Internship resources

A page within Academic Advising Center & Career Services


Internships faculty

  • When a student submits a “Request an Experience” survey through their Handshake account, the Internship Coordinator receives a notice and reviews the student’s internship information.
  • The faculty member listed by the student to be their faculty intern advisor will then be sent an email notice from Handshake notifying them they have an experience to approve. The email will contain a link to the experience approval form – no login is required.
  • Once this approval is given, an email notice will then automatically be sent to the department chair for approval (if this is required by the department).
  • After these approvals are completed, the Internship Coordinator will register the student for the internship course/credits.

PLEASE NOTE: We have had some issues with these email notices going to "Clutter" or "Junk". Please add the address to your address book to prevent this from happening. On some mobile devices it will appear in the "clutter" folder.

In an effort to help students to understand and value the nature of their internships, UWL Career Services chose to update the work progress report survey to reflect the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies.

  • Students are required to submit four Work Progress Reports (WPRs) during fall and spring semesters; three during the summer term; and two during the winter term. The reports are submitted as surveys through their Handshake account (using the Career Center tab).
  • With some work progress report questions, students are asked to complete the questions in a behavior-based format using the STAR method, recognized by many employers as the standard way to provide an example. Instructions can be found in the “Resource” section of Handshake for students. (using the Career Center tab). Students will be sent a Work Progress Report How To document at the start of each term.
  • Work progress report surveys will all be available to students at the start of the semester in their Handshake account. Since the length of internships can vary, students are asked to submit their reports at equal time intervals throughout the duration of the internship but they must have all submitted by the last day of classes for the term. It is the student’s responsibility to remember to submit these reports. Career Services recommends that students put reminders on their
  • Weekly email notifications will be sent to faculty containing any work progress reports submitted by their intern advisees the previous week.
  • Students should work 40 hours at the internship site for each academic credit they request. Career Services does not keep track of hours worked. Some employers require this of students, others do not. Faculty may ask students to submit a record of days/hours they worked at their internship.
  • On-site supervisors of interns will be sent evaluations at mid-semester and near the end of the semester. The internship coordinator will then forward these to faculty internship advisors.
  • Faculty intern advisors have the option to require additional papers or projects from student interns. These should be discussed with the student before the start of the internship and is an agreement between the student and the faculty intern advisor. Any additional work required by faculty should be submitted directly to the faculty.
  • Go here to learn more about internships.

Faculty Internship Advisor Guide

The Faculty Intern Advisor is a UWL faculty member who oversees the academic components of the internship experience. This means helping students develop learning goals, structuring academic reflection for the internship, and monitoring the student’s growth and learning. Faculty are encouraged to monitor the student’s progress at the internship site by communicating with the site supervisor and reviewing copies of the Midterm and the Final Evaluation forms. The faculty supervisor may also schedule a visit to the internship site to meet with the student and their site supervisor to discuss the internship experience and observe their work. Faculty are expected to provide students with guidance and feedback on navigating the internship experience when needed, and to assign a final grade for the internship at the end of the term. 

Details can be found on the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services site. 

  • Looking for an internship 
  • Found one? Now what? 
  • Evaluation Information 
  • STAR Method Response – Eagle Advantage Competencies
  • Making the Most of Your Email

As an individualized learning experience, students and faculty have the discretion to design a learning plan for the internship that best meets their learning/teaching styles. However, there are a few best practices that faculty should follow to facilitate student learning and growth before, during and after the internship experience. 

Pre-Internship Advising  

During the Internship Process 

  • Meet with students early in their internship experience to discuss their learning goals and the connection to your academic program. Work together to develop a clear plan for how you will evaluate the students and assign them with a grade at the end of the internship. 
  • Plan to communicate regularly with your student advisees through in-person meetings, email, and/or virtual communications. 
  • Regularly re-visit the student’s learning plan with them and make changes as needed. 
  • Consider communicating with the student’s site supervisor – arrange at least one phone conversation at the beginning or the end of the internship and consider conducting a site visit midway through the internship. 
  • Monitor the feedback that the student is getting from their internship site through the midterm and final evaluations (copies will be sent to you from Career Services & Handshake). Engage students in reflection on their feedback. 

After the Internship   

  • Help students reflect on their experience as a whole – what did they learn? How did it change them personally and professionally? 
  • Discuss with students what their next steps will be. Will they pursue other internships, either in the same field or a different field? What additional coursework might they pursue to further their professional development? How does the internship impact their career and/or graduate school plans? 
  • Refer students to the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services Office to further reflect on these topics and for assistance incorporating the internship into their resume and future searches. 

If a student internship is cancelled or postponed, here are a few things to suggest to your students as alternative activities in the interim. 

