Explore the information below to learn more about academic internships at HCC.
An academic internship combines classroom learning with real-world experience in a professional setting. You will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience, and build a professional network in your field of study.
Academic internships are:
- Overseen by both a faculty member and an employee of an organization
- Usually the length of an academic semester
- Part‐time or full‐time
- Paid or unpaid
- Use the knowledge you've gained in the classroom in real-life situations
- Understand the relevance and importance of your coursework
- Receive guidance and feedback on your skills and capabilities
- Develop technical and professional communication skills
- Access resources that aren't available on campus
- Prepare for transfer to a four-year college or university
- Develop desirable work habits and attitudes
- Create a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references
- Apply critical thinking, research, and problem-solving skills
- Work with diverse populations
- Increase your marketability
- Understand your career goals more clearly
- Develop a greater awareness of yourself, others, and social responsibility
- Boost your confidence
- Improve life skills
Additionally, you will...
- Learn how to use your academic skills in the work world
- Gain valuable experience (Employers look for candidates with real-world experience!)
- Develop soft skills relevant to your career goals according to the National Association of Colleges & Employers' Career Readiness Competencies
- Launch your career
A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges & Employers found that 63% of college students who completed an academic internship graduated with at least one job offer!
Academic internship requirements:
- Success in your academic program for at least two semesters (GPA requirements may vary depending on your academic major; see Academic Internship Course Offerings) and/or a faculty recommendation
- Eagerness and a desire to learn from a combination of work and academics
- Willingness to adhere to the MA Community Colleges Student Code of Conduct
- Agree in writing to follow the employer's rules and policies; to work your scheduled hours; and to demonstrate appropriate behavior, appropriate dress, and confidentiality as required
- A signed Acknowledgment of Risk & Consent form
You must begin the application process the semester before you want to do your internship in order to take advantage of all the resources that are available to you. Starting early will help you balance the time required to search for, apply to, and determine which internship is the best fit!
- Apply: Complete an Expression of Interest form. You will then be contacted by ExL Coordinator Andrea Picard, who will give you the date for your program's Academic Internship Orientation.
- Attend Orientation: This is when you'll learn more, and decide whether an academic internship is right for you. You'll learn which employers and organizations have sponsored HCC students in the past; your rights and responsibilities as an academic intern; the role of your faculty sponsor; how to prepare; and more!
- Register: The ExL Coordinator will provide you with a Statement of Understanding which will confirm your agreement to the conditions and responsibilities, and allows you to register for an academic internship.
- Meet your faculty sponsor: During your first meeting, your faculty sponsor will offer advice about your goals, and provide possible leads on internship opportunities.
- Begin your search: The ExL Coordinator will help you develop a plan to search and assess internship opportunities. Your plan will include: a great resume and cover letter; appropriate follow-up strategies; and good record-keeping. (This is great practice for after graduation when you're looking for a job!)
Once you've landed an internship:
- Set goals: Schedule a second meeting with your faculty sponsor. Together, you'll draft goals and sign a Learning Agreement. The Learning Agreement outlines your responsibilities, as well as those of your faculty sponsor and site supervisor.
- Start your internship!
Who is the Experiential Learning Coordinator?
Am I required to complete an academic internship?
Some academic majors do have a required internship component. If your program does not, you still have the option to participate, but there are factors to consider. To find out if an internship is right for you, please contact the ExL coordinator.
How do I find academic internship opportunities?
The most effective internship searches utilize a variety of different search strategies. Together with the ExL coordinator, you will develop a plan to search for and assess possible internships. Your faculty sponsor may also have leads and resources for you to consider.
When should I start searching for an academic internship?
You must begin the process the semester before you want to begin your internship. Start early and seek out help from various resources. Your plan should include a great resume and cover letter, appropriate follow-up strategies, and good record-keeping. Be prepared, open-minded, flexible, and professional.
What if I know where I want to do my internship?
All academic internship sites must be approved by the Experiential Learning program. Please contact the ExL coordinator for more information.
Can I still get an internship if I have no experience?
Organizations value skills developed through academic work, volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, and other involvements. Not all of these skills are job-specific; some are general, such as communication skills and analytical skills, and can transfer to different settings. Many types of student jobs can demonstrate to organizations that you have been a successful employee. Obtaining an internship is another great way to bridge this gap.
Do I have to pay for an internship?
Yes. As with any credit-bearing course, you register and pay tuition for an academic internship. If you are planning on doing your internship over the summer, you must contact Financial Aid to discuss summer tuition and whether your financial aid will cover your tuition costs.
Am I allowed to take classes while doing an internship?
Students are able to schedule an internship course with other courses up to 18 credits per term. Please seek advice from your faculty sponsor or the ExL coordinator to determine how this may impact your internship.
How many hours will I be expected to work at my internship site?
The number of required field hours will depend on the number of academic credits earned:
|# of credits||Total hours||Hours per week|
For creative writing internships, students are expected to spend six hours per week per credit on work stipulated in the project proposal:
|# of credits||Hours per week|
Please contact Professor Dave Champoux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details regarding creative writing internships.
What if there's a school holiday or a snow day?
As a student intern, you are following the organization's schedule. Therefore school holidays, vacations, snow days, etc. will not apply to you unless your organization is also closed for that day.
What happens if the experience hasn't turned out to be what I expected?
Every experience is unique, so it depends on your specific situation. The ExL coordinator and your faculty sponsor can advise you through any difficulties you may experience. The sooner you connect with either of them, the better they will be able to assist you.
What happens if I get fired from my internship?
Be proactive and professional at all times to prevent that from happening. If you are fired, depending on the reasons for termination, you may or may not have the opportunity to re-do your internship. Please schedule a meeting to discuss options with the ExL coordinator immediately.
Can I work extra hours each week and finish early?
No. Your experience must match the semester term dates as closely as possible.
What happens if I get injured at the internship site?
Inform your site supervisor right away so they can assess the situation and assist you in receiving proper medical attention. You or your site supervisor should contact the ExL coordinator as soon as possible.
What if I decide to quit my internship?
Before notifying your site supervisor, contact the ExL coordinator and/or your faculty sponsor as soon as possible to discuss your options.