By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach
First, ask the company if it participates in an internship credit program towards college graduation. Many companies list that information in their internship postings. An internship with credit towards graduation combines academic coursework with relevant work experience. If an internship is clerical or mechanical, you may not be able to get college credit for it. Some colleges don’t give credits for any internships or only to juniors and seniors. Important points to explore if you want college credit include:
- Check with your professor or department chair to find out if your college accepts academic credit. An internship for college credit requires cooperation between the company and an academic sponsor to oversee the internship, ensuring that the internship experience meets academic standards.
- Find out how many total hours are required for how many credits. Credits can range from 3 credits to as many as 12, depending on how many hours you work at your internship. The amount of knowledge learned may also affect the number of credits.
- Do the paperwork before you begin your internship. You’ll probably have to fill out an application for college credit with both your company and your academic sponsor. You may be asked to keep a journal and write a paper at the end of the internship about what you learned.
- Ask if your college tuition covers the internship credits. Some schools require that students pay per credit hour for a summer internship while others roll the cost into the regular fall college tuition. Internships that qualify for college credit are often unpaid, so make sure you find out if your tuition covers the credits or if it’s your financial responsibility.
- Learn how many internship credits your college or department will accept in your college career. Some schools or majors limit the number of internship credits to ensure that you leave room for all the required academic courses. Take your official internship credits at a company that will do the most to advance your career goals and strengthen your resume.