  • Explore the possibility of a virtual experience – is this possible? 
  • Take initiative.  Be brave.  Reach out to the would-be supervisor or a new employer to see if they still have projects you could work on.  An independent project for the organization that is hands-off for the employer; student offers to work on a project and present the findings/results at the end of the semester to the employer 
    • Employers may be struggling with furloughs and layoffs; by providing them with a hands-off approach, it makes the ask a bit less overwhelming and agreeable. 
    • Students are encouraged to identify what they might see as a need in the organization (or can ask the employer to identify a back-burner project that could use some attention). 
    • Internship credit may still be considered by your department. 
  • Consider doing a project-based internship or micro-internship: a 5-40 hour-long project by an employer. There are two ways to finds these opportunities: 1) check out Handshake and search “internships” and search the keyword “micro-internships” and 2) visit this link through Parker Dewey. 
    • Career Services is working on identifying local employers with this type of need in which we will post in Handshake. 
    • Parker Dewey, the largest freelance platform for college students and recent graduates, helps companies get immediate support on short-term and professional projects.  Students are considered independent contractors and are paid for the opportunities. 
    • Internship credit may still be considered by your department.  Student Testimonial  


  • Do a research project related to the industry and field that the student intends to explore. Students can outreach to employers nationally via Handshake. Conduct a SWOT analysis and then identify an issue or concern in the field to further explore that can be presented to someone/agency in the field once the semester has been concluded. 
    • Independent study or internship credit may still be considered by your academic department. 
  • Reach out to the local chamber in the student’s home community to see if there is a need to triage small projects or needs during the pandemic with a local business that can be done remotely. Doesn’t hurt to ask and offer support. 
  • Consider developing a new personal or professional skill through the current free online options nationally (ex. Kaplan Featured Courses). 

 (Adapted from Drexel University – Steinbright Career Development Center: 

  • Networking & Informational Interviews 
    • How to use Handshake and LinkedIn to connect and set up informational interviews. 
    • Assignment: Reach out to three people you already know and three people you don't. Ask industry professionals, alumni, employers, friends, and family about skill development and professional development ideas. Use those ideas to decide what you can build on right now. Submit summary of who you connected with, what was the result and what you learned. We recommend you give at least two weeks to complete. 
  • Library Resources & Professional Organizations 
    • How to use Library Resources to find free content for professional development 
    • How can professional organizations help you grow? 
      • Assignment: Think about what you are interested in learning more about that can help you grow as a professional. Consider what you are learning from your informational interviews. Using the library resources and the professional organizationadd at least 2 professional development opportunities (i.e. free course, certificate, webinar, etc.) you find to the discussion board. 
  • Goal Setting/Proposal 
    • What do I need to do now to meet my future career goals? 
      • Assignment: Create action plan. Submit proposal of what you want to do based upon the research from Week 2 and 3 assignments. 
  • Growing as a Professional/Executing your opportunities to grow and learn 
    • Open Discussion Board Check-Ins to allow for peer-to-peer interaction and engagement 
      • Assignment: Students will be required to post a weekly update on the discussion board (i.e. what success they are finding, what challenges they are finding, other useful resources/ideas, etc.). Students will be required to respond to at least 3 of their peers posts to receive full credit. 
      • Advisor can add comments/suggestions but is not required to respond to all students. Advisors monitor the board and assign credit to students who have posted and done at least 3 responses. 
  • What is your role at the internship site? 
  • What were your initial expectations? Have these expectations changed? How? Why? 
  • What about your internship has been an eye-opening experience? 
  • How do you motivate yourself to go to your internship site when you don't feel like it? 
  • What specific skills have you used at your internship? 
  • Describe a person you've encountered at the internship who made a strong impression on you, positive or negative. 
  • Do you see benefits of doing the work that is done at your internship? Why or why not? 
  • Has your view of the population with whom you have been working changed? How? 
  • How have the environment and social conditions affected the people at your site? 
  • What institutional structures are in place at your site or in the community? How do they affect the people with whom you work? 
  • Has the experience affected your worldview? How? 
  • Have your career options been expanded by your internship experience? 
  • Why does the organization you are working for exist? 
  • Did anything about your internship surprise you? If so, what? 
  • What did you do that seemed to be effective or ineffective at the internship? 
  • How does your understanding of the organization or the profession change as a result of your participation in this project? 
  • How can you continue your involvement with this organization or in this field? 
  • How can you educate others or raise awareness about the issues on which you have been working? 
  • What are the most difficult or satisfying parts of your work? Why? 
  • Talk about any disappointments or successes of your internship. What did you learn from it? 
  • During your internship experience, have you dealt with being an "outsider" at your site? How does being an "outsider" differ from being an "insider"? 
  • How are your values expressed through your internship? 
  • What sorts of things make you feel uncomfortable when you are working at the internship? Why? 
  • Complete this sentence: “Because of my internship, I am....” 

(adapted from the University of Minnesota’s Community Service-Learning Center: 

  • Explore developing your Eagle Advantage Competencies 
  • Update their resume and post it to Handshake 
  • Identify what transferable skills were developed as a result of the experience (provide specific examples and what they learned from it). 
  • Check out Ugetconnected for volunteer opportunities 
  • Attend virtual fairs. 
  • Design a LinkedIn profile and connect to opportunities and contacts.  
  • Conduct an informational interview/job shadow with professionals in the field. 
  • Write a thank you letter to the site supervisor or mentor. 
  • Prepare a poster presentation to present at the UWL Internship Showcase during the Spring Semester. 
  • Topics include: Position, responsibilities and learning, organization history/mission, special internship projects, research conducted.  Supply pictures if possible. 
  • Find a part-time job (IF you’re able).  This will allow you to develop some transferable skills that you can adapt to any job. 

