Posted tagged ‘college credit’

Q. When is it appropriate to start networking outside my department?

May 28, 2010

A. The short answer is when your intern supervisor or department head says so. The long answer gives you more leeway to build your network on your own timetable and in your own style. Here are some points to ponder:

  1. After your first week has successfully passed, ask your intern supervisor about the best way to meet people in other departments. Explain that you’d like to have a better understanding of how the business works as a whole. In response the intern supervisor may escort you around to the other departments, introducing you to various members, who might offer to discuss their work with you.
  2. When you’re sure that your department head likes your work, follow up by asking him/her if it’s permissible to visit other departments to learn what they do, especially departments that interface with yours. Then, the department head may take you to other departments and ask them to spend some time with you, so you can learn more about the operation.
  3. If your department holds daily or weekly meetings, ask if you can attend. Or if your department head and intern supervisor belong to professional meetings that welcome students, ask if you can go to a meeting with them. Be prepared to pay for lunch though most department heads or intern supervisors will pick up the tab. Professional meetings are great places to network for future internships.
  4. Another way to stimulate networking outside of your department is to develop a school assignment that requires you to interview employees in different departments. If you’re earning academic credit, you may indeed have to produce a paper researching some aspect of the company. If you’re not getting credit, you may still have an upcoming course that would benefit from a report based on the company. Professionals are usually glad to help students because they remember their own student days and class assignments.
  5. Other places to network informally outside of your department are at coffee breaks, in the cafeteria or fitness center, and at social events. Thanks to most companies issuing ID badges with employee names and departments, you can quickly scan ID badges and learn enough to start up a conversation. Some interns make it a practice to sit at different lunch tables every day in order to meet more co-workers. Be sure to attend any social events at your internship, getting to know as many people as possible. And, you can also volunteer for one of the non-profit causes sponsored by your company. You may find yourself dishing out food in a soup kitchen beside the company president. Now that’s networking!

Q. How do I get college credit for my internship?

May 5, 2010

A. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.