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General Internship Information and Definitions
Usually a major/career related work experience that occurs over a single semester or a summer. The purpose of these experiences is to help students understand the "real world" applications of their academic studies. Internships can be paid or unpaid, can occur on a part-time basis such as 10-20 hours a week, or be full-time. Typically, what denotes an "internship" is that academic credit is involved for the experience although most majors of study at UW do not require the completion of an academic internship to graduate. Even though this is the case, many professors and staff encourage students to consider an internship for the learning and work experience. Academic credit may be awarded at the discretion of students' academic department. At the present time, UW does not have a system in place to 'recognize' on an academic transcript, internships for non-credit.
Many opportunities are available during summer, fall, or spring semester; not all are available locally. If interested in fall or spring opportunities and needing to leave Laramie, students will want to really consider seeking academic credit for the experience if expecting to keep their "active student" status with regard to insurance, scholarships, loans, etc.
Students can start seeking internship opportunities early in their college career, even as early as their freshman year, but typically during their sophomore and/or junior year. Internships can be completed through the senior year and often into graduate school. Many companies offer internship programs including but not limited to, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, In-Situ, Kiewit, Federal Highway Administration, etc.
Cooperative Education (often called Co-ops or Co-op Ed):
Usually a multi-semester program which enables students to combine academic classroom learning with practical, paid, on-the-job experience before graduation.
UW students who participate in co-ops often do so on an ALTERNATING schedule, which means that a student will alternate a semester of academic study with a semester of on-the-job work. Typically at least two rotations of work periods take place, but sometimes more depending upon the student and the company. Certain companies will require the students to put their work rotations back-to-back (example: work spring and summer or summer and fall then come back to school). Other companies will often work within the student's academic schedule while setting up work rotations.
UW Students majoring in technical areas are typically more attracted to co-ops than other majors (example: engineering or computer science). UW as a whole does not require students to participate in Cooperative Education programs however students can work with their college to set up rotation schedules. Interested students should start considering co-ops around their sophomore or early junior year. Companies that offer cooperative education programs include, but are not limited to, Rockwell International, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Triton Coal, and several governmental organizations (they often call their programs SCEP for Student Career Experience Program).
Many types of employers, especially major corporations and government agencies with formal summer-hire programs plan for employment of college students over the summer months. Opportunities will range from typical summer jobs to those that are competitive and require specific majors, strong academic background, leadership abilities and related work experience. UW students meeting the employer's requirements may be hired. Requirements may include a specific major, classification, or GPA.
Volunteering is another option for students to gain practical and/or career-related experience. These experiences may help to develop leadership and people skills and cultivate an understanding of citizenship and community beyond the campus.
At UW, often times any of these career-related work experiences can be taken for academic credit if approved by a sponsoring faculty member prior to starting the experience.
How can you find an internship, summer job, experiential education experience related to your field of study?
Try using one, or all of these resources:
Attend campus career fairs; which occur in both the fall and spring semesters.
On-Campus Interviews; we use the Handshake database system which is accessible to all UW students.
Internship postings listed on Handshake.
Internet links and internship search engines.
Target Specific Organizations because not all companies advertise their short-term opportunities; we can help you develop and implement a plan.
Personal and/or Professional contacts; Give credence to who you know and talk with them; this is called "Networking" and it is very beneficial.
REMEMBER be proactive in your job search.
BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR ANYTHING YOU SHOULD HAVE A POLISHED RESUME; we can assist you with this.
For questions, please contact
Center for Advising & Career Services; 222 Knight Hall; 766-2398