Internships FAQ

Q: What is an internship?

A: An internship is a planned, short-term learning experience that allows students to take the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and apply them in a professional work setting. Internships offer students the opportunity to learn from professionals and explore potential career options in a wide-variety of disciplines and industries. An internship should be recognized as a professional development opportunity where the student is directly supervised and mentored by a staff member at the organization. Interns are given responsibilities beyond basic administrative or clerical tasks, rather focusing on more project-based experiences.

Q: How does an internship differ from a part-time job?

A: An internship differs from a job in that a job has no obligation to provide learning opportunities. As an employee of a company, you are expected to perform tasks for monetary compensation, often within a limited scope of the company’s mission. An employer has no obligation to expose employees to other departments, key leaders within the company, or any other tasks that go beyond the written job description. Job tasks are completed for the benefit of the company. Internships tasks are completed for the benefit of the intern.

Employers that partner with Barrett, The Honors College agree to follow clear guidelines that will permit students to be exposed to a variety of learning opportunities that will benefit the student’s academic career. Employers in the Internship Program understand that this is intended to be a learning experience for  students, and internships are designed accordingly.

Q: Are internships paid?

A: The expectation is that for-profit or private companies will be able to provide financial compensation for an intern, based on the criteria outlined by the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act pertaining to internships. Government and non-profit agencies are not held to FLSA requirements, but are still expected by Barrett, The Honors College to provide a learning experience that primarily benefits the intern; some of these opportunities may, however, be paid.  Care is taken to ensure that if an internship is unpaid, it falls clearly within the legal guidelines that make it a learning experience and not a job.  Employers disclose the amount of compensation to Barrett, The Honors College, but the amount is at the employer’s discretion and the school does not have a minimum pay scale.

Q: Do I have to be a junior or senior to apply for an internship?

A: No! Students within Barrett, The Honors College can participate in an internship at any point during their college career.  Last year, 47% of Barrett students interning were freshmen or sophomores. If you are hoping to receive a job offer, the ideal time for an internship is the summer before your senior year.

Q: When should I apply for an internship?

  • SUMMER INTERNSHIPS: Most large organizations and government agencies begin recruiting students in September and October of the year before, so be prepared to apply early in the year! Smaller organizations usually recruit interns in February and March of the same year.
  • FALL INTERNSHIPS: Most organizations recruit interns between April and August.
  • SPRING INTERNSHIPS: Most organizations recruit between October and December.

Q: How can I get feedback on my résumé or prepare for an interview?

A: Check out our Events page for workshop dates and times. Or look at our resources from University Career Services. Contact University Career Services to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor.