Internships for credit give you a chance to get ahead in your schoolwork and in the workforce at the same time!
Even if you’re considering an unpaid internship – and more students than ever are working for free – getting internship credit gives you a reward for your efforts.
Internship credit might allow you to take more challenging and interesting classes later on, or let you bypass some of your school’s course requirements. Many colleges have different policies about getting internship credit – so remember to look up your school’s requirements before you start!
Not sure if you can get academic credit for your internship? Try these ways to make your internship credit count:
Look at your course catalog
If you’re trying to get internship credit, check out your college’s course catalog. Some schools already offer existing college courses that give credit for the real-world experience you get through internships or independent studies.
Think about which academic department best fits your internship – if you’re writing for a newspaper, maybe English is your best bet – and browse the course requirements in the catalog.
Internship courses are often upper-level classes and might only be available in your last few semesters in college. Set up a meeting with the head of the department to work out the details.
Petition for internship credit
Some colleges require students to ask for internship credit through a petition instead of offering it through an existing class. Schools with petitions might have additional requirements for students wanting internship credit – you might need a certain GPA, for example.
Each college major usually has its own requirements for internship credit petitions, so talk with your academic adviser about what your internship should include. You’ll need to get some signatures before your petition is approved, so start thinking ahead!
Create a class
If your school doesn’t have a process for getting internship credit, never fear! It’s still possible to get credit for your internship by talking to your academic adviser or department chair.
Some academic departments will grant you internship credit as long as you have a plan in advance, or will let you count an internship as an independent study. Schedule a meeting and come prepared with an academic plan that shows how the internship will support your work at school.
Know your goals and offer suggestions for a final project at the end of the internship – be it a final presentation, paper or exam. Coming in with a plan will show your professors you’re serious about your internship!
More tips for your next internship
- Check out your college’s career services to find internship opportunities that fit your interests and skills.
- Longer internships during the school year can be less competitive than those during the summer – and working with your adviser to get internship credit can be easier when classes are in session.
- Talk with your employer about getting school credit for your internship. Ask them to sign a letter of agreement – before you start the job – to make sure they’re on board with your internship credit!