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Internships and Experiential Opportunities

Finding Internships

Internship FAQs

1. What is an Internship?

An internship is a learning experience specifically designed to allow a student to explore a career field and gain work-related skills under supervision in a professional environment.

Internships come in all shapes and sizes! Some students are eligible to receive academic credit for their internship experience. Others are not based on a variety of factors, including their academic major, class standing, and GPA. In addition, some internships are paid, and some internships are unpaid.

2. Why Intern?

Internships allow you to:

  1.    Explore what you can do with a given major
  2.    Make professional contacts in your field
  3.    Test drive your career choices
  4.    Add career-related experience to your resume
  5.    Distinguish yourself from the competition
  6.    Possibly make money or get academic credit

3. Who can intern?

Anyone! Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students all participate in internships. However, whether or not you can get credit for an internship will vary based on your specific major.

4. When should I intern?

Anytime! Students do internships over the summer and during the fall and spring semesters. During the summer, students work either part-time or full-time hours. In the academic year, most students work 10-15 hours per week.

5. Where can I intern?

Anywhere! Many organizations within walking distance of campus host College of Charleston interns. Students intern in their hometowns, in other states, and even overseas. Based on your interests, you can target opportunities in a specific geographical area.

6. How can I find an internship?

  • View local, national, and international internship listings posted directly to the College of Charleston on CISTERNonline
  • For more national and international listings, search the internship directories in the Career Resource Center and these internship websites.
  • Use your network of relatives and friends to uncover internship opportunities that might not be posted or printed in a directory. Ask your parents, friends, work supervisors, and everyone you know to help you find an internship.
  • Contact companies directly to inquire about internship opportunities that may or may not be posted.
  • Attend Career Fairs to network with employers and discuss available internships.
  • Try a part-time job or volunteer position with an organization to "get your foot in the door."

Important Considerations before applying for Internships

  1. Prepare your resume, tailoring the information on each version to each specific internship position as necessary. Need help? Make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator and visit the Developing an Effective Resume Help Guide.
  2. Prepare for your interview. Need help? Make and appointment with the Internship Coordinator and visit the Interviewing Help Guide.
  1. Explore getting academic credit for your internship by visiting your individual acaemic department's website  or participating in the Career Centers' Certificate Internship Program.

Other Ways of Building your Resume and Gaining Experience

Get Involved On Campus

Student Activities
Communication skills, interpersonal skills, motivation/initiative, and teamwork are among the most sought-after skills in job seekers. Getting involved in on-campus activities is a great way to develop these traits.

Check the College of Charleston Student Life website for a current listing of the academic, social, and professional organizations on campus.

Study Abroad
There are a number of important reasons to consider including a study-abroad experience in your academic plan. In addition to the fun of travel, studying abroad can help you learn about other cultures; develop or enhance foreign language skills; and teach you to become more independent, self-reliant, and self-confident.

The College offers several study abroad options including CofC Semester Programs, Bilateral Programs, CofC Summer Programs and Independent Programs. For details on each of these programs, visit the Center for International Education, located at 207 Calhoun Street (in the Multicultural Center).

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities
Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities includes "any creative effort undertaken by the undergraduate student that advances the knowledge of the student in an academic discipline and leads to new scholarly insights or the creation of new works that add to the wealth of the discipline."

Students may apply for funding to support research and creative activities through several grants provided by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. Undergraduate Research/Creative Activities are not just for science majors. Students in liberal arts areas such as theater, sociology, and Spanish routinely participate, as well. For more information, visit http://www.cofc.edu/ur/.

Explore Your Options

Talk With Alumni
The Career Center has created a College of Charleston Alumni & Student Career Network group on LinkedIn for alumni who are willing to offer career assistance and advice to College of Charleston students.  In addition to being able to connect with alumni in the group, students can also connect with other alumni on LinkedIn by searching items such as keywords, location, job title, company, industry, and school.

Perhaps you would like to talk with graduates who share your academic major to explore possible career options. Maybe you are interested in a specific geographical area and would like to talk with someone living there. Perhaps you are interested in speaking with graduates of professional/graduate programs to ask questions about required testing, applications, or other related issues. Or maybe you would like to ask about working for a specific company or organization where one of our alumni works.

Whether it’s a phone call, an email/message exchange, a shadowing experience, or a quick lunch, interacting with alumni can be an extremely valuable part of your personal career planning and exploration.  To join the College of Charleston Alumni & Student Career Network group, visit our Alumni & Student Career Network informational page.

Job Shadow
When you job shadow, you spend a short period of time in the work site observing an employee on the job. Shadowing someone for a few hours or a few sessions over the course of a semester can be very valuable in helping you gather information about potential career fields of interest. Through shadowing, you can explore a specific environment, career path, organization, or geographical location.
You can arrange for shadowing experiences in a variety of ways. Your personal network, including family, friends, and professors, can often help connect you with a potential shadow host. In addition, the Career Center can help match you with a shadowing site.

Volunteer
Volunteering provides an opportunity for you to explore potential career opportunities and settings while improving the quality of life in a community. Located in the Lightsey Center adjacent to the Career Center, the Center for Civic Engagement works to link students, faculty and staff with community needs and volunteer placements.

In addition to the resources provided by the Center for Civic Engagement, you can find valuable information in the Career Resource Center at the Career Center, including the “Go Volunteer” Directory published by the Charleston Post and Courier and several print resources with information about national and international philanthropy. Other online resources for for volunteer opportunities include the Trident United Way, as well as National and International Volunteer Opportunities weblinks.

Participate in Cooperative Education
Cooperative Education (co-op) is a program in which a student works full time or part time in a field related to either the student’s major or career area of interest. It can be done either on an alternating basis (a period of study followed by a period of work) or a parallel basis (work and classes at the same time). Cooperative Education allows students to retain their full-time status while working and taking a reduced course load (or no courses at all) during a given semester.

(Note: If a student drops below a full-time course load to work without participating in co-op, there are a variety of possible negative impacts to financial aid, scholarship, and insurance eligibility.)

The cooperative education program covers all disciplines in the curriculum. It is open to students who have completed at least one semester at the College and are in good academic standing. No academic credit is awarded to participants.

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