Because internships take place in professional settings, students will, at times, face a variety of conflicts and concerns. The following are some common concerns that may arise during an internship, as well as steps for addressing the issues. 

  • COVID Concerns 
    • It is okay to be frustrated.  Everyone is right now and likely learning in the moment.  Be patient with organizations and contacts.  Take solace in that your qualifications in the future will not be solely based on how many internships you have had but the quality of an experience.  You may not find one this summer and that is okay.  UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services is here to help. 
  • The student is not being given substantive work or appropriate supervision 
    • This can be a helpful learning experience for students to advocate for themselves in a workplace setting. Talk with students about how to have this conversation with their site supervisor. Help them make a plan for when to discuss the issue and how to approach the topic in a professional manner. The student’s UWL Career Advisor can assist with this as well. 
    • In the past, Career Services has found it helpful for the faculty advisor and the UWL Career Advisor to make a site visit together while the student is working. It provides us an opportunity to see the student’s work environment as well as talk with the site supervisor about our expectations or offer suggestions. It is an alternative non-confrontational approach that has proven successful in the past. 
    • If the student’s initial conversation does not prove to be effective, you may choose to intervene as the faculty supervisor, or you may ask a UWL Career Advisor for assistance with intervening. Contact the site supervisor and discuss your concerns with them. Brainstorm ways that the student can get additional work or assistance at the site. Follow up with the student and the site supervisor in a week or two to make sure changes have been made. 
    • If the situation has not improved, the student may choose to terminate the internship. Consult the Internship Program Coordinator (Karen Durnin, or (608) 785-6950) for assistance on how to terminate the internship in a professional manner. See the section on what to do if the internship falls through for options for maintaining or terminating the internship registration. 
  • The Internship site supervisor has left the organization 
    • If an internship site supervisor leaves his or her position midway through the internship, the student may switch site supervisors to another staff person at the internship site. Students should contact the Internship Coordinator with the name and contact information of the new site supervisor and share it with you as the faculty supervisor as well.   
  • The Student is unable to get enough hours to meet the minimum requirement 
    • If a student discovers that they are unable to fulfill the minimum hour requirement for the internship, they may choose to extend the internship into the subsequent term by requesting an “Incomplete” grade from you as the faculty supervisor. Students must have worked at least 80 hours at their internship in order to be eligible for an incomplete. It is up to your discretion as the faculty supervisor whether to grant an incomplete and how to structure the incomplete contract. If students are taking an incomplete, they should alert the Internship Program Coordinator about when they anticipate they will complete their hours and turn in their Final Evaluation. Once they have turned in their Final Evaluation and any remaining assignments to you, you may assign a final grade by submitting a grade change to Registration and Records.   
  • The Internship has fallen through 
    • Internships may fall through for a variety of reasons – changes at the internship site mean they can no longer support an intern, poor student performance results in the student being terminated, etc. 
    • First and foremost, it is important to reflect upon and process what happened with the student. This experience itself can be a useful learning tool. You can also refer students to their Career Advisor in the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services Office to reflect upon the implications this has for their personal or professional development. 
    • If the student accrued enough hours at the internship site that they would like to salvage the experience for academic credit, they may find another internship site to complete any remaining hours. Students pursuing this option should notify the Internship Coordinator of this change and provide employer contact information for the new employerA Career Advisor is also available to assist students with finding alternative sites, as needed.   
  • The student is unhappy in the internship 
    • Though not a crisis per se, students can experience distress if they realize during an internship that the field they were considering does not align with their skills or interests. Although this is difficult for students, it can be a valuable learning experience. First, process the feelings and experience with the student. Try to determine if this is a natural “low” that many students feel when they experience a challenge at their internship site, or if it may be due to a poor fit between the student and the organization. As long as the student is not in an unsafe or unhealthy environment and is being well-supported at their internship site, encourage them to continue with the internship and use the experience as an opportunity to explore what they do like about the field, as well as to explore other related careers that might be a better fit. 
    • At the end of the internship, reflect on the experience as a whole. What did it teach the student about them about their self and the world of work? Even if the experience was not what the student hoped it would be, what positive things came out of it (i.e. skills developed, networking contacts, etc.) that can be leveraged for future opportunities? What does this mean for their future career trajectory? Would it be beneficial to try a similar internship in a different setting or a completely different internship elsewhere? 
    • Refer students to the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services Office for further processing, career advising or career exploration. 
  • The internship is an unsafe space for students 
    • If the student feels at risk or experiences harm at any time during the internship experience, contact the Internship Coordinator or a Career Advisor in the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services Office immediately. As appropriate, our office will intervene on behalf of the student and the University to terminate the internship and contact the appropriate authorities. 

(adapted from the Hamline University Career Development Center website: