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
Plan ahead! Students must register for an academic internship course the semester before the internship takes place.
I have an internship – what do I do now?
- Provide your information and the internship info by filling out the Expression of Interest form
- Meet with the ExL coordinator to obtain the required forms for registration; review your rights and responsibilities; refer you to a faculty sponsor; and confirm you meet the initial internship requirements:
- Successful in your academic program and/or have a recommendation from a faculty member
- Eager and willing to learn in a "work" environment
- In compliance with all HCC policies and procedures, and adhere to the MA Community Colleges Student Code of Conduct
- Agree, in writing, to comply with internship site's rules and policies, work scheduled hours, adhere to confidentiality policies, and demonstrate professional behavior and appropriate dress
- Sign an Acknowledgment of Risk & Consent
- Next, your faculty sponsor will assess your readiness and confirm whether the internship will count for academic credit. You will also outline learning objectives that describe desired internship outcomes using a Learning Agreement.
- The ExL coordinator will then provide you with a Statement of Understanding, which allows you to enroll in an Academic Internship course
- Start your internship!
I don't have an internship. What do I do?
Begin searching for internships.
I have to find my own internship?
Yes. Students often ask why they're responsible for finding their own internships. Fair question; here's why:
- No one knows what you want out of an internship better than you.
- Only you can decide if an internship is the right fit for you.
- You know better than anyone the skills you would like to gain or improve upon and where you want your internship to take you.
- Finding your own internship demonstrates independence, communications skills, and assertiveness that employers look for in potential interns.
- When you are the one finding and choosing your internship, you will be satisfied with the outcome.
- Most importantly, the internship search process will provide you with skills you'll draw upon when applying for your first real job:
- Writing resumes and cover letters
- Obtaining references or letters of recommendation
- Learning how to interview successfully, developing and utilizing a network, etc.
When you search for your first professional position, no one will be helping you apply, so take advantage of the practice you'll get now!
The ExL Coordinator provides support and guidance throughout the internship search process.
Take charge of your internship search
It takes more than just submitting an application and hoping for the best to find a good internship. The most important thing to remember is to start your search early: five to six months before you want to start the internship.
- Begin with identifying your interests and goals, the skills you want to develop, and the types of work you might enjoy so you can focus your search. Ask yourself: What are the skills and experience I currently have? What do I want to learn from the experience? What type of internship would be a good match for me? When searching for internships, it's important to have a clear sense of your career goals, the skills you have to offer, and what you want to get out of an internship.
If you are unsure of your career interests, contact the Advising, Career & Transfer (ACT) Center (FR 273, 413.552.2138) to schedule an appointment with a career counselor to explore your career options.
- Answering the following questions will help you identify keywords to use in your search: Would you prefer working for a small organization or a large company? Are you interested in corporate, non-profit, government, or a specialty field? Is there a particular city or area where you want to be? What type of people and clients do you want to work with or support?
- Once you have determined your targeted organizations and the type of internship you're interested in pursuing, begin searching for specific internships.
It is recommended you begin your search with the current list of HCC's academic internships and our community partners.
There are no limits to the number of internships you can apply to, or the number of organizations to connect with. You'll be the one ensuring that your resume and cover letter is reaching the organizations you're interested, and ensuring the best match for you.
Once you've landed an internship, move to step one under "I have an internship – what do I do now?"
If you have any questions, please contact ExL Coordinator Andrea Picard at email@example.com, 413.552.2342, or stop by Marieb 231.
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.