UW-L Career ServicesInternship FAQs for Students

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT INTERNSHIPS

OBTAINING AN INTERNSHIP

ONCE YOU HAVE AN INTERNSHIP


GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT INTERNSHIPS

I would like to learn more about internships. Where can I find this information?  The best way to learn more about doing an internship is to attend one of the Internship Information Sessions (click for schedule) sponsored by the Career Services Office. In addition, this list of Frequently Asked Questions has been created to help you find the answers to many of your questions. Career Services staff members are also more than willing to answer any questions you may have about internships.

What are the benefits of doing an internship?

  • Career Exploration – Internships allow students to explore career options within their fields of study.
  • Related Work Experience – Internships provide the opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience prior to graduation.
  • Academic Credit – Students may earn academic credit for internship experiences.
  • Financial Assistance – Students interning with for-profit organizations may be paid for their work.

Is there a tuition charge for doing an internship?  If you are doing an internship to earn academic credit, the same tuition fee is charged as if you were taking a class for that number of credits. This may mean that you don’t have to pay anything additionally if you are enrolled as a full-time student and the extra credits for your internship will not exceed 18 credit hours. However, during the summer you will need to pay the amount per credit as set by the University.

How much do internships usually pay?  The wage rate for internships varies greatly by field and individual organization. There is no set amount that can be expected for all interns. There are also some employers, oftentimes not-for-profit organizations, that do not pay student interns. Remember, the primary goal of an internship is to gain valuable experience that will help you get a better sense of the “real-world” and may give you an advantage when you begin to search for jobs after graduation.

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How long do internships usually last?  Ultimately, the decision for how long an internship lasts is determined by your internship employer. Generally, internships are usually part-time during the semester and full-time during the summer. However, some students choose to do internships full-time during the semester as well.  It is important to work out these details early on in your search for an internship because some companies require a full-year commitment for internships.

How many hours do I have to work to earn internship credit(s)?  Typically, one credit is equal to 40 hours of work or more. However, the employer determines the duration of the internship regardless of the amount of credit. Depending on major requirements, you can earn between 1 and 15 credits for an internship. Please talk a Career Services staff member about your specific situation.

Is it possible for me to earn credit now for an internship that I did last semester?  You cannot receive credit for an internship that was previously completed. University policy dictates that students must be at their internship site during the term for which they are registered for academic credit.

As an international student, what are the differences between an internship, curricular practical training, and optional practical training? 

  • Internships (INT) are elective experiences that help international students combine classroom theory with a worksite experience related to your major. Internships are posted online through the Eagle Opportunities system.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an academic program that provides an employment or training opportunity for experience either required for the degree, or as an integral part of the degree program.  Authorization is given by the UW-L Office of International Education (OIE).
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization is coordinated by the OIE. Under your student VISA you are authorized to work in the USA for a designated period of time but only if the work relates to your field of study. OIE holds general group presentations on OPT at various times throughout the semester. An OIE application must be completed in order to begin the OPT process.

All international students doing a paid INT/CPT must meet an advisor in the OIE for CPT authorization prior to your start date. Waiting until after you have started will put you in violation of your student status-which is very serious.

What can I do if I have forgotten my log-in and/or password for Eagle Opportunities?  Your username for the Eagle Opportunities system is your 9-digit student ID number. The default password for all accounts is the last 4 digits of your student ID number. If you have changed your password and have forgotten it, click the “Forgot your password?” link on the sign-on screen. Your password will be reset and an email with the new information will be sent to the email address listed in the system (your 8.4 UW-L email address unless you have changed this information). If your email has changed (after graduation, for example), call Career Services at 785-8514 to update your record.

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OBTAINING AN INTERNSHIP

When should I start exploring internship opportunities?  It is never too early to start preparing and searching for internships. Begin by attending an Internship Information Session. At the session you will learn ways to prepare yourself to compete for successful internships. Students are encouraged to begin their internship search during their sophomore year.

How can I better prepare myself for a competitive internship?  The key to landing a competitive internship is to begin preparing early. As soon as you come to campus, you should begin to work towards making yourself an outstanding candidate. This includes maintaining high grades as well as taking part in other activities and organizations that will help set you above others when it comes time to apply for internships-especially those that are extremely competitive. 

When should I start applying for internships?  The following schedule is the general timeline of when internships are posted in our system. However, the earlier you begin searching, the more opportunities you are likely to find.

  •   Spring Internships  »  Early to Mid Fall
  •   Summer Internships  »  Late Fall to Mid Spring
  •   Fall Internships  »  Mid Spring to Early Fall

What are the prerequisites that must be met before I can apply for an internship?  The answer to this question depends on whether or not you plan to do an internship for academic credit.

