the Life Health Sciences Career Fair is a great place to find an internshipAn internship is a short-term work experience that will allow you to gain relevant knowledge and skills related to a particular career. It's also the best way to explore your career interests and gain experience that will accelerate your career.

Landing an internship may seem overwhelming, but don't let the process scare you away from this important part of your professional development. We've broken the process into nine simple steps.

Click here for the internship fill-out card

The 9 Internship Steps

  1. Meet with a PREPs advisor to get started in your internship search
  2. Research employers and internship opportunities to develop a prospective list
  3. Let PREPs help you with your application materials:
    • Resume
    • Cover Letter
    • References
  4. Begin applying for internships
  5. Schedule a mock interview with PREPs
  6. Follow up with the company or organization after your interview
  7. Keep good records so that you can effectively evaluate your offers and choose the one that's best for you
  8. Enjoy your internship and learn as much as you can
  9. Report back to PREPs after your internship and let us know how it went

When should I start looking for an internship?

We recommend allowing yourself at least a semester to adjust to the new challenges and rigors of college. Your academics are your first priority, so if you're struggling to maintain a solid GPA, adding an internship on top of everything else is not the best idea.

However, if you feel you can handle the added work of interning on top of your other responsibilities, then the second semester of your freshman year is a good time to start looking for an internship for the summer or fall semester.

Finding an internship takes time. Allow yourself an entire semester to find an internship that fits your goals and schedule.

Where should I look for an internship?

There are many places to look for internships, including your current network! Here are some sites that PREPs recommends:

ScienceLink: Online Job Search for Science Students & Alumni

This service connects School of Science students and alumni with exceptional career and internship opportunities.

School of Science Internship Board

We've collected a list internships available to students pursuing careers in science, health and technology.

The Indiana INTERNnet!

View a wide array of internship opportunities here in Indiana.

How do I determine if an internship is right for me?

Before accepting an internship, there are several factors you need to consider. If you are unsure of any of the following points, make sure to ask your potential supervisor.

What types of projects or assignments would you be involved in, and what would your role would be?
  • Your internship position should include a specific, written list of internship responsibilities, goals and learning objectives. If this is not currently available, ask the supervisor if they are willing to with you to develop a specific list of assignments, goals and objectives for the internship before it begins. PREPs can help you in formulating these objectives.
  • At least 80% of your time should be spent doing assignments such as data gathering/analysis, research, writing, presenting, problem solving, computer use, and interpersonal interaction. Observing and clerical work (filing, making copies, taking coffee orders) is part of most internship positions, however, the ideal internship will require no more than 20% of the time in routine clerical tasks.
What type of supervision do the organization or company's interns receive?  Is there an orientation process?  Do interns meet with supervision routinely?  How do interns get feedback on their work?
  • A good internship should include a supervisor who possesses the skills, education, experience and time to provide a positive learning environment for you.
  • Your internship should include an established agreement between the intern and the supervisor for scheduled meetings to review progress, to obtain feedback, and for the intern to ask questions. If this is not currently part of the internship, ask the supervisor if they are willing to commit to this.
Are interns included in staff meetings and/or training sessions?  Do interns observe site visits or meetings with clients?
  • Another important aspect of a great internship include opportunities for interns to meet/interview multiple people within the organization to gain insight into the role of the department and the broader organization
What is your primary learning objective for this internship? How much work involved in the internship will allow you to meet this objective?

How long will the internship last and how many hours will you be working each week?
  • You want to gain as much experience as possible from your internship, but still be able to balance your other responsibilities. Ideally, summer internships last at least 8 weeks and are often full-time. Internships that take place during the academic semester vary between part-time and full-time. If you are completing an internship for credit, make sure you know how many hours are necessary to receive full credit.
Is this a paid internship?
  • Not all internships are paid, but in every internship you should receive something in return for your energy, time and skills. The experience should result in hands-on-experience, contacts, and increased marketability. If you are doing work and getting nothing in return, this is not an internship, it's unpaid labor.
  • Governmental and non-profit organizations often aren't able to pay interns and are not subject to the same regulations. Talk to the PREPs office about possible funding sources if you are evaluating an unpaid internship in any sector.