Internships now help fulfill grad requirements
Ben Wexler-Waite ’14 (left) spent the summer interning for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
As of the 2011-2012 academic year, students on the Hill will have the opportunity to receive academic credit for internships in addition to the usual transcript notation. Upon authorization from the Career Center, a student can receive one credit per internship for up to a maximum of three internship-related credits during his or her college career.
The Career Center decided to implement this policy after four to six months of extensive research and in response to demand from the student body and employers. The research was comprised of a student survey, a peer institution survey and an employer survey. The peer institution survey of roughly 30 similar colleges demonstrated that this policy was very common. Colby was in fact “in the minority of schools not offering academic credit for internships,” Career Center Assistant Director Leslie Kingsley said. The employer survey showed that “employers actually prefer if you get credit for an internship because they believe you’ll have more of a vested interest in the experience,” Associate Director of Employer Relations Erica Humphrey said. In addition, many employers won’t hire students who they cannot give academic credit to because of legal reasons.
Before starting an internship, students must complete an online application form, which includes writing a detailed proposal addressing the responsibilities and objectives of the internship. The student must also secure a faculty sponsor to approve the proposal and to evaluate the student’s work for potential credit.
During the internship, the student must maintain a daily journal documenting the experience and keep a log of the hours worked. A minimum of 100 hours qualifies a student for the one academic credit. At the end of the internship, the student must submit this journal and the final project to the faculty sponsor for approval. The faculty sponsor also receives an evaluation from the on-site supervisor of the internship verifying the hours worked and assessing the student’s work ethic. The faculty sponsor then evaluates the material and decides whether the internship qualifies for credit.
“The daily journal and final project may make the internship more introspective, making you more aware of just how much you’re getting out of the experience,” Brooke Kent ’14 said.
It is unclear if students will begin to take fewer classes because of this new policy, though many are glad to receive greater employment opportunities and academic recognition for their efforts. “It’s great that students can now receive academic credit for a proactive experience that prepares them for their future,” Caitlin Vorlicek ’14 said. Vorlicek interned at HarbourVest Partners, a private equity investment management fund, and hopes to receive academic credit for her work in the future.
Ben Wexler-Waite ’14, who interned for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, agreed with this sentiment. “This policy is an important improvement because it makes it possible for students to pursue their career interests while fulfilling their graduation requirements.”