  • For credit – If you choose to earn academic credit for your internship, the amount of credit you may receive and the prerequisites vary by academic department. Look at the University Catalog to determine if your program offers credit for internships. If you would like to receive credit for your internship but your major does not offer a class, you may be eligible to enroll in a Cooperative Education Internship (CEI 450). Credits earned in CEI 450 usually only count toward University electives and not toward the completion of any major or minor. Please see the University Catalog for specific details or discuss internships with a Career Services staff member. It is important to note that there are no exceptions to the listed requirements. Prerequisites cannot be taken concurrently with internships.  
  • Not for credit – There are no prerequisites if the internship is not being taken for credit. However, we ask that you still inform the Career Services Office of your internship position so we are able to keep our intern numbers up-to-date.

What resources are available to help me locate and apply for internships? 

  • Eagle Opportunities: Our online Eagle Opportunities system (which can be accessed through the Career Services website) has a variety of resources to help you. This includes an Internship & Job Vacancy List. Employers continuously send the university announcements about internships and full-time positions. Go here to see them and to apply. In addition, Career Services advisors do weekly job searches from local, regional and state resources for WI, MN and various other locations. 
  • Career Services Homepage: By clicking the “Students” link on the Career Services homepage page, you are able to access several other resources as well: Career Event listings, sample resumes and cover letters, interviewing tips, additional job and internship websites, links to company web pages, and more.  
  • On-Campus Interviews: Many employers interview on campus for internships and full-time positions. You can sign up for interviews through Eagle Opportunities or by talking with representatives at Career Fairs. 
  • Interview Stream: This program allows you to answer pre-selected interview questions and capture your responses on video so you can review your answers and non-verbal behavior.
  • Career Services Staff: Staff members are available to help with any questions you may have or to help you search or prepare for internships or jobs.

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Who do I talk to in Career Services about internships?  For questions regarding how to obtain an internship, you should talk with the advisor assigned to your area of study:

  • College of Business – Becky Vianden
  • Science and Allied Health – Tim Tritch (Required internships, field work and clinical experiences for health professions students are coordinated through academic major, department or program offices, not Career Services.)
  • Liberal Studies, Arts & Communication – Karolyn Bald

For other questions related specifically to internship applications and registration, talk with Career Services staff member Maureen Wilson who deals directly with the Cooperative Education and Internship Program.

Can I obtain an internship outside the Midwest?  Employers are often very loyal to local students, so these are generally quite competitive positions for students from other parts of the country. If you are searching for an internship outside of the Midwest, it is important to schedule an individual meeting with your Career Services advisor.

Where do I learn about international internships?  If you are interested in doing an international internship outside of the U.S., you should contact the International Education Office located at 116 Graff Main Hall.

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ONCE YOU HAVE AN INTERNSHIP

I have accepted an internship position. What should I do next?  After you have accepted an internship position, the next step is to see Maureen Wilson in Career Services to begin the internship credit approval process. Her hours are 7:45 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. daily. No appointment is needed.  

What prerequisites do I need to meet to receive credit for my internship?  The prerequisites that must be met before an internship vary greatly by department. Because of these differences, you should look at the University Catalog for listings of the prerequisites for your specific area of study.

How do I determine my faculty advisor?  In addition to working with their assigned advisor in the Career Services Office, students must also work with a faculty member of the department for which they are getting academic credit. Your internship faculty advisor is not necessarily the same as your academic advisor. You should choose a faculty member in the department for which you will be getting internship credit. This will allow you to get the most out of your internship experience.

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Who do I contact if my internship forms will be late?  It is important to make sure that your forms are turned in on time to ensure that you will receive credit for your internship. However, if you know that you will be unable to turn in your forms by the assigned deadline, please contact Maureen Wilson in the Career Services Office so she is able to make arrangements for your specific case. 

Who do I contact if I am experiencing difficulties at my internship site?  The following situations should be communicated and dealt with as soon as possible to avoid more serious problems:

  • Problems with supervision
  • Internship is not relevant or challenging
  • Excessive menial duties
  • A personal concern that will affect your attendance or performance on your internship

Contact Career Services at 608.785.8570 or email coopintern@uwlax.edu if you experience a problem with your internship.

Who do I contact if I do not receive a grade for my internship?  Your grade (letter grade or pass/fail depending on the internship credit for which you are eligible and registered) will be submitted at the end of the semester by your internship faculty advisor. If there is a problem with your grade, you must contact your internship faculty advisor directly. Career Services is not responsible for submitting grades.

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