in two parts—a general session that addresses issues relevant to all students followed by round-table discussions focusing on specific interest areas. The general session might feature several summer interns from different disciplines relating their own experiences as well as an intern supervisor from a company explaining what he/she is looking for in an intern and how internships can lead to jobs. You could cite colleagues on what fields are growing. According to Martin Kral, career services director at Western Illinois University, engineering and health care are “hot” fields.
    In addition, Kral said supply chain management, accounting, finance, speech pathology, special education and bilingual education have promising futures.
  • Round-table discussions:  Invite students to sign up for different small groups, which could be divided by major, type of internship (virtual, year-round, paid or unpaid, etc.),  experience or academic level, or geographical interests (global internships). Select former interns who have related experiences to act as moderators for each round-table discussion. You also might want to include a Career Center staff member to help guide the discussion. Provide hand-outs that are relevant to each topic, ensuring that all students receive accurate information, dispelling misconceptions.
  • Mock interviews and resume critiques:  Hold mock interviews in a separate session, offering several different interview styles. While some students might volunteer to participate, remember that other students would be uncomfortable. You might have a video of mock interviews that students could take home to review in the privacy of their rooms. Your own Career Center interns could handle the resume critiques or you might enlist some alumni to help, so you won’t be overwhelmed with a high volume of resumes. Take advantage of the opportunity to give the students samples of effective resumes, so they can learn how to improve their own.
  • Application process:  Direct students to your own Career Center Web site, where you’ll list all internships with deadlines and requirements as well as sample resumes and cover letters. Urge students to apply for numerous internships. Amber Ferguson, an intern at College Lifestyles, applied for 22 internships and only heard back from five.  Let students know the upcoming dates of internship recruitment fairs on campus. Suggest students browse through to see the wide range of internships and sign up for LinkedIn. Some universities offer mentorships, where experienced interns work with prospective interns.

Directing students to fall virtual internships

September 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Advising interns, Finding internships | Leave a comment
Tags: ,
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Many students are feeling the economic crunch and are working part-time to cover college costs. They worry about how they’ll be able to take fall internships with such a busy schedule. Other students, especially seniors, are concerned over getting a job upon graduation and want to take more internships this fall to add value to their academic degrees.  There are also students at rural schools located far from many businesses, who want internships.  The answer for all of them?

  • Virtual internships:  Virtual internships, which can be undertaken from anywhere with a broadband Internet connection, enable students to sample different fields while still going to classes and working. The most common virtual internships are in information technology, software development, research, sales, marketing, blogging, and social media. Companies want self-reliant, self-starters who are comfortable with web conferences, emails, and phone calls.
  • Questions students should ask:  How much mentoring and feedback will I receive? Who is my key point of contact and how often do we make contact? What is the type of work and what are the expectations? Will I receive payment or college credit?  Will I get a letter of reference? How many hours a week are involved and for how long a period? Could I view the work of former virtual interns? You might want to direct students to read Eye of the Intern blog (July 13) on to learn about the virtual internship experience of Jacinda Green, an incoming senior at University of Alabama.
  • Pros and cons:  The positive benefits usually outweigh the negatives. Students can work remotely at their own pace at any location, ranging from dorm room, to home, to local coffee shop. If the project poses too many challenges, they can seek help on campus in figuring out the problem. They don’t have to worry about transportation costs or wardrobe expenses. The downside of virtual internships is that student interns rarely meet their boss or colleagues, reducing networking opportunities. However, since more and more full-time employees or consultants work remotely, a successful virtual internship experience might be an excellent way to illustrate the ability to work independently.
  • Growing volume of opportunities:  If you go to, click on Internships search, type in Marketing, and check Virtual, you’ll find over 2,000 virtual marketing internships. Here are 2 examples: is looking for a qualified intern to join our marketing/advertising team. Our marketing department produces quality work for our company based out of the New York/New Jersey area, and seeks an intern who can participate in various stages of print and online marketing campaigns. Unpaid but with college credit. As a 1stGiG marketing intern, you will have the opportunity to create a customized marketing plan for your campus, while developing crucial leadership skills in an energetic and entrepreneurial environment. You will have the freedom to develop your own marketing plan, with support from! Part time and paid. This is just a tiny sample of what’s available in the booming field of virtual internships.

Finding resources to support fall internship requests

August 25, 2011 at 7:49 am | Posted in Intern Support | Leave a comment

Susan Sandberg

Memories of summer vacations are fading fast as your campus springs to life again. Your office may be one of the first stops for returning students who are anxious about obtaining the perfect fall internship. Over the summer has built its internship offerings to nearly 47,000 postings from over 22,000 companies in 1,800 cities. By directing your students to these listings, you’ll be able to help them better understand the broad scope of the internship marketplace. For support in managing your growing volume of internship requests, consider these other resources:

  • Community support:  An anonymous donor who wanted to improve the Baltimore community by having students work in area nonprofits donated $1.25 million to fund the new Johns Hopkins Community Impact Internships program run by the university’s Center for Social Concern. The student program paired 25 students with 25 Baltimore nonprofit, community-based organizations. Each student received a $5,000 stipend. At the end of this summer, the inaugural program had proved successful. You might be able to encourage similar community support in your own city.
  • Professional support:  Nathan Shelby of the Jackson-based law firm Rainey, Kizer, Reviere and Bell was recognized for his leadership efforts this summer during the inaugural year of the Law Student Judicial Internship Program. He with the help of colleagues placed 44 law students under the supervision of 43 judges across the state of Tennessee. Shelby is the chairman of the Membership & Law School Outreach Committee and the Judicial Internship Program.
  • Alumni support:  Ottawa developer Wes Nicol has donated $1 million to Carleton University to help support business-minded students to develop as entrepreneurs. The donations will create the Nicol Entrepreneurial Institute which will oversee paid internships and be open to undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties. Lawyer and businessman Nicol, a 1954 Carleton graduate, said he hopes the institute will reward hard work and creativity. It’s a good time to check with your alumni office on campus about potential alumni gifts to support internships.
  • University support:  Area business owners have the opportunity to participate this fall in a new internship program that will match University of Houston-Victoria business students with employers in their chosen major. The School of Business Administration is partnering with the university’s Career Services Office to administer the venture. Career Services has placed hundreds of UHV students in local jobs, but this is the university’s first paid internship program. Full-time and part-time internships may take place throughout the year, but most are expected to last for one semester.
  • Document support:  Students need resumes, cover letters, and references to apply for internships. As a busy educator, you could receive document support from programs, such as QuickBuild Cover Letter or resume samples as well as informative hand-outs to educate your students about internship responsibilities. To learn more about these resources, go to and review Educator Quick Guide, Useful Sample Documents, and Premium Educator Resources for more help.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.